Mount Gibraltar, at 863m is the highest point between Sydney and Canberra. It is a collapsed volcanic core composed of very hard rock called Mount Gibraltar Trachyte or microsyenite. 150 million years ago it pushed through the Hawkesbury Sandstone to form a high mountain now largely eroded away by wind and water. It was first climbed by European explorer John Wilson in 1798 and was known as Bowrell by the local aborigines. Mount Gibraltar was extensively quarried for stone for building and road construction until their closure in 1986.
Address: Best place to park is probably at 64 Oxley drive in Bowral. There is an entrance to the reserve near the water towers. I consider this the best place because it means starting at the bottom of the stairs and just getting it over with! There is also a large parking area and a rather nice picnic area with tables and barbecues at the Bowral lookout and all the lookouts seem to have some small parking area if you wanted to do a driving tour instead of walking between the lookouts.
Distance: -Starting from the Quarries car park near the water towers is the 1.5 km heritage quarries loop walk, this includes some steep stone steps. -The 1.2 km each way Rim Track starts at the Bowral lookout, up the stairs from the quarries. -The Ravine track is a 600 metre one way walk and starts near the Mittagong lookout. -The Reservoir track is a 700 metre walk each way that starts at the Mittagong lookout.
The View from the Bowral lookout is breathtaking. There is a wheelchair friendly track that leads the hundred metres or so from the large carpark and plenty of picnic tables and barbecues if you wanted to come just to chill out and enjoy the views.
From Bowral lookout there are a few hundred steps down to the Heritage Quarry Circuit. The stairway was originally built in the 30’s from stone mined out of the surrounding quarries and have very recently been repaired.
The quarries themselves are quite overwhelming to stand inside. I guess it is one of those things that does not really translate well to photographs though so you will just have to see for yourself how it feels to stand inside these towering cliff faces.
After a quick circuit of the quarries we walk back up those 250 or so stone stairs.. from the Bowral lookout area, behind the men’s toilets, starts the Rim track which links the 4 lookouts via a very pretty bush trail.
The trail is rather flat and easy enough all the way. There are some unfenced cliffs though so keep an eye on the dogs and kids!
There are several picnic areas with tables and old stone buildings along the way, some look more abandoned then others. Most of the lookouts could be reached from the road if you wanted to skip the bush walk and just drive from one lookout to the other.
But if you done that you might miss out on some breathtaking outlooks like these…
and beautiful views like this as you follow your way around the cliff line.
What a place to sit and play your guitar on a beautiful Saturday afternoon 🙂
A very little known reserve that probably deserves a little more fame. It has an old worldy feel to it with it’s abandoned quarries, old mining equipment and the old picnic areas and stone buildings. All of it surrounded by these astounding views. Come spend a day, it is worth the trip!