On some bushwalks, it’s all about the journey and not the destination… the bushwalk to Hanging Rock and Baltzer Lookout in the Blue Mountains is really about the destination. Not that it’s an unpleasant walk to get there, but it almost the entire walk is along a stretch of firetrail (Burramoko Fire Trail) before the two spectacular lookouts at the end.
The lookout is best aat sunrise or in the morning light – although with cliffs in almost every direction, sunset also works well. There’s not many views from along the firetrail.
Towards the end of the firetrail, there’s a view towards the east of Bald Head.
A bushwalking track continues from the end of the Burramoko Fire Trail to Baltzer Lookout, or Burramoko Head. A small, flat area makes a great camping spot if you want to get both sunset and sunrise views.
Continue a bit further to the lookout at the very end of Burramoko Head.
The lookout was named after William Julius Baltzer, a conservationist who was committed to the conservation of the Grose Valley, and a member of a group formed in the early 1930s who lobbied to establish the Blue Mountains as a National Park. It provides sweeping views in most directions: to the north you’re looking straight up the Grose Valley, with Burra Korain Head to the left, and Birrabang Walls to the right.
To the north-east you’re looking directly across the Grose Valley and Grose River to Mount Banks, Pierces Pass and Walls Lookout.
To the south-east is Bald Hill (an informal walking track from Hat Hill takes you this cliff-top lookout).
Below and to the north-west is Hanging Rock, jutting out from the cliff, and behind it is Burra Korrain Head.
This vantage point gives you a great view of the narrow Hanging Rock formation.
To get to this lookout, look for a rough and eroded (but obvious) track that descends fairly steeply, parallel to the edge of the cliff.
There’s different perspectives of the narrow rock formation – one of the most iconic landmarks in the Greater Blue Mountains.
The track passes the gap between Hanging Rock and Burramoko Head, which frames a nice view of Bald Head.
The track reaches the base of Hanging Rock, where a (small) leap is required over the gap between the rock formation and the main cliff.
The views from the rock itself are not as good in the morning (as the afternoon or later in the day), as the the cliffs of the Grose Valley are directly in the sun. However, there’s a great view of Burramoko Head, and Bald Head behind it. The rock formation gets increasingly narrow at its tip, and there’s a vertiginous drop of a vew hundred metres on both sides.
The walk returns the same way; on the way back, I meet a few people heading out – both lookouts can get a little busy on weekends, but you’ll probably have them to yourself on a weekday.
Getting to Hanging Rock and Baltzer Lookout
The Burramoko Fire Trail starts at the end of the Ridgewell Road, which is off the Great Western Highway at Blackheath. The last part of the road is unsealed (but suitable for all cars) it reaches a locked gate, which has a small parking area.
The Blue Mountains National Park is reached after 1.6km; you used to be able to drive to this gate – but not any more.
The firetrail continue along the ridge and descends very gently for most of the way to Burramoko Head. After the first 3.5km there are some views to the west.
It’s about 5km to a large clearing at the end of the firetrail; from here a bushwalking track climb up to Baltzer Lookout / Burramoko, and then descends steeply to Hanging Rock.
Hanging Rock was featured in the movie Wild Australia – The Edge, where someine is climbing the rock formation. (Rock climbing and BASE jumping is not allowed without permission.)