Aussie ABC – L is for Lookout!

Looking towards the coast from the Eungella Plateau, Queensland

View to the coast from the Eungella Plateau, Queensland

Downunder, a sign pointing to a LOOKOUT isn’t a warning to LOOK OUT! – it’s a vantage or viewing point from which to better admire the surrounding landscape.  Like this completely gratuitous one above – serving no other purpose in this post but to attract your attention!

It worked, didn’t it?!

In this relatively flat land, where the highest mountain is a mere 2228 metres high, finding a suitable spot from which to survey the scenery often doesn’t require too much elevation, with many lookouts accessible by vehicle or a short walking track.

And what you see when you get there is often so extensively, ecstatically panoramic that taking a tour – virtual or otherwise – of these 14 lookouts in strategic locations around the country will show you a LOT of Australia!

Finding these AWESOME landscapes is half the fun – or at least it is with TravelSIM! Let them help you take the guesswork out of getting there so you’ve got that much more time to enjoy the scenery!

Meanwhile, enjoy the virtual tour!

1  NEW Lookout, via Boroka Lookout, Grampians, Victoria:

Lakes Wartook (r) and Bellfield (l) from NEW Grampians Lookout, Victoria

Lakes Wartook (r) and Bellfield (l) from NEW Grampians Lookout, Victoria

On many visits to Victoria’s magnificent Grampians region, we thought we’d ‘done’ all the lookouts. But in October 2012, we found a new one! SO new, I can’t find its name anywhere – and tragically can’t recall the name we saw on the sign!

On the back road between Lake Wartook and Boroka Lookout – in itself a magnificent spot – this is the only lookout from which both Lake Wartook (at right) and Lake Bellfield above Grampians Town Halls Gap can be seen – along with the great stretch of wildnerness separating them.

Read more: The Grampians

2  Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham, Western Australia:

Five Rivers Lookout, via Wyndham, Western Australia

Five Rivers Lookout, via Wyndham, Western Australia

 

Visitors to Wyndham start to ascend the Bastion range escarpment well before dusk to get the best vantage point from the Five Rivers lookout platform as the sun sets over the – yes, you guessed right – Five rivers that flow into impressive Cambridge Gulf.

But the view is just as impressive by day – bear in mind this photo shows only about half of it – with the saltworks below, tidal salt plains in the middle distance and the Cockburn range in the background.

Here, you’ll find the answer to that most pressing of questions: Does the picnic ground have Australia’s most Scenic Public Toilet?

Read more: Five Rivers Lookout

3 Inspiration Point, via Point Pass, South Australia:

View from Inspiration Point, via Point Pass & Robertstown, South Australia

View from Inspiration Point, via Point Pass & Robertstown, South Australia

Between Point Pass and Robertstown in South Australia’s mid-north, an unsealed road that leads high above the surrounding plain to Inspiration Point, where the colour of the landscape depends on the season! Look back, if you dare, from the lookout to the rocky retaining wall holding the road in place. South Australia’s mid north has a fascinating heritage that’s worth exploring, and Inspiration Point makes a fine starting point.

Read more: Point Pass

4 Transit Hill Lookout, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales:

Mounts Lidgbird & Gower from Transit Hill Lookout, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

Mounts Lidgbird & Gower from Transit Hill Lookout, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

Transit Hill isn’t the highest lookout on Lord Howe Island nor the one with the most extensive view. But in the late afternoon sun, the outlook over the distinctive – and impressive – twin peaks of Mounts Gower and Lidgbird forms a Bali-Hai-esque backdrop to the rest of this little gem 600 km off the New South Wales coast.

Read more: Lord Howe Island

5 Jarnem Lookout, Keep River National Park, Northern Territory:

Keep River National Park, Northern Territory

Keep River National Park, Northern Territory

The spectacular scenery of Keep River National Park, only a few kilometres from the Northern Territory/Western Australian border is best appreciated on the 7 km Jarnem Loop trail. Ascending to the lookout at the highest point above the surrounding plains is the best way to experience the vast magnificence of the 360° panorama, with only rock stacks and a distant mountain range for company!

But if you’re a bird watcher, a sighting of uncommon White-quilled Rock Pigeon beats the view from any lookout!!

Read more: Keep River National Park

6 Flagstaff Hill, Port Douglas, Far North Queensland:

Four Mile Beach from Flagstaff Hill Lookout, Port Douglas, Queensland

Four Mile Beach from Flagstaff Hill Lookout, Port Douglas, Queensland

Make sure your car is up for the vertiginous drive from sea level to ex-fishing-village-now-tourist-town Port Douglas’ best vantage point – through billions of dollars worth of prime coastal real estate. If you like the view over Four Mile Beach, there’s a block of land for sale just below the lookout platform.

Imagine waking up to that view, while directly behind your new home, throngs of tourists scale the heights to admire the sights by day and night!  Anyone who gets to this idyllic spot should thank the local council who, despite pressure from the locals (yes, the ones who live in those $multi-million properties) to close the public access road to the summit, kept it open!

Read more: Port Douglas

7 Mt Wellington, via Hobart, Tasmania:

Hobart from Mt Wellington, Tasmania

Hobart from Mt Wellington, Tasmania

Tragically my only visit to the Apple Isle, as Tasmania is affectionately known to the rest of Australia, was for a conference.  That meant I didn’t get to see anything except the inside of the conference venue. Until the last day when in the hiatus between conference end and flight departure I booked a tour to the top of Mt Wellington, 1270 m above Hobart and the Derwent river below.

This glimpse of the vast and untouched natural wilderness – for which every Australian should say ‘thank you, Bob Brown’ – has been a six year teaser for touring this often forgotten corner of Australia. BUT … at least this gets Tassie on the board for my blog!

Read more: Mt Wellington,Tasmania

8 Mt Warning, via Murwillumbah, Northern New South Wales:

Mt Warning (Wollumbin) from Best of All Lookout

Mt Warning (Wollumbin) from Best of All Lookout

The steep ascent to the Mt Warning (also known as Wollumbin) summit, first place the sun’s rays reach on the Australian mainland, will reward the lucky climber with a panoramic 360° view. I’ve made the 9km return hike three times – but never in the pre-dawn darkness to reach the top by sunrise!

In the Wollumbin World Heritage area, the view FROM Mt Warning’s summit lookout is one of New South Wales’ finest – but the best view OF Mt Warning is in Springbrook National Park just across the border in Queensland at the aptly named ‘Best of All’ Lookout!

Read more: Wollumbin National Park; and the Best of All Lookout

9 The Horn, Mt Buffalo, via Bright, Victoria:

View from the Horn, Mt Buffalo via Bright, Victoria

View from the Horn, Mt Buffalo via Bright, Victoria

It’s not all red rocks, dirt and sand from Australia’s lookouts – the Victorian Alpine region’s layer upon layer of mountainous wilderness can easily be viewed from several vantage points. The Alpine National Park crosses state boundaries with Mt Kosciuszko, at 2228 metres Australia’s highest, on the other side of the state border in New South Wales.

But the 1723 metre summit of the Horn atop Mt Buffalo – my personal favourite – is on the Victorian side of the border. Who knew you could have adventures in the cold like this?!

Read more: Mt Buffalo

10 Natures Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia:

View from Natures Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

View from Natures Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

Take a break from the hordes of tourists queueing for a photo shoot at well known tourist hotspot Natures Window and admire the unframed view – to which a panorama shot does not do justice. Known for its wildflowers, the park is also a bonanza of natural attractions with deep gorges, stunning rivers and red RED rock!

To the left of the photo, a walking track leads along the ridge, then drops below into the gorge for what must be one of the most scenic walks in Australia. Ask me what it’s like next visit – because I wont let it pass me by again!

Read more: Western Australian Wildflowers; Kalbarri National Park

11 Tylers Pass Lookout, Central Australia:

Gosse Bluff from Tylers Pass Lookout, Central Australia

Gosse Bluff from Tylers Pass Lookout, Central Australia

At the very Western Edge of the West MacDonnell National Park, Tylers Pass marks the descent from the range into the plain below, its endlessness broken only by the massive bulk of Gosse Bluff.

An unexpected end to a day exploring the ‘West Macs’ as the park is less formally known, the road continues into what for us is absolute virgin territory. And an absolute must for next time!

Read more: Central Australia

12 Cawnpore Lookout, via Winton, Outback Queensland

Cawnpore Lookout, via Winton, Outback Queensland

Cawnpore Lookout, via Winton, Outback Queensland

It’d be difficult to accidentally find yourself in remote Outback Queensland’s Lilleyvale Hills between Winton and Boulia, but this stunning lookout with a stupendous view over spectacular rock formations only found in one other place in the world is more than enough reason to visit.

While the lookout isn’t really that far above the plains the 360° view is a great place to experience the emptiness of the Outback with a falling down fence – and highway – the only signs of civilisation. Besides, it’s great fun watching other travellers trying to drive the steep, rocky road to the top!

Read more: Cawnpore Lookout

13 Sillers Lookout, via Arkaroola, South Australia:

Northern Flinders Ranges from Sillers Lookout, via Arkaroola, South Australia

Northern Flinders Ranges from Sillers Lookout, via Arkaroola, South Australia

I’m jealous as hell. This is the only one of these awesome lookouts I HAVEN’T visited – but as (arguably) South Australia’s finest view, I couldn’t leave it out. Luckily, Wayne’s photo showing the stupendous view over the Northern Flinders ranges whilst on the world famous 4WD ‘Ridgetop Tour’ will have to do before I get there myself. Really soon!!

STOP PRESS!  I HAVE been there – read about it HERE!

Read more: Arkaroola Resort, the Ridgetop Tour & Sillers Lookout

14 Point Lookout, New England Ranges, New South Wales:

'View' from Point Lookout, New England Ranges, New South Wales

‘View’ from Point Lookout, New England Ranges, New South Wales

But there are no guarantees of a view from some lookouts – as we found at Point Lookout in the New England National Park. Only a few metres from the summit, 1500 metres above sea level, after a long and winding ascent through bright sunlight, the mist and fog blew in. Our rush for the lookout viewing platform too late for anything but a thick, soft whiteness, the otherworldly semi-darkness closed in around us and we were left with the haunting cry of the forest raven …

One day we’ll see what the view’s REALLY like!

Read More: Point Lookout

Sharing that killer view to EVERYONE when you get there is the other half of the fun – get the latest technology from TravelSIM so you can IMMEDIATELY make your mates jealous as hell!  Go on … you KNOW you want to!!

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26 comments

  • Loved the views, all of them, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen signs for ‘lookout’ some places here in the states. But your lookouts really aren’t FLAT! I think I only saw two out of all of those where there wasn’t a hill or mountain or at least a mesa in the distance somewhere. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I thought I wouldn’t survive the first time we stayed in ‘the flatlands’. I’ve learned that I can, but when we get back to the west I always breathe a happy sigh of rediscovery! There is nothing here in Florida — no elevation at all in the distance.

  • Eungella NP was weird for us, got the car fixed in Mackay, aww, thanks for those memories! 🙂
    #1 – we lost a pan there, oh, my! 🙂
    (we picked it up)
    #2 Sandflies and friendly guys at the tourist-info giving me tea-tree-oil for free…
    Love #6 best, never been there, though (poor guys living there! All the money for living in something like a zoo…)
    What is #8 warning you about?
    #13…Flinders Ranges, we went through the “small” track? I wanted a helicopter to pick me up, LOL! Was too tired and worn out to eat afterwards!

  • I’ve been to Point Lookout lots and its about 50/50 that it will be foggy, it’s worth another visit as the view down the Bellinger Valley to the sea is spectacular.

  • What a great series of shots – so many beautiful lookouts!

  • I have only been to nr. 10 at Kalbarri, and will visiting it again in March when my daughter and partner visit from France. When I saw it, was in the middle of winter, and the river was dry.
    Another beautiful lookout in the Blue mountains in NSW – The Three Sisters, that I talk about in my last post.

  • Fabulous photos! I have only been to one of these and that is Nature’s Window at Kalbarri – what an amazing place! We went there in September 2012 and just loved it – it was stunning and I felt my photos didn’t do it justice!

  • Did you leave any lookouts for the rest of us? looks like you have them all covered. The highest mountain in Florida is Space Mountain in Disney I think. These look a lot more fun but I bet the ride up on some of these will make you just as queasy.

  • Hi Red, what a coincidence. We were at the lookout at Dorrigo on the weekend. All part of the same National Park system and only a few klms from Point Lookout. Also you did not name the first lookout in your post. I know you know but for others it is the Eungella Chalet Lookout near the village at Eungella at the top of the range behind Mackay, Qld. Cheers…

  • Grand shots!
    Happy New Year!

  • Cathy at Wives with Knives

    Gorgeous photos, OZ. The views are spectacular from all the lookouts. Would love to see the places for myself.

  • These lookouts may not be very high, but they certainly have very impressive views (with the possible exception of Point Lookout!). You did a wonderful job of capturing the views in these photos.

  • @LONDONLULU – I can only hope you found it. I’m guessing #6 is the closest to Hawaii??
    @Andrew – Well, you’re on the board!!! I’ve been to the BM too, but SO long ago, I don’t have the pix!! It’s on the list for another visit!!
    @Windsmoke – Haha, so what’s wrong with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 & 12???!!!
    @Filip – Thank you!
    @eileeninmd – Haha, you should see the ones I left out!!!!
    @George – It can be difficult to get the full effect in a photo – most of them are better in reality!!! Thanx for the vote of confidence!!
    @Indrani – Thank you!!
    @Frankie – I’ve been to Dorrigo AGES ago – but no pix, more’s the pity! Thanx for the id – I’ll add it into the caption next time I update!!

  • @Jane & Lance – Happy New Year! It doesn’t matter what language you use – a great view is immediately recognisable for what it is!!! Water makes the view MUCH easier to photograph – but the stark Outback landscapes are far more dramatic!! So hard to choose – but luckily, I don’t have to!!
    @Joan E – Haha, it could be anywhere, anytime! There’s no guarantees that all your hard work to get to the lookout will be rewarded!!!
    @Alessandra – I just know they’re not called the same thing everywhere!! I’d like to say #4 is a fave, but actually, they’re ALL favourites!
    @diane – I’m sure you’ve been to some that I have not!! I’ve also heard ‘overlook’ or ‘viewpoint’ from overseas visitors!!
    @FruitCake – Well thank you very much!! #13 is the ONLY photo I didn’t take myself!!!! But Wayne is most gratified that his is the one you liked best!!!!
    @Manzanita – Thank you – you’re SO right about the home thing … but when the views are this great, I don’t feel homesick!! From all accounts, the Pt Lookout actual view (not the misty one) is a doozy!!
    @MJWC – Wasn’t sure what they were called overseas!! We will usually hunt down the lookout wherever we are as it often gives a great overview of the area we are in!
    @Saucy Kod – SO glad you enjoyed it!! And there really IS something otherworldly about the Lord Howe Island view – MUST go back SOON!!

  • Excellent panorama pictures and beach.

    Greetings,
    Filip

  • All beautiful (and SO varied!) and definitely worth a stop! So funny, we also say “lookout” for scenic lookout points where I grew up (Hawaii), so I was looking forward to prime scenery when I saw your title!:)

  • Wow, these are all amazing views and lookouts. Beautiful scenery and photos.

  • 6, 7, 8, 9, & 13 get my vote.

  • I can tick off Mount Buffalo lookout. Sydney’s Blue Mountains have a couple of good ones.

  • WOW, I have to say Transit Hill Lookout is my absolute favourite – reminds me of Jurassic Park. Each and every view is splendid and breath taking – now you have given us a glimpse of the “Lookout Virtual Tour” and it just takes my breath away. Exciting and wonderful. Thanks – Love this Post 🙂

  • My Journey With Candida

    We have Lookouts here too!! Always try to stop when I see one, just to look and see.

    Love the very last photo, Beautiful!!

  • I like the twin peaks. It would make me feel at home. I guess when one travels you have to have little moments where you satisfy that “home feeling.” I’ll bet the last one has a far vista range in the daylight but that shot makes a hauntingly beautiful photo. Another great job, Red.

  • At first I thought my favourite was #4, then 5, then 6 et seq – until I got to Arkaroola. Parts of S.A. are not visually exciting, and Arkaroola is not the most modern or overdeveloped place on earth but the colours at Arkaroola astonished me. #13 wins my vote!

  • It is interesting that American’s call a lookout an outlook. This is a great post showcasing Oz. I am proud to say I have been to 8 of them and close to some others. By the way I included a Loo with a view on a recent post. The one at Mooloolaba. You have probably got that one anyway.

  • hehehe I have never thought of the meaning of lookout, but yes you are right! I especially like lookout number 4.

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  • Ha ha, love your last lookout … that could be the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains too.

  • Jane and Lance Hattatt

    Hello Red:
    There are certainly some ‘bella vistas’ here to coin an Italian phrase. We particularly are drawn to those which capture water as part of the view. In our eyes, there is always something interesting about lakes, seas, oceans and the like. So many different moods!

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