Exploring Banks Wall
A spectacular lookout recovering from fire
This walk is about change and recovery in our natural bush. I'd done this walk before the fires and now in May as the bush defiantly recovered. I sensed it would look stunning in spring when the wildflowers would come out.
It's worthwhile looking around at the small detail as you walk this trail - admire the resilience of the banksias - the intense heat of the fires has caused the capsules to open releasing their seeds. The tough heaths on the windy ridges are slowly shooting new leaves. At one point I saw a magnificant scribbly gum standing proud and healthy whilst the neighbouring trees were flattened and destroyed. I passed a clear running creek surrounded by hundreds of emerald ferns returning to the sheltered gully. It's worth taking your time to look around.
The walk is off the Bells Line of Road and starts at the signposted Mt Banks picnic area. The turnoff to the picnic area is 9km past Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens.The Mt Banks summit track was still closed but I was still able to walk the fire trail to Banks Walls. This fire trail is also used by mountain bikers, canyoners and climbers. At 1000m above sea level this walk is high mountains so be prepared for the cold and the wind.
After around 4km of walking you finally get around the base of Mt Banks and are rewarded with a 360 degree view. The infant Grose River is 500 metres below, the sandstone ramparts of Mt Banks are to the North whilst Mt Hay is easily recognised over the gorge. This natural lookout is a truly spectacular spot and its worthwhile having a break to explore.
Let's get to the Point
Duration : allow 3 to 4 hours
Length of walk: 8km return
Difficulty: the walk uses a fire trail which is easy to follow, there are a few undulations but the climbs aren't long, there are no guard rails at the lookout so its not suitable for young kids.
1. From the Mt Banks Picnic area follow the main firetrail which starts behind a locked gate.
2. The firetrail heads gently up the hill and then starts to traverse around the eastern base of Mt Banks. The walking is straight forward. There are rock shelves and outcrops on Mt Banks which were hidden by heath before the fires.
3. After 2km you'll get to an obvious intersection with a burnt out National Parks sign. The right hand track heads up to the summit of Mt Banks whilst you want to keep following the more obvious left hand trail.
4.For the next 2km the firetrail undulates through small gullies and creeks. One section is close to towering rock cliffs and buttresses and its worthwhile stopping and looking up.
5.Soon the firetrail comes out into a narrow neck which is clear of high vegetation. This is the main Banks Walls viewing spot and you'll be rewarded with a fantastic spot to have a break. Banks Walls are some of the highest continuous cliffs in NSW providing epic routes for experienced climbers.
6. Return the same way you came.
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