Kings Tableland Walking Track 1899
This Table Land is extremely beautiful and has very fine Picturesque grand scenery — consisting of deep finely wooded Glens, stupendous Rocks & Cliffs, with high distant Hills and Mountains..
Governor Lachlan Macquarie 1815
The Mountaineer [Katoomba]
17 February 1899
NEW WALKS ALONG KING'S TABLELAND
King's Tableland at Wentworth Falls possesses a peculiar interest from many standpoints - from botanical, geological or ethnological and many others. But our purpose is solely with its charms, fascination and loveliness as a tourists' resort.
Those who have not taken a walk along this remarkable peninsular are strongly advised to exploit the winding tracks wisely undertaken by the reserve trust, and made by their indefatigable caretaker and overseer, Mr. P. Mulheran.
The most fertile imagination can picture nothing more fascinating and invigorating than such a walk on a cool day.
There is not the beauty of limpid stream, cool grotto, spreading fern, delicate moss, nor any of the charms that nestle down in the depths of the romantic valley. The beauty and the grandeur of the scene is of a totally different character, but never-the-less powerful and enthralling – teaching sublime lessons, appealing to man's better parts, and giving the reciprocative soul that rest from the humdrum of life that stands it in good stead amid the "common round of daily task."
This is one of the scenes after the contemplation of which is the impulse to kneel and reverently thank God that Australia has such a glorious heritage as the Blue Mountains, and the beholder feels he is indeed a favoured mortal to have the privilege of drinking in some of its grandeur.
In the delightful crispness of early spring or late autumn, with miles and miles of mount and valley, cliff and ravine with their thousand and one charms spread out like a panorama as clear as if one were near enough to touch them, the glorious spectacle stamps itself upon the brain.
The writer took the walk in the early morning, and was rewarded with the glorious sight of seeing the mists lifting themselves from the valley, and rolling along and upward, but clinging forsooth as long as possible to the massive walls that hem in the valley.
The sight itself is one that is worth any sacrifice to see. The effect given to the landscape is indescribable. The configuration of the ridge and valley is lost. At times it is hard to define mountain or valley or mist.
The clouds roll along in silent grandeur, and lift themselves from the valley as though from a couch, and raise themselves aloft into the clear blue sky from whence they diffuse beauty and life to the world beneath them.
All this, and more that defies the power of words to express appeals powerfully to the mind as you stand on one of the prominences of King's Tableland thousands of feet above the majestic Jamison Valley.
The subtle scene, too, is so swiftly changing that nothing definite retains its impress distinctly upon the faculties.
The route to these walks is through the entrance gates of the reserves past the beautiful Weeping Rock – but in that never-ending stream of tears there is no suggestion of sorrow – joy and delight being the most dominant notes in the ripple and splash of the beautiful cascade.
Onward past the Queen's Cascade and Golden Sands. Although there is not a superabundance of sand, the cognomen is still singularly appropriate for when the sun shines on the spot it glistens with a lovely yellow even far surpassing the beauty of the "precious metal."
Still onward through the romantic Rock Archway, past the legendary Rocket Point, and the Cliff Views referred to on the direction board begin to present themselves.
By this time the mists have almost entirely left the valley, and the magnificent Jamison, everywhere showing itself in noble proportions reveals its vastness on a majestic scale.
From these points Toll's Hotel with its cleanly and neat appearance shows the wisdom of the proprietor in the selection of the site and when the design is consummated as it is understood it shortly will be this edifice will be one of the loveliest and romantically situated buildings the colony can boast of.
Referring to the hotel, in the still morning a peculiar sound greeted the ear from the time the reserve was neared, and this could be heard right across the gap, fully two miles across. Enquiries disclosed the fact that this was a very powerful hydraulic ram at work for the hotel, so that the water supple is unlimited. What a blessing this must be.
But to continue along the path. After doing so a little, there is a vantage point where a semicircular rock has been built up near the edge of the cliff. This should certainly be worthy of a name and that of the "Round Table" is here thrown out as a suggestion.
Further along still is another vantage point, where the path winds around some weirdly worn rocks.
Around this portion that devastating element - fire - has left the rocks and shrubs blackened, but the path threads its way through the seared landscape beautifully white.
How sorry one feels to learn that this fire is the result of either wilfulness or carelessness! How a Ruskin would almost weep over such a fact!
So the end of the track is reached, and a fence serves as a reminder that some short-sighted government has basely betrayed its sacred trust and sold one of the most magnificent of the Blue Mountains cliffs.
The shame and humiliation of the fact is all the more poignant when it is known that for the most paltry "mess of potage" this most sublime frontage that God intended should be the unalienable right of the whole community through all the ages has been frittered away.
Oh, the pity of it! Oh, the shame of it. Oh! that the people would rise to the privilege, and demand that this sort of thing should be stopped, that an end should be put to such sacrilege. But the great mass of humanity is very very slow and the heart seems seared and burnt and callous in the fierce fire of competition.
The only reason that seems evident for private ownership of such beauty spots is that one man shall be able to view nature in some of her most sublime aspects, and shut out his brother man except according to his whim.
But to turn to what the small reserve opens out to the vista.
From the towering cliffs that bid defiance to comparison to any work of human hands to look down into the abysmal depths is awe inspiring.
The expanse spread out before the vision gives one a sense of their own littleness. The valley walls are colossal. The dimensions of the valley itself are bewildering.
Beyond the last bold bluff are evidence of the settlements of the wonderfully fertile Burragorang.
Still further, standing against the horizon, and often seemingly co-mingled with it are the bluffs and cliffs on the Picton side of the valley, Round Head standing out clearly.
Mount Solitary rears its lofty height in front, and spreads across the valley for miles and miles.
Ruined Castle with the miners' cottages varies the scene.
Right below down in the depths is a charming and unique sight, that of the whole of the Vera Falls, the last of the twelve falls in the Valley of Waters - standing out clearly amid the green of the forest depths.
After a short rest and a contemplation of the scene of which this description is but a poor attempt to describe, the top path was chosen for the return. And Kings Tableland was left behind with mingled feelings and with a wish to induce many more to enjoy its beauties.