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Published July 10th 2021
Take a picnic & look for whales
If you are exploring the natural attractions in Newcastle, you can't miss the stunning Glenrock Conservation Area. It has mountain bike riding tracks, walks, waterfalls, remote beaches and native flora and fauna. One of the easiest ways to enjoy the views of this national park is to walk to the Hickson Street Lookout and Paragliding Pad, located just 5 minutes from Merewether Beach. It is an ideal spot to pick up a takeaway coffee from the beach and take it up there to enjoy it with a view.
When you drive along Hickson Street, look out for the large water tank structure on the corner, as well as the many cars which are usually parked near it. There is a small pathway to the right of the water tank and then it is just a short walk through the bush to the fake grass paragliding pad. If you visit between May and November, take your binoculars for whale watching - you won't find a better spot!
When my family and I first visited this lookout, we stood in awe at the top of the stairs and just took in the view. On our visit, there were groups of people using the paragliding pad for picnics - sitting on picnic blankets or the soft fake grass and relaxing in the sunshine. Kids were rolling down the small hills and laughter could be heard all around, as their giggles were caught in the easterly wind.
Sit on the soft, fake grass or take a picnic blanket
If you are feeling energetic, you can walk down from the lookout to Glenrock Lagoon Beach below. It takes about 15 minutes to get down and possibly double that, to get back up again! As we sat and enjoyed the view, we watched as a few fishermen walked down with their beach rods, as well as families with older children - off to explore the beach and coastline. The steps and path were well-designed and fit well into the landscape - see the images below, courtesy of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.
The steps from the Hickson Street Lookout down to the beach. Images: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website
When visiting this scenic lookout, keep in mind that it may be closed if the Newcastle Paragliding Club are utilising it, or there is a wedding ceremony booked at the lookout. If you are interested in hosting your wedding at this popular location, up to 100 people can attend the ceremony at a cost of $375 for 2 hours.
The Hickson Street Lookout and Paragliding Pad is an interesting place to visit - you can stay there for 5 minutes, or stay there all day. It is a tucked-away local gem, just waiting to be explored...
The perfect spot to take off into the wind. Image: Newcastle Paragliding Club website