The full Syndicate Ridge and Slingsbys Trail is a one way epic that is a challenge because of the car shuffle required. This walk to the lookouts neatly avoids the logistic challenges by starting and ending at the Slingsbys trailhead. It also avoids the physical effort of the 900m escarpment ascent or the jelly legs of the alternative, a 900m descent.
We followed Slingsbys Trail first to Lanes Lookout, admiring the lichen on the wooden bridge across the pristine Wild Cattle creek, the red grasses of the Killungoondie plain, coachwood and hoop pine in the rainforest. The Dorrigo waratah (Alloxylon pinnatum), also known as the tree waratah, grows abundantly here. It was easy to spot the glossy foliage, but it was too early for us to see the large red waratah flowers which appear from October.
Lanes lookout was a popular lovers haunt in days gone by, when Slingsbys Trail was the main road between Dorrigo and Upper Bobo.
From Lanes lookout, a forest track goes to Stony Creek lookout over the Bellinger valley. We backtracked through from here on the path through the forest to the Syndicate Track to view the bull wheel, a remnant of the tramway called the Pine Line that carried logs down the steep incline to the sawmill. Onwards, Wild Cattle creek campsite was a good lunch spot, before walking back to our car.
Midwinter, when we walked this, was chilly on the plateau! Don’t forget to take layers, beanie, gloves etc.