With 360-degree views of the Hunter, Munibung Hill is quite the place. From the summit, you can see as far as Port Stephens.
And there's impressive views of the lake and Watagan mountains.
The hill is pretty close to the centre of the Hunter - along the coast, that is.
But being bordered by Boolaroo and the former Pasminco land on one side, meant the hill was suffocated by pollution for decades. And large parts of the hill were quarried for gravel.
Locals hope it can now find a new lease of life. The Newcastle Heraldrecently reported that the draft Munibung Hill Management Plan has been released through Lake Macquarie council.
Having a gander at the plan reminded us how much bureaucratic gobbledygook councils and governments use in their reports and plans. It's mind-boggling stuff.
More to the point, though, Munibung HIll Conservation Society president Stuart Carter has some points to make about the hill, which he described as "an iconic place that deserved better treatment than it had received over the last 100 years or so".
"We are living at a time when, thankfully, we view landscapes like Munibung Hill as more than sites for mining and exploitation," Stuart said.
The hill is home to various native plant and animal species and has an ancient past.
"The geological and Indigenous cultural aspects need special recognition, with storyboards relating to its 251 million years of age and 65,000 years of Aboriginal custodianship," Stuart said.
"While we acknowledge that some people would like to keep Munibung Hill a secret for their private, personal recreational purposes, the conservation values will be better served by attracting a new generation of custodians."
He hopes that people value the hill for its role as an urban forest, bird and wildlife sanctuary, pollinator corridor, Aboriginal place, health and fitness park and pedestrian-friendly area.
The city council plan states that protection will be given to Aboriginal cultural areas, native vegetation, key ecological corridors and a threatened lowland rainforest.
Also to be protected are habitat for the critically endangered scrub turpentine, powerful owl and micro-bat roosting.
The plan further states that activities such as recreational 4WD and motorbike use are "not considered suitable within the area".
"The management plan will not enable mountain bike riding on Munibung Hill."
There are concerns that building suitable mountain biking tracks could disturb lead-contaminated soil.
Improved walking tracks with parking and signs seem to be on the cards.
Sadly, there was no mention of the conservation society's previous suggestion of an observatory and planetarium on the hill.
The hill, we hear, is quite the spot to experience the wonders of the universe.
Sam Collyer has questioned the inclusion of Jervis Bay in a list of places with names that don't sound like they're pronounced.
"I've been corrected a few times on this by the locals," he said.
"Technically Jervis Bay is pronounced as it is written. It is named after Admiral John Jervis, who was born almost three centuries ago and whose family used the less common pronunciation."
He added, with disdain, that a Scottish colleague used to insist that Newcastle was pronounced "New-cassel". Aussies, of course, pronounce it as "New-carsel".
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