This page is a record of my visits to the Warrumbungle National Park, including photos and journal notes. Information regarding the park, including track notes of walks in the area and links to other resources can be found here also.
The Warrumbungle National Park region was discovered by Europeans in 1818 by John Oxley while looking for an inland sea. The name of the mountain range, 'Warrumbungle,' means crooked mountains in the local Kamilaroi Aboriginal language. There is evidence of Aboriginal use and known occupation sites within the park.
The idea of a reserve to conserve the area of the Warrumbungles was first entertained by the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council in 1936, with the first area being conserved in 1953.
The national park takes up some 23 000 hectares, 33km west of Coonabarabran and 90km north of Gilgandra. More areas are to be added to the park in the future. It is a park of rocky spires, ridges, domes and gorges. The rocky peaks include the famous Breadknife, Bluff Mountain and Grand High Tops, which are an extremely popular destination for bush walkers. Map.
There are well over 600 different species of plants to be found within Warrumbungle National park. Wildlife is to be seen everywhere, from Kangaroos, Wallabies and Koalas, to Wedgetail Eagles and Parrots. The park also preserves a population of the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby. In fact there are some 180 bird and 75 animal species within the national park.
A first stop at the park should be the excellent visitors centre, not only to pay the necessary entry and camping fees, but also to view the displays and goods for sale. It is open from 9am to 4pm daily.
ABOVE: Video Footage providing a useful introduction to
Warrumbungle National Park
ABOVE: Video footage showing some of the wildlife at the
Warrumbungle National Park
Warrumbungle National Park has over 40km of well established walking trails for walkers of all fitness levels. Pack-campers are required to leave details of their walks with the Visitor Centre and obtain a permit.
Walkers carrying out any of the longer walks should ensure they are carrying plenty of drinking water, especially in the hot summer months. Obviously it is also wise to prepare for your longer walks with sunscreen and hats.
Rock climbing is permitted in the park, but all climbers must first register with the Visitors Centre. Chalkers Mountain and The Breadknife are the exception, with no climbing allowed on these.
I recommend purchasing a copy of the National Parks and Wildlife Services' 'Warrumbungle National Park Guide to Walks.' These can be obtained from the Visitors Centre on arriving at the national park. They cost about $5.00 to buy. A brief summary of the walks available in the park are listed below.
This is an introductory walk to the park's many features. It begins from the visitors centre and is an easy 1km return walk. Allow about 15 minutes for the walk. There are many kangaroos to be seen on the walk.
This is an easy 1km walk beginning from a car park beside John Renshaw Parkway. This is best done at sunset. Allow about 15 minutes to complete the walk. Whitegum Lookout is pictured at right.
An easy 1.1km walk beginning and ending at the Canyon Picnic Area. Many kangaroos can be seen on this walk. Allow about 15 minutes to complete the walk.
This is an easy 3.8km return walk into Burbie Canyon. Allow about 40-60 minutes for the walk.
This short walk begins about 700m down John Renshaw Parkway on the left from Camp Wambelong and follows Burbie Creek. The walk proceeds through the canyon of Burbie Creek returning along Burbie Fire Trail.
The 3.6km Fans Horizon walk is a medium to difficult walk, ascending about 1000 stairs or 200m in altitude. Allow about 2 hours for the walk. The views from the top are well worth the climb, especially in the early morning or evening.
The walk begins from the Pincham Carpark and leads off to the right. The view from the tops incudes the main peaks of the park, including Belougery Spire, the Breadknife and Crater Bluff. Also visible is the Siding Springs Observatory (just outside the park).
The 4.6km circuit walk is of medium difficulty, with some areas of greater difficulty involving the use of chains. Allow 3 hours to complete the Belougery Split Rock (pictured at left) walk.
The walk begins from Camp Wambelong along the Burbie Fire Trail for about 600m. The track to Split Rock then heads off to the left and works it way around the mountain. There is a short climb to the summit of the mountain (771m high), involving the use of chains. Excellent views are to be had from the top. The circuit continues from the base of the short climb to the top to Burbie Fire Trail. Follow the trail back to Camp Wambelong.
This is a 6.3km walk beginning at the Pincham Trackhead and heading off the main Grand High Tops track. There are great views of the Grand High Tops from Macha Tor. It is a medium grade walk, taking between 2-3 hours to complete.
The walk begins from the Pincham Carpark along the main Grand High Tops Track, branching off to the left toward Febor Tor and Macha Tor (743m high). Along the way there are a number of vantage points offering wonderful views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. When the track returns to the main Pinchum Trail, you return to Pincham Carpark.
The Bress Peak trail is perhaps the most difficult ascent in the park. It is a 6.6km return trip beginning from the Pincham Trackhead and off the main Grand High Tops track. The walk is more or less straight up and then a return along the same path. Allow some 3-4 hours for the walk.
This walk begins from the Pincham Carpark and follows the main Grand High Tops Track (Pincham Trail), branching off to the right. From here it is a straight climb to Bridget and Bress Peaks. Excellent views from the top make the walk well worth while. The return is back the same way you came.
This is a 14.5km walk that takes in the best that the national park has to offer. It is truly one of the great walks in NSW and Australia. It is of medium difficulty, with a number of ascents involved during the walk. It is best to allow at least 4 or 5 hours for the walk. The Grand High Tops are pictured below, showing Belougery Spire and The Breadknife.
The walk begins from the Pincham Carpark, initially following Sprey Creek, with views of the Breadknife and Belougery Spire, before climbing to the Breadknife. Along the trail is Wilson's Rest, with good views of Belougery Spire (1057m high). At the base of the 90m high Breadknife is a track heading off to the right. This is the Dagda shortcut which provides a quicker return to the start of the walk than the West Spirey Creek Track.
This walk has changed somewhat since my first ascent, with the inclusion of metal and timber stairs at this point. These make the ascent much easier, as well as easing the pressure on the environment caused by erosion. Up to this point there is what is becoming known as the 'yellow brick road.' This of course is referring to the large sections of pavers used to stabilise the track and reduce the pressure on the environment caused by erosion. These sections of pavement, especially up the 'Spirey Ramp,' make it a much easier walk then it used to be.
Following the Breadknife is the ascent of the Grand High Tops (960m high). There is a bit of a steep climb before the top is reached. On the Grand High Tops are the most impressive views available in the park, with Belougery Spire, Crater Bluff (1094m high), Tonduron Spire (1072m high), Bluff Mountain (1200m high) and Mount Exmouth (1206m high) all visible.
From the Grand High Tops the track continues past Dagda Gap (and the Dagda shortcut) to Nuada Gap. Here is the beginning of the Bluff Mountain Track (described below). The trail is then followed along the Dow's High Tops to Middle Spirey View, Point Wilderness and Ogma Gap. The turn off is found here for the return to Pincham along West Spirey Creek.
Bluff Mountain (pictured at right) is a 2.4km medium-hard return walk, leaving the main Grand High Tops track (16.9km including the Grand High Tops track). It is best tackled along with the Grand High Tops and West Spirey Creek walk described above. Allow about 6-8 hours to do so.
The walk follows the Grand High Tops track until Nuada Gap where the track heading off to Bluff Mountain is found. Here the track ascends the mountain, returning the same way. At the top spectacular views are to be had of the surrounding peaks. Wedgetail eagles can usually be seen flying above you.
The Mount Exmouth (pictured at left) ascent is second only to Bress peak in difficulty. This 16km return walk involves a couple of hours climbing the mountain, to the highest point in the park.
This walk follows the Grand High Tops walk described above unto Ogma Saddle. Instead of following the West Spirey Creek Track, continue on past Churchill Rock, the Western High Tops and Danu Dome (921m high) to Danu Gap. The climb from Danu Gap to Mount Exmouth (1206m high) is a hard one, as the track zig-zags up the mountain. However, the view from the top is well worth the climb. Wedgetailed Eagles are often seen from the summit. The return walk is via the way up (or a number of variations may be taken - West Spirey Creek Track, Dagda shortcut, etc).
An easier alternative route is to climb Mt Exmouth via the Burbie Fire Trail (17.3km return walk). This variation begins and ends at Camp Wambelong and follows the fire trail to Danu Gap via Burbie Camp.
An off-shoot from the main track heads off to Cathedral Rock and the Arch. This adds another 2km to the walk (about 40 minutes).
For photos of Warrumbungle National Park Visit Australia 1 Trip: Warrumbungle National Park.
The Tara Cave walk is perhaps one of the least known of the Warrumbungle National Park walks. It begins from the Woolshed and follows a well-defined path. It is about a 3km return walk. The walk leads to an Aboriginal occupational site used up until about 1850. Some evidence of occupation is on display at the cave entrance.
Currently daily fees per vehicle are $7.00. Camping fees are $8.00 per person for a powered site and $4.00 per child (5-15) for a powered site. For non-powered sites camping fees are $5.00 per person and $3.00 per child (5-15).
Camp Pincham is located at the track head for the main Grand High Tops Walks and is a walk in campsite. A permit is required for camping here. Facilities include a toilet and water (should be boiled for 3 minutes before drinking).
Hurley's Camp is a walk in camp site off the main Grand High Tops Trail, below the Breadknife. You require a permit to camp here. There are no facilities provided.
Balor Hut can be booked via the Visitors Centre and is located behind The Breadknife. It has 8 bunks. A toilet and water (should be boiled for 3 minutes before drinking) are provided. Bookings are essential and gas stoves will need to be carried in.
Gunneemooroo Camp is accessed via Tooraweenah and Tonderburine Creek in the more remote south of the park. A permit is required for camping here.
Burbie Camp is located below Mt Exmouth, with toilets and water (should be boiled for 3 minutes prior to drinking) provided. A permit is required for camping here.
The Woolshed is a group camping area requiring a permit. Toilets and water (should be boiled for 3 minutes before drinking) are provided, as well as a shed. Bookings are essential.
Camp Wambelong requires a permit. Toilets and water (should be boiled for 3 minutes before drinking) are provided.
Camp Blackman is the main camping area within the national park. Caravans are also able to stay here, with 32 powered sites available. There is a very good amenities block here, with a pay phone available also. There are electric BBQs, water (should be boiled for 3 minutes before drinking) and fireplaces are provided (must bring own wood). Camping fees apply.
Going with me on this trip was Zoe, Craig, Laura, Priscilla and Graeme. We planned to leave at 8.00 am, with lunch at Gunnedah. We travelled in a hired van to the park.
September 25 - Visit Visitors Center, book and info. Walk Gurianawa Track (1km). This is a short introductory walk (to the park's features). Set camp at Blackman's. The site has an amenities block with toilets, hot showers, fireplaces, etc.
September 26 - Walk Split Rock Circuit (4.6km) and Burbie Canyon Track (2km).
September 27 - Walk Gould's Circuit, Bidget Peakand Bress Peak.
September 28 - Walk Breadknife, Grand High Tops, Bluff Mountain and return along West Spirey Creek Track.
September 29 - Walk Mt Exmouth and return to Newcastle.
Photos From Holiday
This was a quick visit to Warrumbungle National Park from January 8-11, 2005. The link below will take you to my journal of the trip, as well as photos of this holiday. Find this page at:
Warrumbungle National Park: January 8-11, 2005
Kevin's Wilderness Journeys Homepage
New South Wales
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