Walks in the Warrumbungles

One of the best walks in Australia is in the iconic Warrumbungle National Park, a strikingly beautiful ancient volcanic landscape. The exhilarating Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk is a 14.5km loop that winds near spectacular volcanic formations, including the Belougery Spire and Bluff Mountain.

The Breadknife is a narrow, weather-worn formation of solidified lava with a jagged edge stretching 500 metres. There are two campgrounds on the trail if you want to stay overnight in Australia’s first Dark Sky Park – the stargazing is amazing. You’ll need to book in advance for the Balor Hut camp site.

Scenic view of the jagged volcanic Breadknife, Warrumbungle National Park

Although the Belgourey Split Rock walking track is a much shorter walk, you’ll discover the views are breathtaking on the moderately challenging 4.6km loop. The panorama from the top of Split Rock is stunning. Please read these bushwalking safety tips before you set out on your walking adventure.

Warrumbungle means crooked mountain in the local Aboriginal language. There are many significant indigenous cultural sites in the park, including Tara Cave. The short hike to the sandstone cave is about 3.5km or you can join an Aboriginal-guided cultural tour to the site in the school holidays.

The sandstone in the Warrumbungles formed in the Jurassic period when shallow freshwater lakes covered the region, tens of millions of years before the shield volcano was active – 13 to 17 million years ago. As the extinct volcano eroded over millions of years the sandstone became exposed.

Hiker enjoying views on Belougery Split Rock walking track, Warrumbungles

The eucalypt forest and mallee scrub are teeming with wildlife, including a third of Australia’s species of parrots and cockatoos. There are wallabies, kangaroos, emus and koalas. Pop into the Warrumbungle Visitor Centre for more information on the park and the walking tracks, including:

The iconic Pilliga National Park is just north of the Warrumbungle National Park. Stop by the Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre and find out about the hidden natural treasures to explore. One of the best walks in the Pilliga is the Sandstone Caves walking track, a 1.7km loop to ancient Aboriginal rock art.

Both of these magnificent national parks are near Coonabarabran, a charming country town known as the astronomy capital of Australia. Coonabarabran is 100 minutes’ drive northeast of Dubbo. The drive from Sydney to Coonabarabran, via the Blue Mountains or the Hunter Valley, is six hours.

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