Walks in the Warrumbungles
The iconic Warrumbungle region is the setting for a number of fantastic walks. One of the best walks in Australia is in the iconic Warrumbungle National Park, a strikingly beautiful ancient volcanic landscape, and you can also enjoy great hikes through Pilliga National Park
Warrumbungle National Park
The sandstone in Warrumbungle National Park park was 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.
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.
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.
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.
Pop into the Warrumbungle Visitor Centre for more information on the park and the walking tracks, including:
- The trek to Mount Exmouth
- The gentle Burbie Canyon track
- The wheelchair-accessible Whitegum lookout
Pilliga National Park
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.
Please read these bushwalking safety tips before you set out on your walking adventure.
Getting there and where to stay
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. Accommodation ranges from camping and caravan parks to motels, B&Bs and pubs in the towns of Coonabarabran and Coolah.