Bluff Mountain & Grand High Tops, Warrumbungle National Park NSW

The must do circuit walk in the Warrumbungles, taking in famous views of the Breadknife from Grand High Tops, and a visit to Bluff Mountain (1200m) where there are more great views.

The Grand High Tops Circuit with an added side trip to Bluff Mountain (1200m) is arguably the best walk in the Warrumbungles, especially for views. From Grand High Tops there are classic views of the pleasingly named rock formation, The Breadknife, which is a tall, thin and sheer slice of rock that you pass on the way up. There are also great views of nearby Crater Bluff, and of Belougery Spire, both prominent and striking hunks of rock. Continue reading “Bluff Mountain & Grand High Tops, Warrumbungle National Park NSW”

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungle National Park NSW

A long walk with excellent views from the summit over the whole of the Warrumbungles, although you might find the highlight are the huge numbers of fabulous grass trees in the final 200 vertical metres.

Mt Exmouth (1206m) is the highest point in Warrumbungle National Park, and I’ll admit to a spot of peak bagging in doing this walk. Nevertheless, I’d read that the views from the summit were excellent, and they were, although a bit hazy on an overcast day. Unexpectedly though, another feature of this walk stole the show, and that was the preponderance of fabulous grass trees on the final ascent to the summit. I’ve never seen so many in my life, and they were fine specimens indeed. So I’d recommend this walk even just for these, but the views will be an added bonus.

Track notes at the end. And if you haven’t already you should consider doing the park’s classic walk, the Bluff Mountain and Grand High Tops Circuit

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon: The Scenery

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Burbie Canyon
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Not as many wildflowers out as I’d expected, but these ones were quite nice.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Burbie Canyon
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Burbie Canyon
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Much of the walk was along Burbie Fire Trail so I thought I would take a picture of this just so you know what you are up for. Not so exciting but then the lower section of the alternative West Spirey Creek Track were not all that exciting either. It made for fast walking at least.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
One of three new wildflowers I saw on the walk, (as in, new to me).
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
An interesting aesthetic walking through native pine trees of some sort. Not many of these further east.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
A prickly pear cactus. These have become a serious weed in Australia in the past. Not sure about nowadays. We saw just this one.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Wildflowers I’ve not seen before.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
The first of many grass trees on the final ascent to the summit.

Prepare for an overwhelming number of grass tree photos…

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Nice shades of green here.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Lots of grass trees.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
So many grass trees!
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
And still more grass trees.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
I particularly liked this grass tree, which looks like it is wearing a fur coat.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
One of my favourite grass tree shots with Sophia demonstrating scale, and hence the advanced age of these wonderful plants.

Up onto the summit area here…

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
I liked this long line of grass trees as we approached the summit.

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
A very bushy grass tree.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Note sure what what that distant mountain is, but it looked a little volcanic, and could have been in this area given that it was moulder by volcanic forces many centuries ago.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Approaching the summit.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
A panorama from the summit.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Grass tree ‘spears’ on the summit.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Possibly my favourite shot from the summit of Mt Exmouth (1206m), combining the views with many grass trees in flower, the signature characteristics of this walk, at least in 2019.

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
A noisy friarbird.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
A noisy friarbird.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
A noisy friarbird on grass tree flower spears.

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Lots of grass trees at the summit.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
I may have darkened this photo a bit too much, but a number of my shots turned out very hazy so I’ve tried to adjust for that. Split Rock to the left.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
View from the summit.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
The view from the summit of Mt Exmouth (1206m). Bluff Mountain in the centre, which we climbed the next day.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Sophia sometimes needs to lie down to let the blood back to her head. Of course, this doesn’t explain why she does so much lying down at home also. Pictured here on the summit of Mt Exmouth (1206m).
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
Not sure what these flowers are, but I liked the aesthetic.
Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW
This is Belougery Split Rock, which is actually not on the walk, but you can start from this car park along Burbie Fire Trail, missing out Burbie Canyon. Not recommended, but I just wanted to include this picture. There’s a walk around the base of this small mountain and you can visit the summit also. One for next time.


Track Notes

We started the walk at Burbie Canyon, which is a nice 1km section of the ephemeral Burbie Creek, although we then had a long slog up Burbie Fire Trail to where the track begins the final ascent to the summit. NPWS info on the walk actuals refers to a start at Split Rock Car Park, but you’re better off walking through the canyon as it’s (probably) more scenic than the start of Burbie Fire Trail, and also 1km shorter each way.

An alternative is to leave from Pincham Car Park, also the start of the Grand High Tops Circuit, which we did the following day. You walk up a section of West Spirey Creek, and there are eventually views of the big cliff face on Bluff Mountain. (We descended down this track, and I think descending is better for the Grand High Tops Circuit). There’s then a link track to join the Mt Exmouth route at (kind of) the end of Burbie Fire Trail.  I can’t tell you what this section is like.

Here are some maps and basic info on the walking options in the park. Ignore the ‘you are here’ marker on the map, as we took this photo at the Split Rock Car Park. 

Map of walks in Warrumbungle National Park
The sign at Split Rock car park, which is not where we started from.

Walks in Warrumbungle National Park

Ferntree Gully Circuit, near Rylstone NSW

The circuit walk through Ferntree Gully Reserve passes through a scenic gully containing interesting rainforest vegetation. This includes various types of ferns as the name suggests, as well as vines and trailing roots reaching down over rocks to find the ground below. There are also good views from above the gully. It’s a short but rewarding walk that I recommend if you are in the region around Rylstone. Continue reading “Ferntree Gully Circuit, near Rylstone NSW”

Pagoda Lookout Track, Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park NSW

An excellent short walk on the Pagoda Lookout Track in Wollemi National Park, where there are views of rock pagodas & over the picturesque Cudgegong River.

The Dunns Swamp area is very picturesque, and a shortish drive from the also picturesque village of Rylstone, in NSW’s Mid-Western region. The short walk on the Pagoda Lookout Track passes along the foreshore of the dammed but still very attractive Cudgegong River, and takes you to the base of impressive rock pagodas. From there it’s a short but steep climb to the top of the rocks themselves. There are great views of the rocks and over the surrounding area. Definitely worth spending half an hour or so exploring the area around the lookout, and obsessively taking pictures (obviously). Continue reading “Pagoda Lookout Track, Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park NSW”

Cathedral Rock & Woolpack Rocks, Cathedral Rock National Park NSW

Lots of impressive boulders on this walk through Cathedral Rock National Park, and expansive views over the New England High Country.

This route climbs Cathedral Rock, the (almost) high point of the New England Tablelands at about 1580m, and goes on to visit the attractive Woolpack Rocks. There are various interesting boulder formations throughout the walk, and expansive views from on top of the two main rock formations. You start above 1300m, so only moderate effort required on an undulating track to visit these destination points. Continue reading “Cathedral Rock & Woolpack Rocks, Cathedral Rock National Park NSW”

Wollomombi and Chandler Walking Tracks, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park NSW

Spectacular gorge scenery on these two shortish walks along the edge of Wollomombi Gorge in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

Two shortish walks here that are filled with spectacular gorge scenery. The scenery is quite different from the valleys around Sydney, and one of my Instagram followers thought it reminiscent of the Italian Alps. I’ve never been, although I see plenty of the Dolomites on Instragram, and I think she was referring to the preponderance of steep rocky slopes. There are big waterfalls here as well, and in fact Wollomombi Falls is the third tallest in Australia, however we didn’t see a single falls with water in them on our trip, due to dry conditions. Definitely worth the visit nevertheless. Continue reading “Wollomombi and Chandler Walking Tracks, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park NSW”

Apsley Gorge Rim Circuit, Oxely Wild Rivers National Park NSW

A very short and accessible walk around the rim of Apsley Gorge, with good views of Apsley Falls and the vertical walls of the gorge. 

A very short and accessible walk around the rim of Apsley Gorge. There are good views of the falls, and of the vertical slate walls of the gorge. We arrived at this spot in twilight so we were unable to do the slightly longer walk around the other side of the gorge, but I did manage to get a few shots in before the sun went down. Track notes at the end.

Continue reading “Apsley Gorge Rim Circuit, Oxely Wild Rivers National Park NSW”

Mt Twynam, Little Twynam, Blue Lake & Hedley Tarn, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

Excellent scenery on this walk taking in two of Australia’s highest peaks, and two of its alpine lakes, including the spectacular Blue Lake.

On this walk high up on the Main Range I visited Australia’s third highest peak for the first time, Mt Twynam at 2196m of elevation, it’s sibling Little Twynam (2130m), the spectacular Blue Lake, and nearby Hedley Tarn. There’s excellent alpine scenery the whole way, and with the exception of the justifiably popular Blue Lake, you’ll avoid the worst of the crowds that frequent the southern area of the range near Mt Kosciuszko. Continue reading “Mt Twynam, Little Twynam, Blue Lake & Hedley Tarn, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”

Mt Tate Circuit, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

Excellent and remote feeling alpine scenery on this sometimes off-track circuit walk up to the summit of Mt Tate (2068m), in Kosciuszko National Park near Guthega.

I didn’t really know what to expect on this circuit walk up Mt Tate (2068m) in Kosciuszko National Park, but it turned out to be one of the better walks I’ve done on mainland Australia. The views from the summit of Mt Tate are particularly good, and include looking over the rocky plateau of the Main Range towards some of Australia’s other highest peaks. The route through colourful and varied alpine scenery is unmarked, and for much of the time there’s no track, but navigation is easy in good weather, and you might have the place to yourself, as I did even on Easter Saturday. Continue reading “Mt Tate Circuit, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”

Bungonia National Park Green and White Tracks, NSW

Spectacular gorge and canyon scenery on this relatively easygoing circuit walk in Bungonia National Park, in the NSW Southern Highlands near Goulburn.

Bungonia National Park was a new find for me, and its spectacular karst landforms make me wonder why it’s not more famous. Without a great deal of time I did a fairly easy circuit walk, the Green Track, taking in the main lookouts over  spectacular canyon and gorge scenery. A short side trip along the White Track added one more excellent lookout over the Shoalhaven River Valley.

Continue reading “Bungonia National Park Green and White Tracks, NSW”