A Maze Of Balancing Boulders // Cathedral Rock National Park (NSW)

The view from the top of Cathedral Rocks is pretty awe inspiring, as is wandering amongst the prehistoric rock formations themselves. Easy access to this bouldery playground from the campground below makes this a great overnight escape from Brisbane. Here’s everything you need to know about this visual stunner of a microadventure in the Cathedral Rock National Park, NSW.


Highlights

  • Spectacular 360° views
  • No safety rails to spoil views
  • Plenty of off-trail nooks and crannies to discover

Cathedral Rock National Park

A Maze Of Balancing Boulders // Cathedral Rock National Park (NSW) Luke Mallinson, opening, hiker, red beanie, framed view, trees,

Early in July my family and I decided to go on a camping trip to Cathedral Rock National Park in NSW. We turned off Waterfall Way and began driving through a mixture of bushland and farmland. It was hard to hide our excitement as the silhouette of large boulders atop a mountain came into view.

In the dying light it was easy to imagine the silhouetted formation was a sleeping giant like something from a fairy tale.

Barokee Campground

We set up our camp site and began to make plans for the following day’s adventure. My sister and I decided on an early morning start to watch the sunrise from the top. The other boys opted for a sleep in.

The day started early with a 4:30am wake up as the sound of my alarm cut through the cold morning air. We were camping in the Barokee Campground which lies in Cathedral Rock National Park, around a one hour hike from the top of the boulders of Cathedral Rock.

The Cathedral Rocks Track

With a quick breakfast filling our bellies, we packed a few snacks, filled our water bottles and then set out up the Cathedral Rocks Track in the pitch black. Using the lights of our phones to light the way we began the hike to the top with our fingers crossed for a spectacular sunrise.

It was so cold that you could see our breath in the torchlight.

The majority of the walk was rather easy going with not too much elevation until the very end. By the time we had reached the summit turnoff there was enough light to see without our torches. The next 400m was pretty much clambering over boulders and through crevices until we reached the top. This part of the walk gives you a real sense of exploring with a great reward at the end.

The Summit

We climbed the final chains up onto the largest boulder and were blown away! Both figuratively and literally. The view was even better than I had imagined and the wind was so strong that we were nearly blown off the top. We pulled our beanies down tight and found a little nook in the rock out of the wind to watch the sunrise.

From the very top we were spoilt with 360° views of the landscape below. The colours were amazing, making it hard to put my camera down. After posing for a few (hundred) selfies and watching the sunrise, we decided to explore the rest of the boulders.

A Maze Of Balancing Boulders // Cathedral Rock National Park (NSW) Luke Mallinson, sitting, horizon, view, hiker, rocks, sunrise

We explored the area for around another hour, climbing over, under and through the huge pile of boulders that lay before us, before beginning the walk back to the campsite for lunch.

Returning By The Light Of Day

With the sun above us the return walk from Cathedral Rocks was a pleasure. The bushland was stunning in the sunlight as the track wound back down the hill around smaller piles of mossy boulders and lush green ferns. Our bellies began grumbling as the last views of the sleeping giant disappeared from sight.

The boulders of Cathedral Rocks were formed millions of years ago by the Ebor volcano. Molten rock was forced into cracks deep within the earth’s crust. Over millions of years the earth’s crust was slowly weathered away leaving the large granite boulders balancing on top of each other as they can be seen today.

Essential Gear

  • Grippy Shoes
  • Water
  • Camera (your Instagram feed will thank you)
  • Torch (for sunrise/sunset adventures)

How To Get There

Cathedral Rock Track is most easily accessed from the Barokee Campground.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Exploring under and over large boulders
  • Photography

Skill Level

Intermediate

Distance Covered / Duration

It took us around three hours to do this 6km loop.

 


More ridiculous rocks…

In the Land of Monoliths // Warrumbungle National Park (NSW)

Let the Cliffs be your Guide // Cape Raoul (TAS)

Easy-Access Canyon Adventure // Bungonia Slot Canyon (NSW)

How To Experience Uluṟu (Without Walking On It!)