The pairing of Mt Kaputar and the Warrumbungles makes for a stunning western NSW road trip. These ancient volcanic formations rise up out of the plains and create imposing rock formations, micro-climates and vantage points that are totally unique. Time to hit the road.
- Experience ancient rugged mountain ranges with dramatic peaks
- The incredible, sharp, steep and narrow ‘Breadknife’
- Clear skies for astrophotography
- Expansive 360 degree views
Driving Out West
It’s always exciting to road trip out west, especially when there are epic mountains on the horizon. The Warrumbungles National Park and Mount Kaputar National Park are ancient remnant mountain ranges, formed from volcanic plugs that have been twisted, squeezed and exposed to the full force of nature over many thousands of years.
They also hold a very special place in my heart… beautifully jagged, they form some of the most interesting mountainous landscape in Aus. Ridiculously good for climbing and hiking, they’re a paradise for the adventurous. We took to the road to find explore.
Governor Mountain: Mt Kaputar National Park
First stop, Governor Mountain for sunrise. A short 20 min walk that scrambles its way up to a huge rocky plateau, this view is definitely one for the books. Hovering around the –6°C mark with a -12°C wind chill, it was one of the coldest moments I can remember.
We waited on the cliffline in pain for the sun to rise over the distant peaks and grace us with warmth; it did just that, slowly but surely. From the 1450m summit of Governor Mountain you have 270 degree views of the Nandewar Ranges, the western plains and towards the south, the Warrumbungle skyline is on the horizon. What a sight.
Explore more: The Island In The Sky// Mt Kaputar National Park (NSW)
Belougery Split Rock
I’ve been to the ‘bungles 3 times before, but never hiked Belougery Split Rock. It’s a fascinating mountain, oddly shaped so that it looks cut in half. While trekking, we were also testing the new Lowa Renegade GTX boots and putting them through their paces. We got ready to climb, prepping warm gear for sunset, and itching to see how the boots would cope.
To the summit! This walk is fairly easy until the rock scramble part which requires good concentration and grippy shoes (the Lowa’s did their part here). From the summit, there are 360 degree views out towards the Grand High Tops — Bluff Mountain is the stand out with its mammoth 350m wall. From here you can see just how rugged and vastly beautiful the park is.
Grand High Tops / Balor Hut Camp
The next day we set off on another hike, this time round being one of the best day walks in Australia. The original plan was to backcountry camp on the Grand High Tops and find a flattish spot to set the tents up.
Our master plan quickly came to an end after the wind picked up. The wind was howling and had a bone-chilling bite to it, enough for us to find an alternative campsite to escape the risk of hypothermia.
We opted for an overnighter at Balor Hut (600m back from where we were). Tents set up and fire stoked, we kicked back in each other’s company and reminisced about what we’d seen.
- Boots (the Lowa Renegade GTX’s go alright)
- Hiking pack stuffed with warm gear
- Warm sleeping gear and a sturdy, warm tent.
- Water & healthy snacks
- Headtorch for the hike back
How To Get There
The Warrumbungle National Park is 35km west of Coonabarabran, 550km North-West of Sydney, 1.5 hours from Dubbo and 2.5 hours from Tamworth. Mt Kaputar National Park is 178km north of Coonabarabran and 50km east of Narrabri.
Intermediate to advanced, as some sections require steep rock scrambles.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain
Governor Mountain 0.45km return / 50m
Belougery Split Rock 4.6km loop / 350m
Grand High Tops 11km return to Pincham Carpark / 600m
Hit the road to western NSW