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Completing a circuit around the jagged Breadknife is a steep hike taking about five hours.
Country Australia
State New South Wales
Highest point
 - location Mount Exmouth
 - elevation 1,206 m (3,957 ft)

The Warrumbungles is the name of a mountain range and National Park located in northern New South Wales, Australia. The nearest town to the Warrumbungles is Coonabarabran. The area is easiest accessed from the Newell Highway which is the major road link directly between Melbourne, Victoria and Brisbane, Queensland and cuts across inland New South Wales from the north to the south.

The range lies between the moist eastern coastal zone and the dryer plains to the west. Due to this position the mountains have provided protection for flora and fauna suited to both habitats. There are over 120 different bird species that have been identified on the range, including Lories and lorikeets, rosellas and parrots. In the centre of the range has served as an area of protection for a healthy and content colony of grey kangaroos. These animals have become fairly tame due to constant visitor attention and are easily approached.

The Siding Spring Observatory is situated on an eastern peak. The area has little light pollution to disturb astronomical viewing. The Warrumbungles hosted the 2006 World Rogaining Championships.



The base of the region was formed 180 million years ago. At the time a lake was formed that allowed sediment to slowly compress into sandstone.[1] The Warrumbungles is the remnants of a large, heavily eroded shield volcano that was active from 18 to 15 million years ago. A huge shield-shaped volcano formed as volcanic explosions occurred over millions of years.[1] The remaining complex, rocky formations are what is left after millions of years of erosion.

The Warrumbungles - 360 Panorama


The main features of the Warrumbungle mountains are a series of huge, jagged outcrops, surrounded by hilly bush and woodland forest. The Grand High Tops is a section of the range where volcanic remnants are especially clustered.[2] These vents and rocky formations are all named - Belougery Spire, Belougery Split Rock, Crater Bluff, Bluff Mountain, The Breadknife and Mount Exmouth. The Breadknife, a straight wall of jagged rock nearly 100 metres high, is particularly rare. There is an extensive network of nine walking tracks across the central peaks.


The first European to sight and explore the area was John Oxley in 1818 on second expedition through New South Wales.[3] Oxley named the range the Arbuthnots Range. The native name Warrumbungles which means 'crooked mountains' became the most common name.[4]

Belougery Spire was first ascended by Eric Dark and Osmar White in 1932, and Crater Bluff by Dark and Dorothy Butler in 1936. The Breadknife was not ascended until 1954, by Russ Kippax and Bill Peascod. Climbing on the Breadknife has since been banned, to protect the walking track along its base from rockfall. Lieben, on Crater Bluff, was the most difficult rock climb in Australia for many years after its first ascent by Bryden Allen and Ted Batty in 1962. It was graded 17 — the hardest grade in the Ewbank system at the time — but is generally agreed to be much harder.

By 1953, 3360 hectares of the range was recognised for its natural heritage and preserved as Warrumbungle National Park.[4]


This area is also known as the Warrumbungle-Liverpool Basalt Ranges, which is distinct physiographic section of the larger Hunter-Hawkesbury Sunkland province, which in turn is part of the larger East Australian Cordillera physiographic division.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Warrumbungle National Park: Landscape and Geology". Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  2. ^ Hutton, Geoffrey (1983). Australia's Natural Heritage (2nd ed.). Sydney: William Collins; Melbourne: Australian Conservation Foundation. p. 102. OCLC 37087681.  
  3. ^ Hema Maps (1997). Discover Australia's National Parks. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House Australia. pp. 132. ISBN 1975992472.  
  4. ^ a b "Warrumbungle National Park: Culture and history". Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  • Colyvan, Mark (1994). The Warrumbungles. Wild Publications (insert in Rock Magazine no. 20).  

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Warrumbungle article)

From Wikitravel

Warrumbungle Shire is in New South Wales, Australia. The shire is the production of an amalgamation of the Coolah and Coonabarabran areas that took place in August of 2004. There are around 11,000 living in the shire.

  • Baradine.
  • Binnaway.
  • Coonabarabran.
  • Coolah.
  • Dunedoo.
  • Mendooran.
  • Siding Spring Observatory.
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