Best medium-length Warrumbungle NP walk.
If you like rock scrambling this relatively short walk is full of exhilarating moments together with fine views of the cleared central area and distant views of Grand High Tops.
4 – steep and rough in sections
2.5 to 3hrs
I did this walk twice during this visit, in opposite directions on separate days, and enjoyed both experiences. They felt like different walks, except for the steep, well-marked rock scramble from the gated steps, with the ‘Danger Warning’ sign, which was as challenging both days.
Most regular walkers will find the short, steep scramble manageable and great fun. Inexperienced walkers and young children should give it a miss. As should the rest of us in wet weather, when the rocks will be slippery.
Split Rock Carpark off John Renshaw Parkway
This walk was one of my favourites. It has so much variety and challenges with epic views of the surrounding ranges.
Belougery Split Rock is a lava dome created from sticky lava flowing far from the vent it erupted from. Successive eruptions piled up on the older ones, creating a huge dome of rock. The split is probably the result of two or more different piles of lava building up beside each other (although still originating from the same vent).
Route 1 – anti-clockwise
For an easier approach, do it anticlockwise. Start from Burbie Fire Trail at the southern end of the car park. Continue on this path for about 600m before you see the Split Rock Circuit signpost on your left.
There’s a lovely grove of acacia wattle here in spring. Too busy listening to the hay fever sufferers amongst us, I momentarily lose my concentration and smash my knees on the jagged dry creek bed rocks. Watch your step here. Don’t be a goose like me.
Concentration restored; the track reaches the creek’s watershed. From this saddle, the track turns left and climbs towards the fine-grained volcanic rock, called trachyte, which makes up Belougery Split Rock. A short distance further, the track drops over a knoll to the spur track, which climbs up to Split Rock’s summit (771m).
You must decide here if you want to enter the gated steps and rock scramble your way to the summit or rest. Leave your packs here to make the ascent easier. If hesitant, find a seat in the shade and have a relaxing break. The rest of your party will return from the summit shortly.
Ascending, keep the metal supports on your right. Look for cut out steps, white painted dots and arrows, and reflective markers to guide you upwards. You’ll know you’ve reached the top when you see a large rock cairn with a key foundation rock painted ‘You Did It’ and a smaller, loose one saying ‘Never Give Up’. We found the small plaque a perfect addition to our selfie achievement moments.
To continue along the circuit, return to the main track and turn left, following the path around towards the split, but the gap is unimpressive from close quarters. From here, the track winds down around the dome’s eastern and northern faces before continuing in a series of steps to Split Rock Car Park where you’ll find two picnic tables. A perfect spot for an early lunch before doing the Burbie Canyon Trail extension in the early afternoon.
If you want a gentler descent at the end of this walk, begin in a clockwise direction from Split Rock carpark directly behind the picnic tables. It’s all up from here, with a gradual switchback ascent. Finally, you reach the gated step to approach the summit the same way as described in Route 1.
With brilliant weather today, it intrigued me to see what lay beyond the cairn summit. Could we reach the split in Belougery Split Rock which separates the two peaks? Easy. Only 100 metres further and you have a captivating view of the lava dome’s split.
Descend the summit and return to Split Rock Car park in the opposite direction, via the Burbie Fire Trail.
Add on–Burbie Fire Trail and Burbie Canyon Track
3 – level with several creek crossings
Adds extra 3km to Belougery Split Rock circuit walk
1.5 to 2hrs
- Out and back from Burbie Canyon Carpark, or
- Circuit from Split Rock Carpark via Burbie Fire Trail. Look out for righthand fork to Burbie Canyon Track, which exits at Burbie Canyon Car park. To return to Split Rock Carpark, walk in an easterly direction along John Renshaw Parkway for about 1km until you see the signpost on your right to Split Rock car park.
Split Rock Carpark off John Renshaw Parkway or Burbie Canyon Carpark if just attempting the prettiest section of this walk, an easy to moderate 2km return trip taking around 40 mins.
The Burbie Fire trail section is a tad boring, but the Burbie Canyon Track is a delightful walk through the narrow sandstone gorge of Burbie Canyon. Sheltered and cool, this section is ablaze with colour during Spring. There are a few creek crossings to negotiate, but nothing careful foot placement and some supporting trekking poles can’t overcome.
Time to Visit
The park is exposed. On hot days, make sure you take enough water as no reliable water sources exist on the ranges.
For comfort, autumn and spring are the best times to visit, with spring bringing the wildflower season.
How to get there
6hrs drive North West from Sydney or two and a half hours North East of Dubbo. The nearest township, Coonabarabran (known as the astronomy capital of Australia) is located 30 mins from the park entrance.
Where to stay?
Hotels and Motels
Several options are available in the nearest town, Coonabarabran, 30kms away.
For campsite bookings visit the National Parks Website. A car pass to enter the park is also required.
- Balor Hut (sleeps 8 in 4 bunk beds–bring bedding) or reserve Balor campsite
- Danu Gap
- Ogma Gap
- Camp Blackman–Sites 1, 2 and 3
There’s an excellent Visitor Information Centre 2kms from Camp Blackman, open from 9am to 4pm daily. Informative displays, giftware and best of all, a selection of cold drinks and ice creams are available to enjoy after a hot day’s walk.
They’ll recommend the best walks for you based on your fitness levels and interests, weather, and current park conditions. The Centre supplies basic overview maps, like this one, courtesy of Oliver Descoeudres’ Hiking the World blog site.
Identification of key landmarks–spires, dykes, domes and peaks–and how volcanic activity formed them has come from an old NPWS brochure, also kindly sourced from Oliver’s Hiking the World blog site. Please visit his site for alternative approaches to these popular trails.
Detailed GPX files for these trails are available for download from reputable navigation apps, such as Alltrails.
The topographic map reference for Warrumbungle National Park, downloadable to the Avenza map app, is 8635-2 TOORAWEENAH (1:50K).