Best Short Warrumbungle NP Walks.
Wheelchair-friendly, landscaped steps or challenging rock scrambles? There’s a walk to suit everyone. Check out the impressive views from Whitegum Lookout, Fan’s Horizon and Gould’s Circuit.
1 – easy
Out and back on sealed path suitable for sturdy wheelchairs and prams
The track head starts from Whitegum Picnic Area. This is the first walk you encounter entering the Park. It is a 24min 26.4km drive from Coonabarabran. After observing the turnoff to Siding Spring Observatory on your right at the 23km mark continue a further 3.4kms before turning left once you see the signs to Whitegum Lookout. Alternatively, it’s a 10km 15min drive from Camp Blackman. I suggest you do this walk at either the beginning or end of your stay.
I’m glad I didn’t miss this quick walk. Each side of the path displayed the best selection of wildflowers endemic to this area that I had observed the entire week, capped off with some divine white gums at the viewing platform. It was wonderful to stop here at the end of our journey to see the peaks of Bluff Mountain, Belougery Split Rock and Mt Exmouth that we had summitted earlier.
3 – Moderate to Steep
1 to 1.5hrs
Out and back
Trailhead begins from Pincham Carpark
This is a good walk to do on your approach to the park as it won’t take too long. Alternatively, you could combine it with another short walk, such as Gould’s Circuit, before tackling the more challenging lengthier distance walks such as Grand High Tops Circuit or Mt Exmouth, fresh and early the next day.
A short, but steep evenly stepped path with 1,000 steps. I didn’t feel the need to count them. The gradient was gradual and manageable save for the pond hopping which only made it more fun. The path is well constructed making it very accessible to most able-bodied walkers.
If you are fit, you’ll find this walk relatively easy, despite the steep ascent. Pay attention to the danger cliff warning sign though, particularly with kids. There is a sheer dropoff from the cliff ‘s edge.
Fan’s Horizon is named after Fanny Gould (nee Breckenridge), the wife of Gordon Alick Gould, a long-time Secretary of the Park Trust and Coonabarabran Shire Clerk during the late 50s and early 60s. A brief, heavy shower completely obscures her favourite view until the rain eases to reveal an expansive mountain range dotted with many famous landmarks.
We see Belougery Spire, the Breadknife and Crater Bluff to our south and eastwards Mathgan Cone. There’s no disputing it’s a lovely viewpoint, but you can do better. See it as a teasing tempter for more spectacular vantage points within the park.
The path continues for another couple of hundred metres to Bluff View lookout for disappointing and restrictive views of Bluff Mountain and part of Mount Exmouth to the right. Do it because you can or just savour Fan’s Horizon Lookout and return back the way you came to Pincham Carpark.
3 – Moderate to Steep
2.5 – 3hrs
Circuit off Pincham Trail
Starts at Pincham Carpark on Grand High Tops Pincham Trail route
You get a lot of bang for your buck here. At only 729mtrs elevation I found the upper views of the expansive Warrumbungle ranges more captivating here, compared to the park’s highest point of 1206mtrs at Mt Exmouth. The first viewpoint, Febar Tor, is most pleasing but Macha Tor’s view was more expansive. The option of a short, steep rock scramble all the more fun.
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.
Campsites – on track
- Balor Hut (sleeps 8 in 4 bunk beds – bring bedding) or reserve campsite
- Danu Gap
- Ogma Gap
Campsites – limited amenities
Campsites – full amenities
- 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. Fan’s Horizon, Whitegum Lookout, Gould’s Circuit.
The topographic map reference for Warrumbungle National Park, downloadable to the Avenza map app, is 8635-2 TOORAWEENAH (1:50K).