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Mount Warning in the Tweed Coast Hinterland
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Towering over Murwillumbah and the Tweed Valley in far north-eastern New South Wales, is Mount Warning, the central core of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest extinct shield volcano.
named "Wollumbin", meaning "cloud catcher", by the Bundjalung people who inhabited the region before European settlement, it is the first place on Australia’s mainland to be touched by the morning sun. A climb to the summit to watch the dawn of a new day is a must for the adventurous.
On June 15th 2008, the Wollumbin Mt Warning Caldera was named on a list of 8 iconic sites across Australia under the National Landscapes Program, a tourism initiative for people interested in immersing themselves in the "real" culture and surroundings of the country. Under the program the area is to be known as "Australia's Green Cauldron".
Mount Warning, a World Heritage Listed National Park (2210ha), is reached by leaving the Pacific Highway at Murwillumbah and following the Kyogle Road west for 12 kilometres. Turn onto Mount Warning Road and proceed a further six kilometres to the Breakfast Creek picnic area at the Park entrance.
In the surrounding Nightcap, Border Ranges, Springbrook and Lamington National Parks, species of the sub-tropical and temperate zones overlap in a unique environment to provide spectacular rainforest scenery with natural streams and brooks, abundant bird and wildlife.
The valley itself is a rolling patchwork of green, with farms, sugar cane fields and natural wooded areas delighting the eye at every turn. Charming country villages nestle against the hills or bask in the riverside sun.
The towering, cone-shaped peak of Mount Warning and its two 'shoulders' have become the trademark of the Tweed as from every point in the valley and beyond, the mountain dominates the landscape.
From Breakfast Creek, at Mount Warning National Park entrance, the main walking track ascends through superb rainforest with strategic rest spots giving a variety of scenic views of the surrounding valley.
The reward at the summit (1157m) is a 360° panorama of the enormous eroded bowl of the caldera landform and rim.
Rainforest topping the sheer cliffs of its 1,000m high rim is preserved in National Parks. Lamington National Park in Queensland is to the north, while to the west and south respectively are the Border Ranges and the Nightcap National Park - both NSW World Heritage areas.
Four Hour Walk
Allow at least two hours to climb and two hours to return for the 8.8km walk; good non-slip footwear is essential. There are resting points along the way.
The short (15min) Lyrebird Walk leads to an elevated platform in the palms where you can sit and experience the serenity and mystique of the rainforest.
Walkers are advised to keep to the formed tracks, as it is very easy to become lost in the rainforest. Short cutting the tracks can cause severe erosion in this precipitous park.
School groups planning to visit this park are requested to first telephone the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
History and Preservation
20 million years ago Mount Warning was the central vent of a large shield volcano with an area of over 4,000 square kilometres. It reached from Coraki in the south to Beenleigh in the north; westward to Kyogle and to the east its remnants occur as reefs in the Pacific Ocean. It originally reached nearly twice its present height.
Erosion over the millennia produced a unique and curious landform - the erosion caldera, which we today call the Tweed Valley. Mount Warning was the ancient volcano’s magma chamber. Being composed of harder rocks which cooled underground, this massif resisted the forces which carved the surrounding erosion caldera down to bedrock. It stands as the dominant feature in the district’s landscape, and catches the first rays of the rising sun on the continent.
Mount Warning had deep significance for the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area. They called it ‘Wollumbin’, which means ‘cloud-catcher’ or ‘weather-maker’. The mountain first made its appearance in recorded history when Captain Cook named it to warn future mariners of the offshore reefs he encountered on 16th May 1770.
Reserved for public recreation in 1928, Mount Warning was dedicated as a National Park in 1966.
Thousands of visitors enjoy the views from the summit each year. The impact of such visitation on the small summit area necessitates the ban on camping.
There are no toilets or garbage bins on the mountain after Breakfast Creek, factors which should be taken in consideration BEFORE you start walking.
Plants and Animals
Lush palms and forest giants of the subtropical rainforest occur on the lower slopes. Among the multitude of tree species are the Giant Stinging Trees, Figs, Booyongs, Carabeens and Flame Trees. Higher on the slopes the forest changes to temperate rainforest. Here the dominants are Coachwood, Corkwood, Brush Box, Mountain Walnut and Mountain Wattle. The summit itself is a small area of heath shrubland.
Rainforest animals are diverse and mostly nocturnal, but the Pademelon Wallaby is often seen by day.
Birds likely to be seen or heard include the Paradise Riflebird, Regent and Satin Bower Birds, the Cat Bird, the Scrub Turkey and various fruit eating Pigeons. Rare and endangered birds include the Wompoo Pigeon, Albert’s Lyrebird, Rufous Scrub Bird and Marbled Frogmouth.
Whether or not you choose to climb Mt Warning, you can relax by a solar-heated pool in summer or curl up by a real wood fire in winter, luxuriate in a spa bath or enjoy a candle-lit dinner under the stars .. whatever your choice of getaway there's sure to be a venue to suit you in the Tweed.
Check out our accommodation section by clicking HERE.
The Tweed Valley
is an area of Vast Natural Beauty
boasting FIVE World Heritage Listed National Parks, Pristine Beaches, Untouched Rainforest with ancient Beech and a Myriad of Wild-life
Murwillumbah Championship Golf Club
Markets, Restaurants, Shopping, Arts & Crafts, Fishing, Day Spa Treatments, Horse-riding and much, much more.
The First Weekend in September the Mt Warning Caldera Tweed Region Hosts the
Tyalgum Festival of Classical Music
Margaret Olley Centre at the Tweed River Regional Art Gallery NOW OPEN to the Public
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© Tracy Parker
Chauviers Road via Murwillumbah NSW 2484
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