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The rugged Warrumbungles Range rises suddenly from the gently sloping plains 35 km west of Coonabarabran, a town in the northwest of NSW. The "Warrumbungles" (as they are usually known) are ancient mountains that were formed by volcanic activity around 13 million years ago and feature crags, pinnacles and cliffs.
The Australian Aborigines have inhabited this area for many thousands of years, as is shown by the discovery of stone flakes that indicate the presence of Aboriginal campsites from earlier centuries. The Aborigines gave the mountains their name (the word "Warrumbungles" meaning "crooked mountain" in one of the local Aboriginal languages).
In 1818 the English explorer John Oxley was the first European to see these mountains. He described the Warrumbungles as:
lofty hills arising from the midst of lesser elevations, their summits crowned with perpendicular rocks, in every variety of shape and form that the wildest imagination could paint
About 13 million years ago volcanic activity in this area led to lava flowing out of cracks in the earths crust and then solidifying and forming mountains. Over time some of the vents in the volcanoes became blocked with trachyte, causing lava to solidify inside the crater vents. Over thousands of years the mountains surrounding these craters eroded away, leaving just the solid lava plugs in the volcanic craters behind. The 90 metre high Breadknife rock formation in the Warrumbungles is the most spectacular example of this process.
The Warrumbungles are a wonderland of flora and fauna. In spring there are spectacular displays of wildflowers (including more than 25 species of wattle). Animals include eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, opossums, lizards, and over 120 species species of birds, such as loris, lorikeets, rosellas and wedge-tailed eagles. Most of these animals may be seen in prolific numbers and move around with little fear of humans.
The Warrumbungles National Park has been established to protect approximately 20,900 hectares of the Warrumbungles Range.
This National Park offers many opportunities for sightseeing, bushwalking and rock climbing. The Park features more than 35 km of hiking trails. Some of the trails are as short as 1 km in length; other are much longer.
Before you head out to the National Park, it is recommended that you drop into the National Park Visitors Centre in the local town of Coonabarabran.
Entry to this National Park currently costs $8 per day. Campsites, both powered and unpowered, are available in the Park.
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)