I wanted to get out of Sydney during the Labour Day long weekend, so being the spontaneous person that I am and wanted to hike/stargaze at same time, I decided to take a 6 hour drive up north west to Coonabarabran with another friend in the last minute. (Yeap, I’m the full time driver again). We started the drive up on Saturday afternoon after lunch and around 7pm, it started getting dark and we were close to Coonabarabran. You could actually see a billion stars and the milky way if you look up. No wonder they call it the stargazing capital of Australia.

The first night we stayed at the local hotel in Coonbarabran. It was a ghost town and there wasn’t much to do at night. After stocking up on food/drinks at woolies for our overnight hike the next morning, we resumed our trip. Warrumbungle NP is about a 20 – 25 minute drive from Coonabarabran. It is worth stopping at Slider Spring Observatory.

If you are driving into Warrumbungle NP, you would need to stop at the visitor centre, to register a permit for $8 for one day per vehicle. We parked our car at Pincham carpark to start the Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk, with an overnight camp at Balor Hut.

The trail is pretty straightforward, this is a loop, so you would ideally want to take the Spirey Creek way in (which is more paved and you will see a lot more people here) towards Balor Hut. From the carpark, with a heavy pack it is about 1.5 – 2 hours in, as there is incline. Balor Hut is called Balor Hut, because there is one Hut in the campsite, which no one really stays in. Most people just pitch their tents around the campsite. There is a small toilet and campfire spots. We got here around 3, pitched our tents, and then explored around the area. The best thing about Warrumbungle NP is, it is a dark sky park, so if you are a fan of astrophotography and stargazing, this is a must visit park. What surprised me most, was that, you can actually get good reception around the park, hence I was able to watch the NRL Grand final under the stars!

The next day, we packed up the tent and started our hike back to the car park, going through the grand high top summit. This is where you can get the best view of the whole park. It is majestic. Check it out!

Breadknife view
Breadknife view
View from the top!
View from the top!

The hike to the top is a bit tricky and you got to watch for the yellow bumps to find your way, also don’t fall! After the climb up, it is pretty much all down hill from there. You won’t see many people after Balor Hut as it is backcountry and the trail isn’t paved. You’ll walk past another campground with an option to walk to Bluff mountain. Otherwise, keep following the trail, and you’ll reach a sign called point wilderness. Continuing on, you will reach the Ogma campsite, where there is 2 routes. Taking the west spirey creek route will take you back towards Picham carpark in around 1 – 1.5 hours, which is where we wanted to go. We got back to our car at around 12:30, and from then it was a long 6 hour drive back to Sydney with a stop at Coonabarabran for some fish and chips.

The drive back can be a bit depressing as you will encounter a lot of dead wildlife on the side of the road 🙁

I would come back to do other parts of the National Park another time!

9.0
Score

Pros

  • Dark sky park, perfect for stargazing
  • Free campsites
  • Great views throughout walk
  • Mobile reception available

Cons

  • Mobile reception available :P
  • 6 hours from Sydney
Difficulty
7
Distance
7
Views
10

Final Verdict

I would recommend this NP for anyone that especially love stargazing. It is worth the drive up if you have never been. The breadknife and grand high top walk is one of the best walks in Australia and it is fairly easy, about a grade 4 walk. It is about 15-16km and can be done around 4 hours if doing over a day without needing to carry gear like tents etc. However, it is known for being Australia's only dark sky park, so camping overnight in the park is a must.