This walk was one of our favourites in the Warrumbungles, and we recommend it as the best medium distance walk. It has so much variety and challenge with epic views of the surrounding ranges. Most of the Sydney Sole Sisters chose the anti-clockwise route.
Grade: 4–steep and rough in sections
Distance: 4.6km return
Time: 2 ½ to 3hrs
Start Location: Split Rock Carpark off John Renshaw Parkway
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 ‘Danger Warning’ sign, which alerts you to the exposed conditions ahead. 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.
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).
For an easier approach, do it anticlockwise. Start from Burbie Fire Trail at the southern end of the carpark. Continue on this path for about 600m before you see the Split Rock Circuit signpost on your left. Plenty of easy creek crossings on Burbie Fire Trail.
Exit the Burbie Fire Trail left to join Split Rock Circuit Route/ Follow a dry creek bed between the sandstone rocks of Blackman’s Mountain to your right and the volcanic rock of Belougery Split Rock on your left. There’s a lovely grove of acacia wattle here in spring.
When the track reaches the creek’s watershed, turn left at the saddle and climb 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. There are two picnic tables here. 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 steps to approach the summit the same way as described in Route 1.
Add on – Burbie Canyon Trail
Grade: 3–level with several creek crossings
Distance: Adds extra 3km to Belougery Split Rock circuit walk, or 2km as an out and back from Burbie Canyon Carpark
Time: 40 minutes to 1 hour
Start Location: Split Rock Carpark off John Renshaw Parkway as an add on to the circuit above; or Burbie Canyon Carpark if just walking just the canyon section of this walk as an out and back
Circuit from Split Rock Carpark via Burbie Fire Trail. Look out for righthand fork to Burbie Canyon Trail, which exits at Burbie Canyon Car park. To return to Split Rock Carpark, walk in an easterly direction along John Renshaw Drive for about 1km until you see the signpost on your right to Split Rock car park.
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.
Best 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 campsites 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
- Camp Blackman–Sites 1, 2 and 3
There’s an excellent Visitor Information Centre with very helpful staff just 2 kms from Camp Blackman, opened from 9am to 4pm daily. Informative displays, giftware and best of all, a selection of cold drinks and ice creams 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.
Identification of key landmarks–spires, dykes, domes and peaks–and how volcanic activity formed them has come from an old NPWS brochure, kindly sourced from Oliver’s Hiking the World blog. 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).