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Mt. Warning, NSW

Mt. warning from Murwillumbah

Sunrise on Mt. Warning ... the first place in Australia to feel the warmth of the rising sun

Mt. Warning summit lookout

Towering over the town of 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.

The cone-shaped peak of the heritage listed Mount Warning and its two 'shoulders' have become the trademark of the Tweed District as from every point in the valley and beyond, the mountain dominates the landscape. 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.
In 2008, the Wollumbin Mt. Warning Caldera was named on a list of eight 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".
The Tweed Valley which stretches out like a carpet at the foot of Mt. Warning is a rolling patchwork of green, with country villages, farms, sugar cane fields and natural wooded areas delighting the eye at every turn.
 Mount Warning 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.

Climbing the summit

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 shorter (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.

Aboriginal significance

The mountain remains a place of cultural and traditional significance to the Bundjalung people and is the site of particular ceremonies and initiation rites. The Bundjalung observe cultural and traditional restrictions forbidding the uninitiated from climbing the mountain, and, as such, generally ask that others also do not attempt to climb the mountain. The government National Parks and Wildlife Service advertise this request and do not encourage climbers, but it is not expressly forbidden by park regulations.

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. Cook recorded:
“…We now saw the breakers [reefs] again within us which we past at the distance of 1 League, they lay in the Lat de of 38°..8' [later changed to 28°..8'] & stretch off East two Leagues from a point under which is a small Island. There situation may always be found by the peaked mountain before mentioned which bears SWBW from them this and on this account I have named Mount Warning it lies 7 or 8 Leagues inland in the latitude of 28°..22" S° the land is high and hilly about it but it is conspicuous enough to be distinguished from everything else. The point off which these shoals lay I have named Point Danger to the northward of it the land which is low trends NWBN but we soon found that it did not keep that direction long before it turnd again to the northward.”

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Mt. Warning website
The Big Volcano
Mt. Warning National Park

Where Is It?: New South Wales: South Coast