Episode 3 – Warrumbungle National Park | Van Life Australia Vlog

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During our Van Life Australia road trip in New South Wales we headed out to Warrumbungle National Park to do one of the country’s best hikes, the Grand High Top Walks and Breadknife, and park up at a beautiful campground for a few nights.

The Warrumbungles is a dramatic national park, filled with huge rock formations, gorgeous forests and lots of native wildlife.

For a campervan trip, it’s fantastic, with lots of amazing places to park up for a reasonable fee.

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Transcript

Hi we’re Alesha and Jarryd and welcome to another episode. Join us as we travel around Australia in our sprinter van Marlee.

Subscribe and let’s see what this beautiful country has to offer.

Welcome to another week of us van lifing around Australia. After about an eight-hour drive from Sydney we finally made it to Warrumbungle National Park.

Our first stop was the Whitegum Lookout to check out the area where we’ll be hiking for the next couple of days.

Not such an early start today because we kept getting up every couple of hours to see if the Milky Way was out, but it was super cloudy all night and then when we got up for sunrise it was kind of raining.

It’s nine o’clock now we’re going to do the Split Rock Circuit. It’s one of the more popular hikes you can do in the Warrumbungles National Park.

We’re walking around this 4.6km return, which is nothing, 2 to 3 hours and it’s steep and with all this rain I think it’s going to be a little bit slippery out there.

Let’s get on the trail.

We’ve gone by the map of the national park billboard back there, it’s best to walk in an anti-clockwise direction for this hike so what you do is you walk up the Burby Trail a little bit maybe like five minutes and then you get to the fork for the Split Rock Circuit.

Apparently it’s best this way so we’re gonna do it this way and that’s where we’re going way up there.

Alesha hiking in the Warrumbungles
Alesha hiking in the Warrumbungles.

We’ve been hiking for about a kilometre and a half and it’s starting to rain so we’ve thrown the rain covers on our bags and put our jackets on.

And it’s still beautiful out here even with the low clouds and that little bit of moisture that’s around. I mean we’re in this like cool amphitheater out here and it is super dope hiking up through here and the trail’s starting to get a little bit rocky.

We’re getting closer to the top I think, starting to get a bit steeper a bit rockier a bit slipperier but it’s worth it because these views are pretty next level.

Looks like we just follow this down here along the edge of this ridge. I’m trying not to fall down there so this is the path to the summit.

Going up I don’t think it’d be a problem but coming back down like already just down here you can feel these rocks are hell slippery and there’s still a bit of rain in the area so not an adventure for today unfortunately.

It’s not because I really really want to go up there but safety first kids don’t do something that may put your life in danger just for a selfie or a Youtube vlog or an Instagram post.

Because we couldn’t get up to the summit we are heading back down now towards the carpark and there’s only 1.9kms to get back there so pretty mellow walk.

We just finished the Split Rock Walk. It took us a couple of hours, we couldn’t get to the summit unfortunately but it didn’t matter because the whole hike was absolutely stunning.

It’s definitely worth doing if you’re here in the Warrumbungles. I think if you charge through it, it’d be 2 hours maximum to the summit.

We took our time, took a few photos and it’s well worth doing that.

Now we’re off to Tara’s Cave which is an Aboriginal site here in the national park. I think that’s gonna be a bit of an easier walk and yeah that’ll be it for the day I think.

And hopefully fingers crossed we get some clear skies tonight because I scoped out a few spots for some astrophotography up on the mountain there and if it clears up I think it’s going to be mint.

We grabbed Marlee and drove a little bit up the road to a picnic area where the next walk is we’re going to do.

The start is off to Tara’s Cave it’s only like 1.8km one way so nice and easy, and it’s an Aboriginal historical cave.

A little bit different to the last part, this one’s been paved so it’s very smooth and very easy.

It’s only classed as moderate this hike so we weren’t expecting anything too difficult anyway but definitely didn’t expect a paved path through here.

This here behind me is Tara’s Cave. It’s been protected by this cage so that no one can walk on in there and accidentally cause any damage to the historical site.

The reason this place is so important is that they’ve found ancient tools and evidence of tools being created here by the Aboriginal people.

They’ve got some grooves here where they used to sharpen their axes they also found emu shells and kangaroo bones and they used to get the kangaroo bone marrow and used to eat that because it’s full of nutrients.

It’s really cool you can come up here and check out some of our Aboriginal Indigenous culture and heritage in the Warrumbungle National Park.

It’s not just about beautiful views and cool hikes. You’ve got all this Aboriginal history as well so make sure you come up here to Tara Cave and check it out.

Views Warrumbungle National Park
Big views over the Warrumbungle National Park.

Ah the sun just came out which is a good sign. Hopefully that means there is no more rain.

Yeah Marlee will be getting some sun hitting the solar panels.

We just got back to Camp Wambelong and there’s only two other campers here in the whole place.

I know it’s been a crazy situation the last couple of months but I’m really surprised that there’s no one out here. I mean it’s just super quiet. We didn’t see a single person on the trail either which is crazy.

Here’s Marlee in all the glory and Alesha in all her glory.

Alesha’s decided to make some hot chocolate with some cookies because that’s how you finish off a day of hiking with this view. Yeah oh snap crackle pop.

Hmm it’s a little bit wet and grey.

We stuck it out a little bit this morning, the patience paid off because the skies are clearing, got some blue sky up there.

We’re very excited now we’re off to do the Grand High Tops and Bread Knife Walk. It’s one of the top 10 hikes in all of Australia.

It’s about 14.5 kilometres right in the heart of the Warrumbungle National Park and I’m pretty sure the views now that the clouds are lifted are going to be pretty damn spectacular.

Got all our food, all our camera gear and heaps of water so we’re good to hit the trail.

Alesha’s already up ahead of me so I’ve got to catch up.

I think we’re going to do this hike right around here around the Grand High Tops Walk to the Bread Knife and then back all up here.

There’s only about 5 cars in the car park so I think it’s been pretty quiet on the trail today, which is another benefit of travelling in the winter.

Sure, you have to deal with the cold weather and you know, rain and stuff like that, but it means you get to be out here in nature all on your own which is pretty magical.

Got to the fork in the trail where the circuit meets back up on itself. You’ve got two options, you can either hike via the Bread Knife or you can hike by West Spirey Creek.

We’re going to go by the Bread Knife. It’s a little bit shorter to get up to Grand High Tops Walk at 4.6km compared to 7.1km, and Alesha feels like the shorter distance will be more difficult so we’ll get that one out of the way nice and early, and then we meet back up here anyway so we get to do both.

But I don’t know I’m just guessing.

So everywhere on this trail there are kangaroos. I mean we’ve probably been hiking 2km, seen maybe 15 kangaroos.

Off he goes. Ah two of them.

I’m really surprised how amazing the path is too. Like I didn’t expect it to be paved. I didn’t expect stairs.

We did the Split Rock yesterday and that was raw, so that was unpaved. Kind of there was a path but you’re making your own way following little painted arrows so this is totally different yesterday’s hike.

This cliff face is like an impenetrable wall. It just kind of bends right around the edge here.

The hiking trail follows the bottom of it and I mean it’s like someone built it. It’s crazy how beautiful and just like perfectly aligned it is too.

So when you get to the top you get this cool indicator telling you what all the mountains are in the distance. But uh I don’t think we can see any today.

Definitely a bit chilly my nose is running, oh no.

We just got down the other side of the mountain and it’s a little bit warmer, but that wind has got a crazy bite about it so we’re gonna try and bomb it down to somewhere that’s nice and sheltered and protected have a little bit of lunch and then it’s all downhill from there.

If you feel like spending the night up here in the National Park you can actually book a campsite. There’s a bunch of them along this hike.

It can be a really good opportunity if you’re interested in getting up and shooting sunrise or some Milky Way shots up here, or if you just really like being out at a remote campsite as opposed to one of the main ones down next to the visitor centre and along the main road.

So you just jump on the National Parks website and you book that. Not too sure how much it costs but probably either free or pretty cheap so well worth looking into.

We’re back down off the mountain now and we’re just walking through the last kind of 3km to get back to the car park and there’s a lot more ground vegetation down here, so you can see how the ecosystem has really changed.

It’s very different up on the rocks, very green very lush especially after all this rain we’ve had recently too which will be good for the, you know, upcoming bushfire season.

Hopefully everything will stay nice and wet and we won’t end up with any of the horrors that we got this year.

And we’re back where we started.

Grand High Top and Bread Knife Walk
Views from the top of the Grand High Top and Bread Knife Walk.

Yeah all right let’s go Marlee, that way.

So we were parked down there right when the entrance came in and we kind of just pulled in grabbed the first spot because we’re like oh well we’re only going to be here for one night and then we’re going to bail first thing in the morning, we don’t need a good spot.

We’re sitting there drinking our hot chocolate and Alesha’s like, what the hell are we doing there’s a perfect spot up here!

So we packed the car up we drove 100 meters and now we have this chill tranquil spot with Split Rock in the distance.

I think that’s the blue rock whatever it is, it’s a bloody beautiful mountain.

That’s it for our time in the Warrumbungles National Park. This place was absolutely incredible. It definitely surpassed any expectations we had.

Can’t believe there’s a place like this here in New South Wales.

Even though we didn’t get any astrophotography done I’m sure if you were here with the clear skies it’d be pretty magical.

If you’re looking for an epic adventure destination in New South Wales, somewhere to go hiking and check out some of the most incredible mountains in the state you’ve got to come here.

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Thanks very much for watching we’ll see you on the next adventure.

About the Author - Alesha and Jarryd - Van Life Theory

Hi! We're Alesha and Jarryd, the founders of Van Life Theory! We're currently travelling around Australia in our 2008 Mercedes Sprinter campervan and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow along on our Instagram and YouTube!

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