National Heritage List inscription date 15 December 2006
Shaped by an ancient volcano that has eroded over millions of years, the distinctively rugged landscape and rich biodiversity of the Warrumbungle National Park provides important habitat for a range of native Australian flora and fauna.
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Located near Coonabarabran in central NSW it is often described as a place where east meets west, where the moist, vibrantly green landscape gradually merges into the dry plains of western NSW.
This combination of the arid western plains, moist eastern slopes and elevation above the surrounding plains means the Warrumbungles provide a haven for a high number of native species.
Spectacular flora and fauna and volcanic forms
Wattles and small inland trees dominate the drier western slopes while the lush, cooler conditions of the sheltered southern and eastern areas are perfect for forests of taller trees with other moisture loving vegetation, such as ferns and orchids, found in the gullies.
Eastern grey kangaroo, emus, wallabies and koalas are seen regularly. Other animals spotted frequently in the area are the pobblebonk burrowing frog, wedge-tailed eagle, sulphur crested cockatoo and red-rumped parrot. It is also home to the rare and endangered brush tailed rock wallaby, superb parrot and regent honeyeater.
The shield volcano that made the Warrumbungles was active about 13 to 17 million years ago and is one of the larger volcanoes that form a north-south line stretching from northern Queensland to southern Victoria. Erosion of over 90 per cent of the volcanic cone has created some unique and interesting landforms in the area.
Some of the best-known landmarks are Belougery Spire, Belougery Split Rock, Crater Bluff, Bluff Mountain, Mount Exmouth and the Breadknife.
The Breadknife, a 90-metre high blade that stretches for half a kilometre, was formed when volcanic processes and subsequent erosion sculpted a spectacular 'knife' of rock. Bluff Mountain is the largest lava dome of the Warrumbungle volcano and has a near-vertical 250-metre high face.
The name 'Warrumbungle' comes from the Kamilaroi language, and is believed to mean 'crooked mountains'.
Capturing the beauty of the landscape
The beauty and sculptural forms of the Warrumbungle landscape were noted by early European explorers. In 1818, Surveyor-General Oxley said on encountering the landscape for the first time: 'To the west the land was level, but to the east a most stupendous range of mountains, lifting their blue heads above the horizon, bounded the view in that direction, and were distant at least seventy miles, the country appearing a perfect plain between us and them.'
The landscape has continued to fascinate artists and photographers including renowned Australian photographers including Frank Hurley and Max Dupain.
National Heritage listing of this fascinating and rugged mountain range ensures the thousands of visitors who go there each year continue to enjoy this remarkable part of Australia.