Hiking / New South Wales

Bushwalking in Mt Kaputar National Park, NSW

Heading back to my home state over the October long weekend, I wanted to immerse myself in some of this epic landscape and test out my brand new big purchase item…an ultra-wide angle lens! I was looking forward to spending the weekend catching up with mum, taking some photos, and letting her guide me around one of her favourite spots, Mt Kaputar National Park.

Growing up in country NSW I was not really able to appreciate the natural beauty of my surroundings. I was young, in high school, with a focus and determination to leave, that I did somewhat become uninterested in the world around me.

What did surround me though was a very interesting part of the country. It is the spot where the mountains meet the long sweeping plains and the horizons change from rugged mountainous ranges to flat open nothingness as far as the eye can see.

Mt Kaputar is located approximately 30km outside of Narrabri in North West New South Wales. This is a rich agricultural town known for its cotton farming and proximity to some amazing natural bushland. It is pretty much right in between the 2 major cities of Brisbane and Sydney being around a 6+ hour drive from either. This means a visit here will require a serious road trip,  which is exactly what my brother and I did, snacking on Oreo’s along the way.

Mt Kaputar national park is home to many different walking tracks for all ability levels. My mum is a bit of a pro bushwalker so she has done many of the walks throughout the park. She was ready with a few keys spots to ensure I would get maximum views of the different landscapes without embarking on a full day hike as we were limited in time.

After a dive through the mountains, up a steep dirt road that dares you to look over the edge at the vast valley below, we arrived at the first of a few short walks we would be doing.

Governor Summit Walking Track

Our first short walk through Mt Kaputar National Park, began with a short stroll to see The Governor (Corrunbral Borawah), a rocky mountain on the edge of an insane cliff drop. Mum assured me this was a small easy walk so I grabbed my camera and left my bag with the water behind. Yep, we headed into inland Australian bush without water…

It was a spectacular clear blue day and it felt pretty good to be outside breathing in the crisp mountain air. As we walked along the track and boardwalk area taking in the views we began to see the path meander off and some metal stairs appeared, encouraging us to continue down. We followed and mum mentioned that she had never realised the track continued beyond that point. Intrigued to see where we would end up we continued along the path until we came face to face with a large wall of rock. Finding a questionable path that seemed as though we were rock climbing directly up a waterfall we emerged victorious at the summit of The Governor!

Breathless and thirsty we stood on what felt like the top of the world. With the views cast out ahead of me I realised that even with my fancy new wide angle lens I was still not going to be able to truly capture the scene. It is one of those views that need to be experienced and standing here would end up being one of the highlights of my trip. After the scramble back down the rocks we had a quick glance at the sign before jumping back in the car (which informed us we did go down a different track that in fact was a harder grade 4, 1 hour walk instead of the quick and easy track we started on). We decided next time we would check the sign first…and carry water!

Mount Kaputar Summit Lookout

At the highest point you will be standing at 1510 metres above sea level. This is not a bushwalk, but rather a boardwalk path that takes you up to the lookout platform allowing 360 degree views across the national park. We were again treated to some incredible scenes but I also saw something that made me angry.

A group of people, what looked like a family, had set up a picnic in the area below the walkway to the summit lookout. They were surrounded by huge adult Eastern Grey Kangaroos, one of which had a joey in her pouch, and they had been feeding them. There are signs all around the park specifically telling people not to feed the wild animals as they can get aggressive and the food can make them sick. Despite this warning, they had done it anyway. Once the Kangaroos stopped receiving food they got closer to the group looking for more. Obviously not interested in feeding them anymore the lady got off her chair and attempted to kick the Kangaroo in its face to shoo it away.

That is so not cool. The Kangaroos would have kept their distance if they had listened to the advice and not decided to feed them. If you only take one thing from my post today, please do not feed the animals you encounter within national parks. Remember this is their home, and we are just visitors.

Eckford Lookout

After this encounter it was time to get away from the people and find a remote spot to enjoy our own picnic lunch. I enjoy my food so much more when I have a spectacular view in front of me, so we packed it up in our backpacks and headed down another track in search of Eckford Lookout.

We walked through the bushland, past Horsearm Creek Lookout before descending the steep path that we pretended we wouldn’t have to walk back up. We emerged from the bush to an open lookout. It appeared as though were were on another planet, having to keep to the path as recent rain had made the area quite muddy between the huge rocks. Sitting down and looking far out across the plains, we could actually see the destructive impact the coal mining is having in the area as the mines dominated the view.

After resting here for a moment to enjoy our lunch and the piece and quiet, it was time to begin our descent down the mountain with a couple more stops before making our way home.

Euglah Rock Walking Track

We had seen the interesting and unique Euglah Rock from other lookouts but we thought it was worth while to stop and walk down this track as well. I am so glad we did, because along the track near the lookout point we were treated to a massive waterfall. As I mentioned, mum has been here many times before but she had never seen this waterfall flowing. I didn’t bring all my camera gear I would have needed to capture it so we just climbed down a bit closer and watched it for a while. We were just thankful for the recent rainfall and gracious to be lucky enough to witness one of nature’s wonders.

Doug Sky Lookout

On the drive down from the summit an absolute must stop is the Doug Sky Lookout. Boasting some amazing views all the way out to the Warrumbungles Mountain Range, it is impressive the distance you can see on a clear day. This was the perfect spot for us to sit an enjoy the view with a cup of tea – a necessity after a day of bushwalking my mum assures me! We were then ready and satisfied to enjoy the scenic drive home after a fantastic day in Mt Kaputar National Park.

For more information about Mt Kaputar National Park, please visit the NSW National Parks Website.

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