The first of a few bushwalks in the Warrumbungle National Park, the Belougery Split Rock loop turned out to be my favourite. Being a summer camping trip, I set out with a few keen kids in the late afternoon when it’s a bit cooler, with the plan of getting to the top of Belougery Split Rock around sunset. The start is not too far from our camping site at Blackman 2, so we’re soon on the well-marked track. (We’re doing the loop in a clockwise direction, so our descent in the dark will be a tiny bit longer, but less steep.)
The track ascends fairly gently as first, and then increasingly steeply as it climbs up the base of Belougery Split Rock. There’s a bit of easy scrambling, but nothing too challenging.
As the track gains altitude, there’s some nice views over the Warrumbungle National Park.
So far the track has been mostly in the shade, but after about a kilometre it opens up, before re-entering eucalpyt forest and passing a large rock outcrop. With a devastating bushfire burning almost all of the park in 2013 (the largest bushfire in the region since 1967), the vegetation is mosty regrowth, as the forest slowly regenerates.
Eventually Belougery Split Rock is directly in front of us. An ancient lava dome, it’s described as “one of Warrumbungle National Park’s most distinctive peaks”.
The track continues to ascend, passing the base of another steep cliff and offering more sweeping views.
Just after the track descends briefly is one of the best views so far, with many of the iconic peaks of the Warrumbungles visible to the south. (Even if you’re not up for the final scramble to the top of the Belougery Split Rock, it’s worth doing the loop for the views.)
The track crosses an old landslide, before reaching the start of the scramble up to the top of Split Rock.
The track – if you can call it that – to the top starts with a steel staircase…
….from the top of the stairs, the scrambling begins. It’s fairly steep, with the route marked by yellow reflectors. (On the way up we made the mistake of going directly up the rocky slope; the “correct” route traverses the steep rocks and is a bit easier.)
There are some great views as we climb up; directly to the south is The Breadknife and Belougery Spire.
From the top of Belougery Split Rock are spectacular views in every direction. Beyond the peak to the north is Bullaway Mountain and Junction Mountain.
To the west, the sun is setting behind Mount Exmouth, the highest point in Warrumbungle National Park.
To the south is Bluff Mountain and the smaller Crater Bluff, Breadknife and Belougery Spire.
I’m eager to get everyone down to the main track before it gets too dark, so after a short break at the top, we head down again.
It’s not quite as hard getting doen as I feared – mainly because this time we manage to follow the markers, avoid the extremely steep section we took going up!
We make it back to the stairs and the main Belougery Split Rock track before it gets dark, to complete the second half of the loop.
As with first half of the loop, the second half of the Belougery Split Rock track is partly across open rock, and partly through forest. It’s a much more consistent gradient than the way up, and much easier walking.
The track follows Belougery Creek down the valley. While there isn’t much water in the creek, it does sustain some wildlife – such as this small frog we spot along the trail.
As we reach the bottom of the valley (by which time it’s very dark), the Belougery Split Rock Track merges with the Burbie Canyon Track for the last 600m back to the car. It’s been a great bushwalk – not too exhausting but with some challenging scrambling and spectacular views from the top. Definitely a walk I’d recommend – especially at sunrise or sunset.
Getting to Belougery Split Rock
All the Warrumbungle National Park bushwalks are well signposted – this trail starts just off John Renshaw Parkway, about 2.5km from the turn-off to the Visitor Information Centre. You can do the loop in either direction – the ascent/descent via the Burbie Canyon Track (firetrail) is slightly easier. Warrumbungle National Park is about a six hour drive north west of Sydney.
More information on the Belougery Split Rock track
- National Parks (NPWS) – Belougery Split Rock walking track
- Bushwalking NSW – Belougery Split Rock
- Warrumbungle National Park brochure and sketch map [download PDF]
More information on Warrumbungle National Park
Warrumbungle National Park is a heritage listed national park (since December 2006), Australia’s only Dark Sky Park (certified in 2016) and is within the Pilliga Important Bird Area. The park was created over millions of years from an extinct shield volcano, which has left a variety of impressive rock formations. Archaeological evidence indicates that indigenous people occupied the Warrumbungles for at least 5000 years, with the name ‘Warrumbungle’ coming from the Kamilaroi languageand meaning ‘crooked mountains’.
The area was first proclaimed as a reserve in 1953, and in 1967 management of the park was signed over to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.