Summary: Fans Horizon is a short (3.6km return) bushwalk that climbs up to a lookout over the Grand High Tops area. For best photos go late in the day.

This is my third and last bushwalk in the Warrumbungle National Park, after the short but steep Belougery Split Rock loop and the much longer but spectacular Grand High Tops Circuit. It’s another early start for the walk up to Fans Horizon, so can pack up our campsite and hit the road before it gets too hot. The Fans Horizon trail starts at the same place as the Grand High Tops walk, a very short drive from the Camp Blackman camp sites.

The track climbs relentlessly, with many timber stairs and a few stone steps as it follows the southern side of a steep valley. Substantially re-built after the 2013 bushfire, the trail is built to a very high standard, and is easy walking,.

Looking back down the track is Square Top Mountain, near the north-eastern edge of the park.

I make pretty good progress up the track, and after exactly half an hour of walking I each a wide, rocky balcony next to the track. Deciding that this is a good spot for a quick break, I veer off the track to take a few photos of the expansive view.

AWAT9625 LR A short but steep hike to Fans Horizon in the Warrumbungles

I spot a few other people admiring the view, and quickly realise that I’ve actually reached Fans Horizon. The lookout is at the top of the cliffs on the eastern side of Balgatan Mountain, at a height of 700m. A small plaque marks the spot, which is named after Fanny Gould. Her husband (Alick) was the Coonabarabran Chire Clerk and Secretary of the Park Trust, and this was her favourite lookout.

Fans Horizon lookout

The vantage point offers “magnificent views of the iconic Breadknife, Belougery Spire and Crater Bluff” – although after the last couple of bushwalks, it’s a little underwhelming. It’s not a bad view… but I’ve been spoilt after the more spectacular views from Belougery Split Rock and Bluff Mountain. The lighting would also be much better at sunset, so consider doing Fans Horizon at the end of the day for the best photos.

AWAT9632 LR A short but steep hike to Fans Horizon in the Warrumbungles

The path continues for another couple of hundred metres to Bluff View, another lookout at the end of the trail. From here there is a view of Bluff Mountain straight ahead (and you can also see the part of Mount Exmouth).

AWAT9635 LR A short but steep hike to Fans Horizon in the Warrumbungles

It’s then back the same way – it has has taken just over an hour for the return walk. If you’re after a short walk with nice views, Fans Horizon is a great choice. But if you’re doing some of the longer Warrumbungle bushwalks, you may want to give this one a miss.

Getting to the Warrumbungles and the Fans Horizon walk

The town closest to the Warrumbungles is Coonabarabran (known as the astronomy capital of Australia), which is about a five and a half hour drive from Sydney, and two hours’ drive northeast of Dubbo. The Fans Horizon trail starts from a large carpark at the end of Pincham Road, which is off John Renshaw Parkway (opposite the road to the Visitor Information Centre). All the roads are sealed.

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.

  • Warrumbungle National Park – Overview and Map [download PDF]
  • Warrumbungle National Park – Guide to Walks [download PDF]. Old NWS brochure.

More information on Fan Horizon walk

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