Mt Warning – What you should know before you go.

Go where you most feel alive!

As an intrepid explorer, there’s one place I feel most connected and completely at home and that’s being away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and surrounded by nature. There’s no better place in New South Wales to experience it than Mt Warning. In fact, National Geographic rates it as one of the top 10 mountains to climb in Australia. Every year hundreds of people hikers lace up their boots with supplies and ascend to the summit.

Couple enjoying a walk through the 25 acres of farm nestled at the base of Wollumbin-Mt Warning. Image: Destination NSW

It’s advisable to get an early start to complete the day-long, 9-kilometre tramp to the top, but with views spanning from the golden sands of Byron Bay to the vast panoramic views of the Hinterland, it’s well worth the trembling knees and racing heartbeat. If you want to beat the heat of the day, you’ll need to start out before sunrise. It means setting your alarm bright and early, for my partner David and I, that means we were up at 4.30 am as the base is a leisurely 1-hour and 15-minute drive from the heart of Surfers Paradise.

Scenic country views of Mount Warning in the Tweed Range. Image: Destination NSW

The walk to the summit is exceptionally difficult and not designed for beginners. This being said if you have your heart set on getting to the very peak of Mt Warning, make sure you check the weather forecast. If it’s due to rain or there are thunderstorms on the horizon, I highly suggest you make alternative arrangements and come back another day. An American tourist passed away after being struck by lightning camping on the mountain.

The summit track is a Grade 5, and a good 5-6 hour tramp, so it’s advisable to leave the carpark no later than midday during winter. The trail to the summit has over 1000 steps, the equivalent to a 30-storey building and I can tell you, my heart was pounding through my chest. I exercise regularly so perhaps it was simply my body was in shock of working out at that time of the morning.

“That view!”

Once you’ve done the steps and you get into the swing of things, your endorphins kick in and you may be out of breath but you feel so alive. There’s nothing that quite compares to admiring the tree canopies of the rainforest and the beautiful birds which flit in and around its branches.

Towards the final part of the hike is where the hard work starts. It’s quite steep and there’s a lot of using those quad muscles and hands to propel you forward. The reward is the satisfaction of reaching the lookout and being able to proudly say you gave it your all and survived.

David and I drank in the views and spent half an hour admiring the scenery (and recovering).

The buzz is something I’ll never forget. Suddenly, that feeling of euphoria was replaced with dread when I remembered that old adage, what comes up, must come down.

That’s when my creative, marketing brain kicked into overdrive – what if there was a zipline or should I feign an injury so I can be choppered back to the car park? Could I post on Instagram with a hashtag #pleaserescueme #sendhelp #sos?
It was a steady, but slow descent and I was delighted when we reached the base carpark. All up it took us four hours and the great thing was, we still had a whole day ahead of us. Time for morning tea and then a nap. 

Scenic country views of Mount Warning in the Tweed Range. Image: Destination NSW

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About the author: Elisha Graeff
I love to travel, adventure and explore. It’s in my DNA. I’ve just returned from an adventure in New Zealand and I have some amazing trips coming up that I can’t wait to share with you. If you don’t travel, you don’t live!

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