The largest extinct shield volcano in the Southern Hemisphere
When you’ve finally had enough of the sun, surf and sand of Byron Bay’s beaches, make the time to head inland for a dose of crisp, clean mountain air and explore the lush wilderness of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Located on the Great Dividing Range and around 63 kilometres northwest of Byron Bay, climbing the 1,157metre-high Mount Warning is a popular pastime for an amazing panoramic view of the area.
Also known as Wollombin and a significant site to the Bundjalung people, Mount Warning is the central remnant of an ancient volcano that erupted millions of years ago, and was so named by Captain Cook to warn sailors of the offshore reefs. The extinct shield volcano is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and is the first place on Australia’s mainland to be touched by the sun. The mountain is also part of the 2,210 hectare World Heritage-listed Mount Warning National Park protecting the ancient rainforest and the unique and rare flora and fauna that reside in it, including over 100 species of birdlife.
The most popular way to reach the towering peak is the Summit Track, a four-hour, 8.8 kilometre return hike from the Breakfast Creek car park. The track is quite steep and rocky in parts, with plenty of rest points and makes its way through a variety of vegetation including sub-tropical rainforest and heath-land. The final steep scramble to the top offers 360-degree views where you can view the eroded caldera formed by the molten lava millions of years ago that earned it the nickname of ‘Australia’s Green Cauldron’. The shorter, 15 minute Lyrebird Track goes from the carpark to a platform for a view over the rainforest.
Mount Warning is an hour’s drive from Byron Bay along the Pacific Motorway/M1 towards Murwillumbah, or 12 kilometres from Murwillumbah.