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“Grand High Tops Circuit Walk”

Warrumbungle National Park
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 24 October 2015

This is the Premier walk in the Warrumbungles & is a 12.5 km return trail, that takes you to circle the Breadknife before returning.

It is a challenging walk due to its length & steep ascent to get to the High Tops Circuit. The walk starts at the Pincham carpark & progresses along beautiful native Australian bushland on the Pincham Trail, for about 3.5 km. This part of the track is mostly flat & you are shaded by surrounding trees. A short sidetrack at about 3.3km, (160 metres of steep incline) will take you to Spirey View. Here you get your first unobstructed look at the looming Belougery Spire & the Breadknife. Well worth the deviation.

After leaving Spirey View, the track slowly starts to climb, to soon become quite steep as you make your way towards the Grand High Tops Circuit. The track is well maintained & a large portion of it is paved. There are a few places (with views) to take a rest on the way up. The ascent continues up several levels of steps, (didn't count them but I'd guess easily more than 300). Eventually you get to the start of the Circuit. The circuit (we walked it in a clockwise direction), is a rough steep rocky track & requires a small amount of rock scrambling over bald rock with virtually nothing to grab onto. I found this a little intimidating, especially when the drop behind me was hundreds of metres to the ground but I managed it. Once past this point there was no further rock scrambling, but you are very high up & need to watch your step carefully. Yellow markers point the way. On reaching the highest point of the circuit, we enjoyed lunch with the most glorious views completely surrounded by Belougery Spire, Crater Bluff & the Breadknife. We were alone & took some time to enjoy our surroundings before beginning the descent down more very rough, steep, track, (from here it is all downhill).

At Dadga Gap we took the right hand fork in the track to continue along the other side of the Bread Knife to complete the High Tops Circuit. At this point you can continue straight ahead via Spirey Creek. This also leads back to Pincham carpark but is 2 km longer. We continued on the circuit walk which lead us back to the steps we had previously climbed. Retracing our earlier steps we made our way back to the start.

The walk was amazing & rewarding. The scenery is stunning & you will probably have it to yourself. Proper hiking shoes with good grip are essential. It's hot out there so try for an early start & don't forget a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent & water. The walk took us about 5 - 6 hours which included rests, lunch & time for photography. We started early in the cool of the morning, but the temperature rose to about 30C by the time we were having lunch.

If the rock scrambling worries you, you can do the circuit in the opposite direction, by taking the path to Balor Hut & Dadga Shortcut to the right of the steps about 3/4 way up. The track is mostly flat as you walk along the side of the Breadknife until you get to Dadga Gap where you would take a left turn to continue on the circuit. It is steep & rough underfoot, going up but you don't have to do any rock scrambling. When you get to the top you can decide if you want to return the same way or have a go at tackling the short bit of rock scrambling. I would have done it in this direction had I known. You don't really miss any scenery as you get to see it all at the top.

This is a great walk & well worth the effort.

3  Thank TMB777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 October 2015

If this National Park was on the coast and not inland it would easily be the most visited National Park in Australia. It is so beautiful with so many walks and such great camping sites. We did about 5 different walks over 5 days, some very challenging, others quite easy and all spectacular. Even through the bushfires completely ravaged the park 2 years ago, it is coming back to life, especially in the valleys. Will definately not wait another 15 years to re-visit Warrumbungles next time. Camped at Blackmans Camp (hot showers and flush toilets - so devine) and also discovered the lady set up with her espresso machine in the powered sites section. Who could ask for more.

Thank Mel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2015

A great bushwalk and wonderful views.
Interesting to note how the bush was recovering after the fire.
We didn't see much wildlife - perhaps as a result of the fire.
Grand High Tops/Breadknife was harder than we expected - take plenty of water.

Thank Jenny C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2015

We just camped here for a week over the Sept school holidays - 2 mums and 5 kids. It was fantastic.

Firstly - it is a stunning place to see and a photographer's paradise. It's easy to explain to kids the geography of the hills being old plugs of lava coming out of volcanos (kids love volcanos). The campgrounds had enough shade/sun to be a good balance, and the toilet/shower facilities were clean. There is no drinking water on site (other than buying some at the office/shop) but there was a tank of potable water which we drank from and was fine. There are no washing machines, just sinks. There is hot water for washing clothes by hand, and there is one sink with hot water for washing up. You are not allowed to collect firewood from around the camping grounds, so bring your own if you want good long fires. You can buy some bags along the road in for $10. We found firewood along the roadside on the way from town. Bring a chain saw for cutting up some of the bigger stuff if you want it. We just broke off what we could by hand and had enough to cook in the camp oven.

Secondly, the activities organised for the holiday period were awesome. I didn't think my kids would get into it so much, but they were run really well and the kids were interested and engaged. These included: starry night tour where Australia's prominent female astronomer sets up her telescopes and we look at stars and planets. She is a great personality full of info and our kids saw Saturn (yes really a little round ball and a circle of white!), Jupiter, rainbow stars, red dwarf star and a dying red star. Plus the moon of course! Then there was orienteering where the kids learnt how to tell north, south using the sun, time, sticks and the southern cross. Then off they went through the scrub with their compasses finding objects on a map. Then there were the minibeasts dip netting in the creek, where the kids dredged up mud and miraculously, it was full of moving stuff! They then picked the best creatures to study under the microscope. Then - of course there are all the bushwalks. The fires that went through in 2013 were catastrophic. Really catastrophic. As awful and shocking as it was, it has enabled so much more of the rocky landscape to be revealed and marveled at. There is a large range of walks for kids, families, oldies and those who are most enthusiastic bush walkers. There was also a bird watching trip which I couldn't believe my 8 year old boy loved so much (who would have thought?).

Then - we went on a guided tour to the Sandstone Caves. I'd recommend the guided version rather than just walking there yourselves so that the experience is far more enriched with the history. The kids LOOOOOOOVED playing there and we were there for a few hours. They were awesome. the other place we went to out of the park was Hickey Falls. There's a waterfall and a large pool at the bottom (which was freezing cold). The kids played in an inflatable boat to get to the waterfall and played around on the rocks. Bring your cossies. There are picnic tables back at the carpark. Falls are 1 min from carpark. Kids are still talking about that too. You know, we didn't even make it to the Siding Springs Observatory in all that time? Next time!

Lastly, the other families at the campground were so nice and friendly, and there were plenty of other kids to play with. They would go off for hours playing in the creek bed, bikes, cricket, handball, soccer with all the other kids. We shared our campfire with other families and a few laughs. I have to say it's one of the best camping trips I've ever had with my family. They want to go back next year. See us there!

2  Thank Anna_Marie27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 October 2015 via mobile

Do yourself a favour. Visit this natural wonder any time of the year. I was there just before sunset and I think early morning would give better lighting on the mountains, but it's just magnificent any time.

Thank disappointed262013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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