Mt. Kaputar, is located at the end of a very scenic drive, a 112km round trip from Narrabri.
From Narrabri, Mt. Kaputar is a little deceiving, it really looks any other Mountain, but as you start heading towards it, then you see all sorts of craggy peaks, and ridges.
Near Narrabri, we passed large acreage blocks, then open farmland where the Braford & Hereford cattle roamed, past some deserted old homesteads with their Windmills and Tanks still standing.
Views were wonderful of the Mountain Range!
The climb up the Mountain Range was just as good, not so for the driver, as he needed to keep his eyes on the narrow twisty, turny road.
I was lucky enough not to be the driver, so took in all the views of other peaks, and then looking back down the valley.
This is quite a drive, A MUST DO!
Fondest memory: The Scenic drive is signposted with a Brown Tourist sign near the Visitor Information Centre. If not sure, call in there, and they will point you in the right direction.
There was a time when the post office and the telephone company were closely linked. Sadly for some, these days are long gone as the chase for the holy dollar and modern technology intervene.
However, in some towns the former close links are still evident as here where the P.O. is in front and the new communications tower out the rear.
This is main street, country Australia. The fact that it is Narrabri is co-incidental in this case. The finest building will be public - the Post Office, the Court House and the banks.
This is Westpac (once known as the Bank of New South Wales) and, on the right, is the Commonwealth Bank.
Viewed from the top of the Sawn Rocks, Castletop can be seen through a pass in the ridge line. When you drive on the Inverell-Narrabri Road on the western end, Castletop is often visible and closer than from here.
Fondest memory: It is another volcanic plug that form the stand out features of Mt. Kaputar National Park and the Nandewar Ranges.
This is the first clear glimpse you get of Yulludunida on the road up.
The Green Camp car park is about dead centre of this photo though well hidden by the trees.
The good thing about the walk is that it's downhill on the way back!
Yulludunida Crater walk:
4 km, 3.5 hours, difficult
This return walk begins at the Green Camp carpark and ascends 350m through whitebox woodland to the the base of the Yulludunida 'crater'. This crater is actually a ring dyke of volcanic rock. It formed when a plug of molten lava surged upward through a volcanic vent but collapsed back on itself before fully solidifying. The walking track winds its way up through the dry woodlands and ends at the base of the crater. From here, there are no marked routes to the summit of Mt Yulludunida, which offers magnificent views across the Western Plains. The remains of an old fence, built to control dingos in the 1930s, can still be seen running along the spine of Mt Yulludunida.
Fondest memory: The walk takes you up the left hand side of the large plug shown here.
Be warned, it is steep, as indicated by the length of time taken to walk a relatively short distance.
It says difficult but that doesn't make it impossible. Remember, always take something to drink with you.
The dramatic shape of Mount Yulludunida, a feature known as a cone sheet with a complicated geological history. On your journey up the mountain this is the single most stand-out rock you will come across.
Fondest memory: If you blow up this pic you will note the size of the vehicle on the road and that will give you some idea of scale.
Ningadhun, the first significant plug you get relatively close to on your way to Mt. Kaputar and probably the first time you'll want to stop and get your camera out.
Do so, because it's one of the best views of this particular crag.
At 36,817 hectares, it's a biggie, though not on the scale of some of the outback National Parks.
17-21 million years ago (just before I was born) the area was very active, volcano-wise.
The Nandewar Shield Volcano was mainly composed of basaltic lava and, after millions of years of weathering, volcanic plugs from the central craters are left exposed.
In places the plugs are 700 metres deep and none are more dramatic than Yullundunida, a spectacular curved dyke, which rises up to 150 metres above the surrounding country.
Fondest memory: The information below comes from the National Parks and Wildlife Service:
Before becoming a national park the area of Mt Kaputar was used largely for grazing. Throughout the park you'll find remnants from the pioneering families who lived in extremely harsh conditions.
One such family were the Scutts who lived in the area above Kurrawonga Falls in a hut that still stands today. The Parry family (Mrs Parry and Mrs Scutt were sisters) lived near the Scutts but their hut was burned down in a bushfire in the 1950s.
Sheep and cattle grazed the plateau area up until the 1950s, with stockmen sometimes spending weeks at a time scouting around for their stock and keeping watch over them. It was a lonely life for these stockmen and sometimes months would go by without them seeing another human being.
History of the park
In 1925 an area of 775 hectares around Mt Kaputar was proclaimed a Reserve for Public Recreation. Two years later the local shire council gave control over to the Mt Kaputar Trust, which was a group of very interested and dedicated local people. This group gave advice and guidance on management issues within the reserve.
In 1959 the reserve became Mt Kaputar National Park but remained under the management of the trust. In 1967 the park came under control of the newly-established National Parks and Wildlife Service. A regional advisory committee now gives advice and guidance.
In 1965 two cabins were constructed providing accommodation at Dawsons Spring. A permanent water supply was provided and shower, toilet and picnic facilities built.
The Bark Hut site has been developed for picnicking and camping, including showers and toilets.
Head east out of town on the Old Gunnedah Rd from Narrabri and, after about 4 km you come to a turnoff to the left to the Mt Kaputar Rd which leads ultimately to the National Park.
En route you see the old volcanic plugs that buttress the area and form spectacular sights to tempt you even further.
The final approach is narrow and steep, part dirt, and no caravans are permitted although there is a bush caravan park at the base on the banks of Bullawa Creek.
The Bark Hut camping area, 48 km from Narrabri, has off-road camping and an amenities block. 5 km further on is Dawsons Springs campsite (1373 m above sea-level) which has an amenities block and two cabins. This is available by contacting the National Parks and Wildlife but, you will need to prearrange well in advance if you want to go there for a weekend.
In all, the park has over a dozen walking tracks, both for the short stroller and the serious overnighter.
Some are outlined in a pamphlet available from the National Parks and Wildlife Service office at 100 Maitland St in Narribri, tel: 02 6799 1740.
The access road continues on to the summit of Mt Kaputar. At 1524 m above sea-level it offers truly panoramic views to a distance of about 150 km in all directions. It is from here that you can see more of N.S.W. than anywhere else in Australia (other than in an aeroplane!).
Fondest memory: I often travel the Narrabri-Bingara Road as a bit of a short cut between Inverell and Narrabri but the real reason is I love driving in the country and, since my company is paying for it, why not?
It offers much rural scenery and, when it goes over the Nandewar Range, has lovely views of the ranges from many different angles.
A now somewhat famous attraction that you will probably have to yourself if you visit it.
This is the same natural structure that features in the Giants Causeway in Ireland. The columnar remnants of volcanic trachyte leave a spectacularly symmetrical display of nature and leave one wondering how such a thing could occur without man's puny hand being present.
Fondest memory: The tranquility of the Australian bush is exemplified in this area where you can walk to your heart's content in a national park bigger than some small European countries. To find yourself among volcanic ramparts brushing the trees and surrounded by the chatter of birdsong is a truly serene experience.
This is a great place to wander around. You can relatively easily get to the top of the sawn rocks and there are some nice views to be had but just the fact of the cooling breeze wafting through your hair (or, what's left of it in my case!) and the flutter of the leaves as you gaze across at an eagle riding the thermals puts you at ease with the world.
Fondest memory: The rugged cliffs stand out as you come abreast of the area of the sawn rocks on your climb to the top. Very pleasing to the eye.
Some of the remnants of the volcanoes are spectacular, others are fascinating, some are hard to find and intruguing.
Fondest memory: The latter type is what I came across here. Beside a dried up stream bed the trachyte remnant of columnar jointing lay and my first thought was Maya. Tical, Tenochtitlan or Teotihuacan sprang readily to mind as I envisaged how a different setting would conjure up a different meaning.
An ancient temple to some long-forgotten diety, the steps to an emperor's throne, these were the scenarios I saw as I gazed in momentary awe at this fallen monument of nature. The extraordinary symmetry of this work in this unlikeliest of settings on a warm summer's afternoon held me temporarily spellbound. The promotional words of Australia's multi-cultural chammel SBS filtered through my brain - "The world is an amazing place."
I felt to touch it would be to degrade it in some way so I simply admired it with due reverence and walked away feeling inspired.
Most other visitors I imagine will simply brush past a piece a useless piece of rock that has no meaning. For those I feel sorry. I had an unforgettable 5 minutes of wonder.