Narrabri Off The Beaten Path

  • The supreme rock - Yulludinida
    The supreme rock - Yulludinida
    by iandsmith
  • View from near the summit
    View from near the summit
    by iandsmith
  • Off The Beaten Path
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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Narrabri

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    Yulludunida - a pinnacle achieved

    by iandsmith Updated Apr 10, 2013

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    The pinnacle of success

    It beckoned me. For years I gazed in awe at its majesty, its overpowering bearing rising from the forest beneath. It intimidated me to the point where I didn't think I would ever try and reach the summit.
    It just goes to show how looks can be deceptive and perspective can lead to incorrect assumptions.
    Climbing up there is relatively easy. I say relatively because you'd want to be reasonably fit. The sign at the carpark says it's 3 hours return but allow a half a day day so you can wander the rim. Frankly, I walked and clambered up and back and spent about 20 minutes on the top in less than two and a half hours.
    (continued next page)

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    The revisit

    by iandsmith Written Sep 13, 2009

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    The supreme rock - Yulludinida
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    I made it back here and the weather was perfect so I went a bit crazy with the camera.
    I climbed Yulludinida for the second time and it was even more special.
    I hope you enjoy the extra pics. One of them won an award.

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    To the top

    by iandsmith Updated May 11, 2006

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    Twisted blackboy atop the summit
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    This is from the National Parks and Wildlife official website:

    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 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.

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    Sidelights to the trip

    by iandsmith Written Oct 2, 2005

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    Emus - in scurrying mode
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    Some of the other things you may well remember from your journey to Waa are the wildlife and surrounding mountains as well. Emus stampeded across one paddock as I went through a gate, which is why I haven't got a closer picture of them. By the time I set up for telephoto they were gone!
    There are dramatic peaks on the horizon that also beckon. Though I'm uncertain, the second picture may well be Castletop though it looks so different from this angle (I'm used to seeing it from the other side) that I can't be sure.
    The last shot is just an interesting hill I noticed on the way there. If it had been after Waa I probably wouldn't have even bothered stopping!

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    Chasing Euglah

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 5, 2005

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    View from Doug Sky Lookout

    On the southern side of the road to the top of Mt. Kaputar is the Doug Sky Lookout. Despite efforts on my part I can't find out anything about Doug Sky but, rest assured, when I do, you will be the first to know.
    The main rock featured here is Euglah Rock but this shot clearly illustrates the volcanic origins of the park and offers substantial panoramas over the plains.

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    Waa Gorge V

    by iandsmith Written Sep 3, 2005

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    Part of the scenery on the road to Narrabri

    Time moves on and, sadly, I had to as well. On the way out I tried three times, in vain as it transpired, to scale the bastions of the southern section in order to look down into Waa Gorge, each time defeated by a step deemed too dangerous by myself without someone else and a rope. I was close, but remained frustrated. Every endeavour has its reward however and I gained enough height to snap off a picture that continues to draw me back to it, ever pleasing in its composition.
    It captures the grandeur of the place, a spectacular cliff renting asunder the otherwise enshrouding forest.
    I was also able to get a better overall feeling of the area and its relationship with the surrounding terrain. Viewed from here the surrounding farmland becomes merely a small part of the overall picture, unlike the impression from the in road where, though the farms are dominated by the mountains, they remain the largest feature of the landscape.
    Returning along the entry road, taking care to close gates where appropriate, I reflected on the magnificence of the place. When I took the left hand turn to head towards Narrabri I was able to reflect on the panorama. For about 10 kilometres it must be one of the most panoramically scenic spots in Australia. The ever-present Kaputar National Park continually throws up new spires and different aspects all along the route. Far from being a let-down after the drama of the in-your-face gorge, this was serenely picturesque and a wonderful way to slowly escape the wonder of the morning.

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    Waa Gorge IV

    by iandsmith Written Sep 3, 2005

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    View from the contemplating rock

    At near the unsurmountable end where the sides have closure and only rock climbers might dream of an ascent, there are four rocks the size of half a room each. It is here that I sit to contemplate.
    The prickly pear is clearly at odds with native grasses on the lower slopes while the wind laden gully sends its updrafts and the eagle soars rapidly to heights where it becomes difficult to make it out before the scudding clouds.
    Here the abundant swallows twitter beneath the lone cypress perched regally at the summit as an eagle drifts in from the west. It was in this environment that an artist had set up their easel and become so entranced in the spectacle that they had discarded their sunglasses, soon to be paint-flecked, beside a rock and not remembered them when it came time to depart. It’s that sort of place.
    White splotches on the tangerine walls are an indication of the swallows’ nesting sites while ants scurry about on the ground, taking whatever will sustain the colony further down. Roo poo and rabbit droppings indicate that the area is regularly frequented by bigger species than are currently on show. One suspects the long-absent rain will, on its return, bring them back.
    The spirit flies free in places such as this, mesmerising wonders of nature controlling your senses and taking your mind to places of serenity. One suspects this would have had to have had some spiritual significance in the aboriginal community of times past and, when the volcanoes were spewing over 17 million years ago, it would have been mind blowing indeed.
    Time moves on and, sadly, I had to as well. On the way out I tried three times, in vain as it transpired, to scale the bastions of the southern section in order to look down into Waa Gorge, each time defeated by a step deemed too dangerous by myself without someone else and a rope. I was close, but remained frustrated. Every endeavour has its reward however and I gained enough height to snap off a picture that continues to draw me back to it, ever pleasing in its composition.

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    Waa Gorge III

    by iandsmith Written Sep 3, 2005

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    The beckoning Waa Gorge

    As I ascended the creek and the gorge narrowed, the trail invariably seemed to be on the other side to that which I was walking on. Where it traverses the watercourse is often a mystery but, having said that, you won’t get lost. Stray a few metres away from the stream bed and you’ll run into steep walls, for the most part impenetrable.
    You are travelling through what is known as a closed forest, one of the giveaways is the figs, both Rusty and Sand-paper whose roots drape the rocks, ever seeking water and sustenance in the most unlikely places.
    It is clear that at the moment when a torrent rushes down, this would not be place to get stuck.
    At around the half hour mark you get a sense that something is changing. There is a light off to the left. It is a beckoning light. Without any signs or other indications it is apparent that there is something calling you, pulling you, deflecting your attention. You drift towards it, clambering over moss laden rocks with an air of expectation. Suddenly the canopy opens and your eyes are rewarded with one of Australia’s great tourist sights – Waa Gorge.
    Pity hardly anyone goes there. Great that hardly anyone goes there!
    By the busload they flock to Katherine Gorge, Kakadu and the Kimberlies, yet here is a front line attraction that many of the southern tourists have, usually unknowingly, bypassed. Narrabri Tourist Information Centre, to name one, is trying to change that. My contact, Dawn, happens to work part time there.
    As the walls come into view and their sheer magnificence starts to overwhelm you, it is apparent this is a spiritual place, one to be reverential about.
    As I walk up the ever steepening bed, now flat, the wave like rust coloured rock arcs 90 degrees above me on the eastern side, rising 70 metres. Wave Rock has nothing on this.

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    Waa Gorge II

    by iandsmith Written Sep 3, 2005

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    The

    Tree covered slopes suddenly erupt into sheer cliffs and that is only the background to the fertile fields, the meandering stream and statuesque gum trees that line the track to the gorge. There are two crossings of the creek and, should it be raining, the gates may well not only be closed but locked by the owner of the property you are passing through, thus making the road impassable.
    When you approach the final gate with fleeing emus darting across the paddock it is fairly obvious that you are getting near. Indeed just a couple of hundred metres further along around a left hand corner among the black cypress is the car park. Suffice it to say mine is the only vehicle present.
    I am anxious to get going and quickly put my camera-laden backpack on and sling my tripod carry pack around my neck, taking care to stow my drink.
    As always, I had a pair of steel capped work boots on. I find them great if you happen to stub your toe on rocks or blunder into a log and the thick treads make for good grip on steep rock shelves, should one happen to be that determined, and Waa Gorge certainly rewards the adventurous.
    The initial trail takes you through close-fitting bush across a small creek bed that would certainly represent danger were a storm to break, yet another reason not to be there when it’s raining. There is no camping either, so you’re unlikely to get caught out.
    Soon after it starts to climb and the vegetation scatters over the rising slope as you follow the creek to the Mill Bullah waterholes, Mill Bullah meaning two eyes. Etched out of solid rock they are set one below the other and you end up above both before moving on to the left at a “T” intersection, clearly marked by two timeworn pieces of toilet paper slotted into the coarse bark of a couple of trees. Here I feel it incumbent upon me to warn you that this is not a marked trail, merely a well worn bush track. The steel lead-in bridge at the start is not an indicator of things to come. From there it gradually gets worse as far as being easy to follow.

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    Waa Gorge walk

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 3, 2005

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    The road to Waa Gorge

    My approach was from Inverell and I headed off along the Gwydir Highway on a day that promised to be windy, if nothing else. Pausing only to snap some wattle on the roadside and to grab a drink at Warialda I reached the turnoff to Terry Hie Hie just after passing Gravesend, a name I hoped bore no portents of the day ahead.
    The 35kms of dirt before Terry Hie Hie were very smooth and I made good time to the “T” intersection. Mmmm, no sign to Waa Gorge where I had been expecting one. With Terry Hie Hie just 5kms to the right I figured there might be someone there who could help me, a guess that was correct but added 10kms to my trip. I should have turned left.
    At something under 10kms the “Y” intersection I had been told about came into view along with a sign indicating Waa Gorge. Confident of my bearings once more I exited onto the final 19 kilometres with the word “gates” ringing in my ears. Every article I read and everyone I had spoken to had mentioned the gates.
    After I crossed 3 grids and travelled at least 10kms I mistakenly thought they may have replaced the gates with grids. Unlucky. You can guarantee that as soon as you think thoughts like that your luck will run out. So it was that the first one of six gates came into view.
    I found them to be of benefit, but that’s probably my nature. Turn a hindrance into a highlight, life’s so much more fun that way! What they do is make you slow down (at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious) and that causes one to dwell on the unfolding panorama, and unfold it does. The volcanic plugs and trachyte remnants rise to tempt the eye. The further you go, the better it gets.

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