Mt Kaputar National Park
Phone: (02) 6792 7300 National Parks and Wildlife Services Office (NPWS)
Allow: 3 Hrs minimum
Today you’re heading for the sky! From the 1512m summit of Mt Kaputar, 52km east of Narrabri, you will be treated to panoramic views encompassing a staggering ten percent of NSW, weather permitting. Explore the rugged island of wilderness that is the Mt Kaputar National Park, an ancient footprint left behind by a series of volcanic eruptions between 17 and 21 million years ago.
Rising spectacularly from surrounding flat agricultural plains, millions of years of erosion have forged this volcanic wilderness into the Nandewar Ranges you see today. Whether you’re a nature lover, photographer, bushwalker, camper or simply seeking a little solitude, prepare to be spellbound by the grandeur of this landscape of lava terraces and volcanic plugs.
The National Park protects a wide variety of plant communities, including semi–arid woodlands, wet eucalypt forests and subalpine heaths. It's also home to a host of animal species, and provides a haven for many threatened species – including bats, birds, wallabies and quolls. Keep an eye out for our native pink slug! It often appears after rain, and is unique to Mt Kaputar National Park. For those with time to thoroughly explore the park, two camping areas with hot showers and electric barbecues are available as well as three well equipped cabins at Dawson’s Spring, which can be booked through the NPWS office. Mt Kaputar has a range of walks to suit all tastes, from pleasant bush ramblings to strenuous climbs. A guide for the marked walking tracks is available from the Visitor Information Centre or NPWS office in Narrabri.
Keen to experience an almighty wall of organ pipes without stepping foot inside a church? Then Sawn Rocks, with its towering 40m high pillars is the place to go. Undoubtedly the most iconic reminder of Kaputar’s volcanic past, this basalt rock formation is located in the northern section of Mt Kaputar National Park
As you head north along the Newell Highway, the plains to the west stretch to eternity whilst the furls and rugged peaks of the Nandewar Ranges unfold to the east. Just 3km out of town, turn right onto the picturesque Killarney Gap Road (Bingara Road) and travel a further 33km to the Sawn Rocks carpark.
Along the way, on the left, you will pass the fertile paddocks of the IA Watson Grains Research Station. Named after preeminent agricultural scientist Irvine Armstrong Watson, the Research Station is part of the University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute. The site has resources for standard cereal breeding, a grain quality laboratory, glasshouses and controlled environment facilities.
From the carpark Sawn Rocks is reached via an easy 750m walking track (disabled access) that meanders through the tall eucalypts, figs and ferns. An observation platform affords stunning views of the intriguing rock formation jutting starkly from the bed of the Bobbiwaa creek. Stairs to the side enable access to the creek bed upon which outlines of more pillars are visible. This unusual phenomenon is the result of slow and even cooling of molten rock, which enabled individual crystals within the rock to align perfectly with each other.
A shelter and barbecue area is available next to the carpark for those wishing to enjoy the scenery.
Pronunciation: War Gorge
Allow: 2 Hrs
Yet another reminder of the region’s volcanic past, Waa Gorge is as spectacular as it is old. You’ll be entranced by the towering tangerine streaked walls sweeping up to the ancient volcanic plug, Mt Waa. Millions of years of weathering turned cracks and fault lines into the deeply etched gorge and surrounding gullies you see today. The sheer scale positively dwarfs, while the enormous boulders strewn across the gorge’s floor look like marbles in a giant’s playground.
Waa Gorge is located in the far north of Mt Kaputar National Park, approximately one hour from Narrabri. The access road is definitely a DRY WEATHER ROAD ONLY!
The walk into Waa Gorge takes a good hour and visitors need to be prepared with water and sturdy shoes. From the carpark, a short walk through the picnic area leads you to the “Mill Bullah” (Two Eyes) waterholes. From here the walk enters wilderness area and is not signposted, but an interpretive sign gives detailed directions. Climb the small hill on the left of the waterholes and follow the creek for a few hundred metres until you find your way into the rocky creek bed that leads to Waa Gorge.
Deriah Aboriginal Area
Allow: 1 Hr
Uncover the secrets of this recently opened reserve, located at the foothills of the Nandewar Ranges. The Deriah Aboriginal Area forms part of the traditional country of the Kamilaroi people and is a beautiful place to explore the unique wildlife of the area and learn more about Aboriginal cultural heritage.
There is a Picnic Area and Culture Sculpture Walk and an accessible lookout as well as a long hike to Hawkes Nest Cliffs for serious bushwalkers.
From the Kaputar Road, turn onto Eulah Creek Road and follow it for 11km. Turn right into Carinya Road and follow the route uphill to enter the Deriah Aboriginal Area. Part of this access route is unsealed. DRY WEATHER ROAD ONLY
Information supplied by the Visitor Information Centre