Mount Warning panorama from the summit platform
|Elevation||1,156 m (3,793 ft)|
|Prominence||952 m (3,123 ft)|
|New South Wales, Australia|
|Location||Northern Rivers, New South Wales, Australia|
|Range||Great Dividing Range|
|Age of rock||Over 23 million years|
|Last eruption||~23 Ma|
|Easiest route||Walking track|
Mount Warning (Aboriginal: Wollumbin) is a volcanic plug of the now-gone Tweed Volcano located in Australia, 14 kilometres (9 mi) west-south-west of Murwillumbah, in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, near the border with Queensland. Due to Mount Warning's proximity to Cape Byron, the Australian continent's easternmost point, it is the first place on mainland Australia to receive the sun's rays each day. Over 60,000 people a year make the 8.8 km, five-hour round-trip trek to the top from Breakfast Creek.
It was on 17 May 1770 (16th. am. Ships time) that Lieutenant James Cook, seeing the mountain from the sea, used it and a point he named Point Danger Fingal Head to warn others that came after him; named it Mount Warning.
Mount Warning is the central volcanic remnant of an ancient shield volcano, the Tweed Volcano, which would have been about 1,900 m (6,200 ft) above sea level or just under twice the height of the current mountain. This volcano erupted around 23 million years ago. As the mountain's central vent cooled it shrank, forming a depression at the top that has greatly eroded.
Today the vast areas that were part of the volcano include many mountains and ranges at some distance from Mount Warning, and include the Border Ranges, Tamborine Mountain, the McPherson Range and both the Lamington Plateau and Springbrook Plateaus. The erosion caldera formed since this eruption is easily visible around the summit and forms the rim of the Tweed Valley.
During the last stages of eruption, different and more resistant forms of lava that were cooler than those flows that created the shield volcano remained to form the current peak. The whole central Mount Warning massif was also pushed up by forces that remained active after lava eruptions had stopped.
The mountain remains a place of cultural and traditional significance to the Bundjalung people and is the site of particular ceremonies and initiation rites. The Bundjalung observe cultural and traditional restrictions forbidding the uninitiated from climbing the mountain, and, as such, generally ask that others also do not attempt to climb the mountain. However there are several websites that encourage climbers to hike the Mt. Warning/Wollumbin Trail up the mountain. The government National Parks and Wildlife Service advertise this request and do not encourage climbers, but it is not expressly forbidden by park regulations.
On 16 May 1770, Lieutenant James Cook was the first European to record seeing "… a remarkable sharp peaked Mountain lying inland…" from a point of land he named Cape Byron. Just five hours later while sailing North, Cook was forced to change course to the East after encountering the dangerous reefs that run 3 miles to the East from Fingal Head, now named Danger Reefs (Inner, South, and Outer reefs).
Next morning Cook recorded:
"…We now saw the breakers [reefs] again within us which we past at the distance of 1 League, they lay in the Lat de of 38°..8' [later changed to 28°..8'] & stretch off East two Leagues from a point under which is a small Island. There situation may always be found by the peaked mountain before mentioned which bears SWBW from them this and on this account I have named Mount Warning it lies 7 or 8 Leagues inland in the latitude of 28°..22" S° the land is high and hilly about it but it is conspicuous enough to be distinguished from everything else. The point off which these shoals lay I have named Point Danger to the northward of it the land which is low trends NWBN but we soon found that it did not keep that direction long before it turned again to the northward."
The mountain is now protected by the surrounding Mount Warning National Park, and access is regulated by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. Mount Warning is part of the United Nations World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.
An ascent of the mountain is discouraged out of respect for local Aboriginal lore, but if undertaken, takes approximately 1½ to 3½ hours (one way) and requires a good level of fitness. There are also viewing platforms at the summit. The total journey is 8.8 km.
Temporary closure of walking track
The walking track to the top of Mount Warning was badly damaged during torrential rain and storms on 26 January 2013 causing its closure. The National Parks and Wildlife Service reopened the walking track on 23 September 2013.
Mount Warning seen from Point Danger, Coolangatta.
View of Byron Bay and surrounding areas from the summit
On the path to the summit.
View from Beechmont
View from Clarrie hall dam
- "Wollumbin". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Mount Warning". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- Hema Maps (1997). Discover Australia's National Parks. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House Australia. p. 142. ISBN 1-875992-47-2.
- Introducing Mt Warning National Park. Lonely Planet. Retrieved on 17 December 2012.
- "James Cook’s Manuscript Daily Journal for 16 May 1770".
- Johnson, R. Wally; Jan Knutson; Stuart Ross Taylor; Australian Academy of Science (1989). "Eastern Australia Volcanic Geology". Intraplate Volcanism in Eastern Australia and New Zealand. Cambridge University Press. p. 114. ISBN 0521380839. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- The Caldera of the Mount Warning Shield Volcano. [brochure] New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. 1990.
- Knesel K. M., Cohen B.E., Vasconcelos P. M., and Thiede D.S. (2008) Rapid change in drift of the Australian plate records collision with Ontong Java Plateau, Nature vol 454, pages 754-757.
- Stuart O'Neill. The Big Climb. January 1999. Retrieved on 17 December 2012.
- Australian Hydrographic Chart "AUS 813"
- Mackenzie Ravn (26 March 2013). "Mt Warning hikers disregard closure". goldcoast.com.au (News Limited). Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Mt Warning track re-opened". Echo NetDaily. Retrieved 7 Feb 2014.
- UNESCO World Heritage Listing
- Mount Warning National Park
- Mount Warning Map includes driving directions.
- Peakbagger: Mount Warning
- Northern Rivers Geology blog Mount Warning.