The rugged Warrumbungles are ancient mountains of volcanic origin with jagged cliffs, rocky pinnacles and crags jutting from the western horizon. The dry western plains and the moister environment of the east coast meet at these ranges, with plant and animal species from both habitats coexisting in the park. Resident fauna include four species of kangaroo, plus koalas and a variety of birds including wedgetail eagles, superb blue wrens, eastern spinebills and emus, as well as heaps of dancing butterflies along the trails.
A few accessible trails start at the visitor’s centre, but the most spectacular hike – for the reasonably fit only – is the 14.5km (roughly 5hr) Grand High Tops Trail along the main ridge and back. The walk begins at Pincham car park and follows the flat floor of Spirey Creek through open forests full of colourful rosellas and parrots, and lizards basking on rocks. As the trail climbs, there are views of the 300m-high Belougery Spire, and more scrambling gets you to the foot of the Breadknife, the park’s most famous feature, a 2.5m-wide rock flake thrusting 90m up into the sky. From here the main track heads on to the rocky slabs of the Grand High Tops, with tremendous views of most of the surrounding peaks. Experienced walkers could carry on to climb Bluff Mountain and then head west for Mount Exmouth (1205m), the park’s highest peak; both are great spots from which to watch the sunrise.