Climbing Mount Warning with Kids
Wollumbin (Mount Warning) summit track is a sacred place to the Bundjalung People, and was declared an Aboriginal Place. Visitors are asked to respect the wishes of the Bundjalung Elders and avoid climbing this very difficult track.
Adventurous parents of four (including newborn twins), Danielle and Robert Wylie braved Mount Warning in 2017 with the kids in tow. Danielle shares how they far they got, and gives us her tips for hitting the trail …
Tackling Mount Warning with kids
When you’re lucky enough to have the Tweed Calderra at your fingertips, it’s likely you’ve encountered the spectacular views of Mount Warning (Wollumbin) on your travels at some point. If you’re also lucky enough to have young children on said journey, you might have had a conversation or two about the cloud catching ‘pointy mountain’.
Somewhere around 2011 B.K. (before kids) my husband and I had no trouble using the chain rope to scale the rock surface at the summit.
Explaining to our three and four year old boys that they would have to wait a few years to reach the top? Not such an easy task. So we decided to let them have a go, and in the meantime we could gauge their endurance for other walks. Two birds one stone, right?
Finding Mount Warning
Approaching from Murwillumbah, you want to take Kyogle Road towards Uki following the signs to Mount Warning National Park.
Parking is free, but can be tricky as the walk starts from a small cul-de-sac with limited parking spaces that fill up quickly – especially on weekends and public holidays when cars typically line each side of the road for a few hundred meters.
What you’ll see on your Mount Warning with kids adventure
The summit climb is an 8.8 km return walk, so if you have bigger kids who could take on the rope climb at the summit, you will be amazed at the 360 degree panoramic views. At an elevation of 1157m, on a clear day you will see from the ocean from Surfers Paradise all the way to Byron Bay. Totally worth it!
But with four kids under five, and mum and dad both baby-wearing, we were happy to take the climb slowly (OK – very slowly).
The start of the climb is renowned to be the hardest part of the climb with many, many steps, but you will soon find yourself immersed in the rainforest, listening to the sounds of the whip birds, watching water trickling down the valley and marvelling at the sheer size and variety of trees.
About a third of the way you will reach a break in the trees where you can see the blue of the ocean (albeit on shoulders or tippy-toes). There are also several bench seats along the way where you can sit and have a snack before deciding to continue on, or turn back.
If you make the journey out, but today was not your day, there is a short 150m track from the base of the walk to Lyrebird Lookout where you will find a table and chairs for a picnic situated in the rainforest. You can also use the information boards to discuss the Indigenous significance of the site.
Mount Warning with kids – useful tips:
- Parking is free
- Pit toilet and hand washing facilities at the base of climb
- This climb is best attempted in cooler months when there is less cloud cover
- If you attempt the walk in more humid months be prepared with a good insect spray, and watch for leeches
- Start your walk early and be aware that the sun sets on the mountain around 4pm in winter, so ensure you leave time for your descent
- Take plenty of food and water
- Be prepared for weather changes – pack jumpers (and raincoats if there are clouds about)
- Bring binoculars for both the views and the bird watching!