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Mt Warning Summit Challenge

  • October 5, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 31 Comments
Mt Warning Summit Challenge

For years now I have been telling my family and friends that I wanted to climb Mt Warning in Northern NSW, just across the border from Queensland. My husband and kids have climbed this beast of a mountain a few times and told me I would need to be fitter before I took it on. So this year for me has been about getting fitter and healthier and I truly believed I was ready for the Mt Warning summit challenge!

The perfect opportunity arose whilst my daughter was staying with us during her holidays and the weather was still a little cool. So we decided to head off on the first day of spring day a month ago now, and drove the 60 km to the base of Mt Warning in the Wollumbin National Park. It is a pretty drive across the border into the lush “green cauldron” region of New South Wales. The drive takes you along the Tweed River, through cane fields, the town of Murwillumbah, past dairy farms and finally into a rainforest.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

Mt Warning from the Cane Fields

Wollumbin National Park

Wollumbin is the aboriginal name for Mt Warning National Park and actually has sacred significance. Mt Warning is an extinct volcano that erupted around 23 million years ago and stands 1,156 metres tall. The pointed rocky tip of the mountain stands out for kilometres and is somewhat of an icon of the Border Mountain Ranges.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

Wollumbin National Park Sign

Captain Cook named Mt Warning in May 1770 to warn future mariners of the offshore reefs documented. The mountain is now protected by the surrounding Wollumbin National Park and is an important area of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

The start of the ascent to Mt Warning

Believe it or not, climbing the mountain is discouraged out of respect for local Aboriginal lore, but thousands of tourists take on the ascent and it is a big tourist attraction for the region. Wollumbin – Mt Warning is for part of the year the first place on the Australian mainland to experience the sunrise, so climbing the mountain to watch the sunrise is ever popular.

Interesting fact: Mt Warning was named by National Geographic as one of the 10 Best Mountain Climbs in Australia.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

Views about halfway up the mountain

Starting the Ascent up Mt Warning

The air was decidedly crisp as we started our ascent up countless stairs and my lungs were burning already, even though we’d only ventured a small way up. The walk is 9 kms return and can take between 4 to 5 hours with a 30 minute break at the summit. After hundreds of stairs the path becomes rocky and I needed to watch every step to prevent turning an ankle or worse.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

Stairs up the ascent to Mt Warning

As I wound my way up through the rainforest the temperature became cooler and cooler. I was walking under the canopy of giant trees and could hear the call of the Whipbirds every so often. As I scaled higher there were many spots where I started to get glimpses of the magical views back over the Tweed Valley and coastline. I began to wonder how much further we had to climb, so as people were descending I began to ask them how much further. Encouragingly, most said “not much further now. Keep going”.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

Tall rainforest trees lining the pathway

Reaching the Summit of Mt Warning

Eventually, after an hour and a half I reached the bottom of the last little bit of the climb, and that was the 300 metre rock scramble to the summit. I knew this was going to be the most challenging part for me as the steepness of the rockface loomed before me! Fortunately there is a chain for support and you can virtually pull yourself up the rockface once you get the hang of it.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

The rock scramble to the summit of Mt Warning

I think every muscle in both my legs and arms (from pulling myself up by the chain), were burning and I had to stop several times to catch my breath. Eventually I made it to the summit, where my husband and daughter where waiting on one of the viewing platforms. I’m not sure of my exact words, but I think I said something along the lines of “Far out! That was absolute murder”.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

We made it to the top!

But those 360 degree views from the summit were heart-stoppingly beautiful and very soon my adrenalin level surged and I marvelled at what I had just achieved. I was so proud of myself for overcoming my fear of heights and disbelief in myself as being incapable of climbing this beast.

Summit Views from Mt Warning

I could see the Gold Coast Hinterland and Northern NSW stretched out before my eyes, as if I were a bird flying high above the patchwork landscape. The Tweed Coast and the blueness of the sea was also evident. We had chosen a perfect blue sky day for the climb. I found that the views from the top are made comprehensible by maps in each direction informing you of what you are seeing.

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

Views from the summit and a sign explaining what we’re looking at

The summit of the mountain is strangely flat on top and is well equipped with seats, that are a welcome sight once you have spent an hour or more of leg-burning exercise! We rested for a while, drank a litre of water and ate some snacks, before starting our descent back down the mountain. If I thought walking up was hard work, then the walk down was even more intense on my tired aching legs. Once I reached the bottom carpark my legs felt like jelly!

Mt Warning Summit Challenge

Mt Warning summit views

So I had conquered the beast! We all returned home for a well earned rest and later on a soothing ‘Radox’ bath. Yes my legs were incredibly sore for about a week afterwards and walking down our stairs was murder! But I had this feeling of euphoria for days because I had challenged myself and taken my fitness to a new level.

Challenges take many forms. It can be climbing a mountain, running a marathon or simply embarking on a new career. Tell me how have you challenged yourself recently?

Lyndall from Seize the Day Projectlovin-life-linky
Deb from DebbishDotCom
Min from Write of the Middle.
Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit
Jo from And Anyways
and of course me, Kathy from 50 Shades of Age


 

By 50 Shades, October 5, 2017 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 31

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

31 Comments
  • Jo
    October 5, 2017

    The views from the top of Mount Warning look fantastic. Well done you for getting to the top and taking on the challenge. I can imagine how much you were in need of a radox bath – I would have been the same. I’m challenging myself to power walk every day I’m in England, come rain (mostly) or shine (rarely!)

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      Yes the views from the summit made the walk worthwhile. It’s something I can cross off the bucket list. Next challenge is the 3 Capes Walk in Tasmania. Walking is so good for you. I hope you get lots of sunny weather in England to inspire you!

  • Jo Tracey
    October 5, 2017

    Oh my! After day 3 on Milford track last year & a 4 hour climb to Mackinnon Pass that I was woefully under prepared for, I vowed I’d never climb another mountain again. But the views from here could tempt me out of mountain retirement.

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      Milford track would have been some challenge Jo. I would love to do a 3 to 4 day walk. I’m looking at doing the 3 Cape Walk in Tassie at some stage. It’s just fitting it in is the problem. Good on you for doing this walk and climbing that mountain.#TeamLovinLife

  • Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
    October 5, 2017

    Oooo thanks for letting us know – I want to drag the hubster on this walk!

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      You would love this walk. It’s fairly challenging and your legs will burn and ache for days afterwards, but it’s a lovely walk with breathtaking views from the summit. #TeamLovinLife

  • Deborah
    October 5, 2017

    Wow, that ‘scramble’ to the top over the rocks does look a bit ominous. I’m not sure I’d make it at all let alone get from there to the top.

    I hate hills and mountains! However, I’ve heard of a few people climbing Mt Warning and it seems to be a popular hike. And the views are certainly beautiful!

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      Yes the rock scramble did have me worried. It wasn’t easy doing this part of the walk but the remainder of it was manageable. I must admit I do like a challenge and mountains or hills are so worthwhile once you reach the top. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    October 5, 2017

    I’m no mountain climber I’m afraid – my husband would jump at the chance, but I’d take a bit more persuading! We climbed in the Porongorups near Albany a long time ago, but it was darn hard work! The satisfaction of accomplishment helps though :)

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      I wouldn’t call myself a mountain climber either, but I do like walking and an uphill walk really gets your heart pumping. Plus the views from the top are so worth it! #TeamLovinLife

  • Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    October 5, 2017

    “Far Out – that was absolute murder” LOL – that is something I would say, maybe with a curse word thrown in if I were really knackered! LOL Good on you! That would have been tough but so rewarding once you got to the top. What an incredible view!! The biggest, most challenging climb I have done to date was in Tasmania, the climb up to Wineglass Bay Lookout. OMG! So hard … but somehow I did it! :-) #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      Ha ha! If I recall I did say something worse than this! The views were amazing and it was a good walk until we got to the rock scramble. I have also walked up the Wineglass Bay Lookout and yes it was a little challenging. We then walked down into the bay and that was a hard walk on the way back (uphill on rocky terrain). #TeamLovinLife

  • Lyndall @ SeizeThe Day Project
    October 5, 2017

    Having climbed Mt Warning myself, I can honestly say that I’m not in a hurry to do it again. Those chains over the rocks at the end are the icing on the cake when you’re already exhausted. My husband had to really push me to go up to the summit – I seriously considered waiting at the bottom of the rocks, but the view up the top was worth the climb! :) #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      I can sympathise with you here Lyndall. I felt exactly the same when I saw the rock climb as it really is a lot steeper than the photo portrays. I had to bite the bullet and just do it! So glad I did though. #TeamLovinLife

  • Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies
    October 5, 2017

    I think this has clarified to me that I am a foot-hill kinda girl haha! I take my hat off to you for getting up there – that last bit gave me vertigo in my living room! x

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      Ha ha! I must admit I was feeling a little dizzy climbing up that rockface towards the end. I love the challenge of an uphill walk but sometimes I wonder why. My legs were very sore for days and days afterwards! #TeamLovinLife

  • Denyse
    October 5, 2017

    I have seen Mt Warning when on the northern coast for holidays and my husband grew up near there and tells me as a teen he climbed it. It always looks pretty imposing. I am glad you achieved something of a goal for yourself. I too find coming down anywhere I have climbed a bit harder…my claim to climbing fame if you like is the Sydney Harbour Bridge done some years back with my bro, niece and nephew and Dad. We all did very well even my niece who was afraid of heights. Something in a physical challenge gives us great satisfaction! Well-done you. Denyse x

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      Thanks Denyse. Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge would have been a great challenge, particularly if you’re afraid of heights. I do love a good challenge. It certainly makes you feel accomplished in some small way. #TeamLovinLife

  • Melissa @ All Around Oz
    October 5, 2017

    I would love to do this climb but I am most definitely going to have to work on improving my fitness before I attempt it.

    • Kathy
      October 5, 2017

      Yes I found my legs were extremely tired by the time we reached the bottom of the rock scramble. I needed them to scale up the rocks, so thank goodness that chain was there to help out. You just have to climb at your own pace. #TeamLovinLife

  • Kooky Chic
    October 6, 2017

    Ah the photos are stunning. Well done, you deserve to be proud.

    • Kathy
      October 6, 2017

      Thank you. I was extremely proud of myself and yes the views at the summit were worth the effort. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    October 6, 2017

    You did it! Look at those views. #teamlovinlife

  • Rhonda Albom
    October 7, 2017

    Well done Kathy. I think I would have been put off by the name, if not, I surely would have freaked out at the last bit. The chain wouldn’t have helped me as I would have been obsessed with how to get down. (Down is always the more difficult direction for me.

    • Kathy
      October 7, 2017

      Ha ha, yes the name Mt Warning is a little ominous! The rock scramble at the end of the climb was a challenge for me too. It was extremely steep and I came down on my behind mostly. Fabulous views from the summit though. #TeamLovinLife

  • Tony Wilson
    October 7, 2017

    We got to the base car park at 4am to make it to the top for sunrise. The last 200-300 metres are pretty hard going after the long walk. Saw a real mix of people climbing it but is physical despite the good path all the way. Wouldn’t want to do it in the heat, 4am was warm enough.

    • Kathy
      October 7, 2017

      Witnessing sunrise from Mt Warning would be an incredible experience. I doubt whether I could do the walk up in the dark however. It was rather cool the morning we climbed so that was perfect for such a strenuous walk.

  • Cat
    October 7, 2017

    Wow what amazing views! My husband likes to do big walks I am not a fan but I do like the views from the top. Well done on making it up and back down!

    • Kathy
      October 7, 2017

      Thank you. It was exhilarating getting to the summit and taking in those amazing views. Walking and being in nature is one of my favourite past-times. #TeamLovinLife

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