Mt Kaputar NSW
IN THE NORTH-WESTERN region of NSW, Mt Kaputar National Park is one of Australia’s most beautiful and intriguing areas, accommodating a range of different environments, microclimates and wildlife.
Formed about 21 million years ago after drifting over a volcanic “hot spot”, Mt Kaputar sticks out above the surrounding landscape with its distinct volcanic plugs, gorges and rock formations shaped by millions of years of erosion.
Its uniqueness stems from the range of environments and microclimates it supports, from the pockets of dry rainforest entered during an ascent of the mountain to the sub-alpine wilderness 1510m above sea level, which is occasionally blanketed by snow in winter.
Hiking: Hiking is suitable all year round, even in summer, as the altitude of the mountain ensures much cooler temperatures than the surrounding areas. There are more than a dozen walks, varying in difficulty and length.
The popular Kaputar plateau walk is a medium difficulty, 8km track that showcases the park’s different ecosystems and provides breathtaking views of Euglah Rock, Camels Hump and Mount Coryah.
Wildlife: Mount Kaputar NP is home to many native fauna, including sugar gliders, wallabies, quolls, thick-tailed geckos and bats.
The park is also infamous for large pink slugs that can grow up to 20cm long and are found in the subalpine area. The slugs can be seen after rain on rocks and trees, and their striking colour is thought to be a method of camouflage as it is similar to the fallen leaves of eucalypt trees.
Location: The drive to the summit takes about an hour from Narrabri, the closest town. No caravans are permitted beyond the park entrance, because of the narrow and winding road.
Accommodation: There are two camping grounds in the park, with plenty of camp sites and three fully furnished cabins. Both camping grounds have barbecues, flush toilets, hot showers, amenities blocks and drinking water. Camping is $3 a night for children and $5 a night for adults, while the cabins are $77 per cabin per night.
Food/drink: Walpole town has numerous cafes and restaurants.
Points of interest: Sawn Rocks, an excellent example of the rock formation known as “organ piping”; Waa Gorge, which is 100m high
More info: wwww.environment.nsw.gov.au/nationalparks/parkhome.aspx?id=n0038