22nd August 2020

NSW Government geotrail unveils Warrumbungle's violent volcanic past - Picture: Destination NSW

Locals can now journey into an ancient volcano in Warrumbungle National Park with the help of a digital geotrail that provides a first-hand look at the molten lava, fire fountains and mud flows which once covered a large part of north west NSW up to 18 million years ago.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said the Warrumbungle geotrail includes fascinating findings from a new scientific paper prepared by the Geological Survey of NSW and reveals for the first time, a detailed history of the region’s violent volcanic past.

Mr Barilaro said the trail can be easily downloaded through a user-friendly mobile app and is one of five in a network of digital geotrails allowing visitors to experience some of the most spectacular landscapes regional NSW has to offer.

“Our geological scientists have uncovered the shape, size and lava flows of what we can determine was a shield volcano that existed after the dinosaurs became extinct and before humans walked the earth and now people can experience it first-hand,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Thousands of visitors come to Warrumbungle each year to enjoy the site’s natural beauty and star gazing opportunities and through this new geotrail, we can now explore the remains of the huge volcano that gave rise to the local landscape.

“There are trail options suited to a range of abilities including a self-drive tour, a leisurely stroll around what used to be the volcano’s main crater and an adventurous hike around the Grand High Tops Circuit with breathtaking views created by the volcano’s unique geology.”

Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government’s growing geotrail network will lift the lid on hundreds of millions of years of geological history behind the Warrumbungle Volcano, Newcastle and Port Macquarie coastlines, Mutawinji National Park and the Central Darling region in the west.

“We use hand held audio and visual guides in the world’s most famous museums and art galleries, and geotrails provide a similar experience accompanied by fresh air and unearthing facts about the rocks beneath our feet,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Each trail is unique, covering local geological highlights and historic and cultural facts that will intrigue families, encourage them to stay longer and spend with local businesses.”

Visitors can install the GeoTours NSW app on iOS or Android phones and tablets to download the Warrumbungle Volcano, Newcastle and Port Macquarie geotrails.

Read the scientific paper about the Warrumbungle Volcano at the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences online

About the NSW Geotrail network:

  • Port Macquarie Coastline Geotrail, (launched in 2018) – shows rocks made by volcanoes, by microscopic marine creatures and by underwater gravity currents.
  • Warrumbungle Volcano Geotrail – journey into an ancient volcano in Warrumbungle National Park where there is evidence of magma and what used to be the volcano’s main crater.
  • Newcastle Coastline Geotrail – showcases how the Newcastle coastline has changed across 250 million years and includes facts about volcanoes, a fossilised ancient forest, as well as Australia’s split from New Zealand
  • Coming soon (within 12 months):
    • Central Darling Geotrail – includes Mungo, Kinchega and Paroo-Darling National Parks, taking visitors through geological history including ancient dry lakebeds and fish fossils and details about Aboriginal culture
    • Mutawintji National Park Geotrail – journey through a 400 million-year-old seabed, learn about fossils and explore evidence of thousands of years of continuous Aboriginal occupancy and use of this rugged desert landscape.