Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk

Warrumbungle National Park

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Overview

Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk in Warrumbungle National Park, regarded as one of the best walks in NSW, offers close up views of the park’s iconic rock formations.

Where
Warrumbungle National Park
Distance
14.5km loop
Time suggested
5 - 6hrs
Grade
Grade 4
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • The walk starts from Pincham carpark south of John Renshaw Parkway
  • If you're after a shorter walk, Fans Horizon walking track starts from the carpark and climbs to a lookout with panoramic views of the Breadknife, Belougery Spire and Crater Bluff.

This iconic Warrumbungle National Park walk is famous for its wildlife and vistas of rugged volcanic landscape. Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk is the jewel in the glistening crown and is must do for bush walkers who love a challenge with their scenery. The track follows Spirey Creek before climbing steeply to give close encounters with iconic formations such as Belougery Spire, Bress Peak and Crater Bluff.

Passing Balor Hut campground on your way up, stop for a picnic and take in one of the best panoramas in NSW. After the breathtaking Grand High Tops summit, continue on towards Western High Tops and Ogma Gap campground, you’ll pass Dows Camp on the way for a look at the impressive Bluff Mountain. To complete the 14.5km loop, follow West Spirey track back to Pincham carpark.

Alternatively, you can take a shorter 12.5km return to Pincham carpark via Dagda Shortcut. 

In spring, walkers will be treated to a wildflower display of purple hoveas, white daisy bushes, yellow wattles and orange pea flowers. A haven for birdwatchers, be sure to look for wedge-tailed eagles soaring high above the cliffs and listen out for the screech of peregrine falcons.

Take a virtual tour of Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/breadknife-and-grand-high-tops-walk/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk.

Track grading

Grade 4

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    5 - 6hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Sign posted

  • Gradient

    Very steep

  • Distance

    14.5km loop

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk is in the Pincham carpark precinct of Warrumbungle National Park. To get there:

    From Coonabarabran:

    • Follow John Renshaw Parkway into Warrumbungle National Park
    • Turn left into Pincham Road approximately 100m past the Visitor Centre turnoff and continue to the end.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at Camp Pincham carpark.

    Best times to visit

    You may experience a great range of temperatures on any day in the park. In summer it's generally hot in the daytime and temperatures often exceed 30C. In contrast, winter can be very cold and the temperature drops below freezing at night. Rainfall is also highly variable, ranging from drought to prolonged wet periods. Less rain falls on the western side of the park than on the eastern side. It rains most from December to February and the annual average rainfall is 720mm. Thunderstorms are common in mid to late summer.

    Spring

    During early spring wildflowers are in bloom, including a huge variety of golden wattle flowers With a more moderate climate, spring is a great time to get out and camp under the stars .

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    15°C and 30°C

    Highest recorded

    42.6°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    0°C and 15°C

    Lowest recorded

    -9°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    January

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    176.3mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Permitted

    Rock climbing is permitted everywhere except the Breadknife and Chalkers Mountain. You'll need to register at the Visitor Centre before you head out.

    Prohibited

    Drones

    Flying a drone for recreational purposes is prohibited at this location. This area is a Drone Exclusion Zone. Drones may affect public enjoyment, safety and privacy, interfere with park operations, or pose a threat to wildlife. See the Drones in Parks policy.

    Commercial filming and photography

    Commercial filming or photography is prohibited without prior consent. You must apply for permission and contact the local office.

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Nearby towns

    Coonabarabran (30 km)

    Coonabarabran is the closest town to the craggy peaks and spires of the Warrumbungle Ranges. Warrumbungle National Park is popular for bushwalking, camping and encountering wildlife amid breathtaking scenery.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Coonamble (100 km)

    Coonamble is a delightful country town, the gateway to the wetlands of the Macquarie Marshes and the rugged scenery of Warrumbungle National Park. Nearby are opal fields to the north, and the Pilliga State Forest, with its stands of eucalypts.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Gilgandra (51 km)

    Just a 50-minute drive north of Gilgandra are the majestic Warrumbungles - an area of forested ridges, barren spires, deep gorges and walking tracks. Warrumbungle National Park has some excellent day walks, such as the Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk is in Warrumbungle National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Aboriginal dreamtime

    The view across the mountain range, Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Warrumbungle is a Gamilaroi (also written Gamilaraay) word meaning crooked mountain, and for many thousands of years it has been a spiritual place for the custodians of this land, the Gamilaroi, the Wiradjuri and the Weilwan. The landscape, plants and animals of the park are a constant reminder of its sacred significance to Aboriginal people today. Take an Aboriginal Discovery guided tour to find out more about the Aboriginal cultural heritage.

    Diversity of wildlife

    Kangaroos, Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Warrumbungle National Park has a rich diversity of landforms and microclimates, and provides a habitat for hundreds of plant and animal species in the area. Flourishing with vibrant Warrumbungle Range wattle, geebung and broad-leaf hop-bush, there's an abundance of rich birdlife in the area, including species such as emus, wedge-tailed eagles and boobook owls - just a few of over 190 bird species recorded in the park. If you're lucky, you may also spot wildlife such as the ringtail possum, greater glider and brush-tailed rock wallaby. Be sure to also keep an eye out for blue-tongue lizards and lace monitors rustling through the bush.

    • Burbie Canyon walking track Burbie Canyon walking track in Warrumbungle National Park offers a gentle 2km stroll through a sandstone gorge, and is particularly popular for birdwatching.

    Landscape and geology

    Rocky pinnacle, Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: Steve Alton

    The landscape of Warrumbungle National Park has been shaped by thousands of years of volcanic activity; spend some time looking at Crater Bluff and Belougery Spire and imagine the vents of magma that once erupted to create these formations. Old lava flows created at Mount Exmouth and Siding Spring Mountain, just outside the boundary of the park and Belougery Split Rock and Bluff Mountain are great examples of volcanic action. The most iconic feature in the park, The Breadknife, is a volcanic dyke which stands a massive 90m tall.

    • Bluff Mountain walking track Bluff Mountain walking track rewards experienced, fit bushwalkers with Warrumbungle National Park’s best views. This very long and challenging steep hike climbs past spectacular rock spires and domes—up to the summit of Bluff Mountain.
    • Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk Breadknife and Grand High Tops walk in Warrumbungle National Park, regarded as one of the best walks in NSW, offers close up views of the park’s iconic rock formations.
    • Burbie Canyon walking track Burbie Canyon walking track in Warrumbungle National Park offers a gentle 2km stroll through a sandstone gorge, and is particularly popular for birdwatching.
    • Coonabarabran - Baradine - Warrumbungle drive Explore the spectacular landscapes, historic towns, picnic spots and walks of the Warrumbungles and Pilliga, near Coonabarabran and Baradine, in NSW.
    • Coonabarabran - Warrumbungle - Tooraweenah drive Coonabarabran – Warrumbungle – Tooraweenah drive offers car touring through scenic mountain views with picnicking, walking, and wheelchair accessible facilities in Warrumbungle National Park.
    • Goulds Circuit walking track Goulds Circuit walking track is a wonderful way for day trippers and overnight campers to capture sweeping views of Warrumbungle National Park’s volcanic features.
    Show more

    Wish upon a star

    Whitegum lookout, Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Warrumbungle National Park is Australia’s only Dark Sky Park. Nearby Coonabarabran is known as the 'Astronomy Capital of Australia'. Stargaze from your campsite, or if you want to see right up to the heavens, visit the Siding Springs Observatory. The dramatic mix of volcanic spires and domes, plateaus, forested ridges and tall volcanic dykes are bound to make even the youngest of photographers look good, so whatever you do ‐ don't forget your camera.

    • Canyon picnic area Canyon picnic area is a fully accessible, family friendly picnic area in Warrumbungle National Park. Not far from the visitor centre, it features barbecues and tables.
    • Warrumbungle Visitor Centre Visitor information is available at the Warrumbungle Visitor Centre, which is now back in its original location. Get great suggestions and tips for walking and camping in Warrumbungle National Park.
    • Whitegum lookout Whitegum lookout in Warrumbungle National Park features spectacular views of the landscape and picnic tables. It is wheelchair accessible and an easy walk for children.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

      Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

      With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

    • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

      The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

    • Southern boobook. Photo: David Cook

      Southern boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae)

      The southern boobook, also known as the mopoke, is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. With a musical 'boo-book' call that echoes through forests and woodlands, the southern boobook is a great one to look out for while bird watching.

    • Tawny frogmouth. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

      Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. The ‘oom oom oom’ call of this native bird can be heard echoing throughout a range of habitats including heath, woodlands and urban areas.

    • Closeup of a laughing kookaburra's head and body. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

      Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

      Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    The Breadknifes, Warrumbungle National Park. Photo: Chinmoy Mukerjee