Waa Gorge walking track

Mount Kaputar National Park

Overview

Waa Gorge walking track in Mount Kaputar National Park is a challenging walk through Grattai Wilderness Area and Waa Gorge, offering birdwatching opportunities and a great place to picnic.

Where
Mount Kaputar National Park
Distance
2.5km return
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade
Grade 5
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you're well-prepared for your visit.
  • There is limited mobile reception in this park
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go bird watching

Following on from Mill-bullah walking track, the Waa Gorge walking track is a picturesque scramble for more intrepid hikers through the Grattai Wilderness Area. This track is unformed, so be prepared for a bit of a challenge as you climb a small hill on the left side of the Mill-bullah waterholes and down the other side to follow the creek into the gorge.

The walls of the gorge are spectacularly colourful, and the cool shelter offers a nice picnic spot amid the dramatic setting of the NSW Western Plains. In spring, you’ll find a myriad of wildflowers here, and the gorge is also studded with fig trees. Don't forget your camera and binoculars for some great birdwatching.

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/waa-gorge-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Waa Gorge walking track.

Track grading

Grade 5

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

    2 - 3hrs

  • Quality of markings

    No directional signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    2.5km return

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough unformed track

  • Experience required

    Experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Waa Gorge walking track is in the Waa Gorge precinct of Mount Kaputar National Park. Allambie Road is dry weather access only. To get there:

From Narrabri:

  • Travel north along Newell Highway towards Moree for 3km
  • Turn right onto Killarney Gap Road (Bingara Road).
  • After about 21km, turn left onto Melburra Road (SR3 to Terry Hie Hie).
  • After approximately 30km, you’ll reach a T-junction. Turn right on Allambie Road to Waa Gorge.
  • Travel 6.5km to the park entrance. Waa Gorge carpark and picnic area is a further 1.5km.

From Moree:

  • Travel east on Gwydir Highway towards Warialda
  • After 6.2km, turn right to Terry Hie Hie.
  • Travel about 35km through Terry Hie Hie and take the left fork through the Berrygil portion of Terry Hie Hie Aboriginal Area. Travel 14km and turn left onto Allambie Road.
  • Travel 6.5km to the park entrance. Waa Gorge carpark and picnic area is a further 1.5km.

Road quality

  • Check the weather before you set out as the road to Waa Gorge can become boggy when it rains.
  • Allambie Road is dry weather access only and passes through private property, so please respect landholders by leaving gates as you find them and staying off wet roads.

Parking

Parking is available at Waa Gorge picnic area.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Mount Kaputar National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

This is one of the best times of year to visit the park, with ideal temperatures for bush walking, cycling and camping.

Spring

A beautiful time of year to enjoy the abundant wildflowers and birds.

Summer

Escape the heat of the plains by heading up into the park.

Winter

Experience the mist surrounding the high plateau area and enjoy the beauty of the occasional blanketing of snow. Be prepared for the temperatures about 10°C cooler than in the nearby town of Narrabri.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

21°C and 35°C

Highest recorded

43.4°C

Winter temperature

Average

7°C and 18°C

Lowest recorded

-5.6°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

January

Driest month

August

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

188mm

Facilities

Drinking water is limited or not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

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.

The walking opportunities in this park are suitable for experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable undertaking self-reliant hiking. Be sure to take care and note your surroundings, as there is no formed track and the walk can become tricky after rain. 

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).

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

Firewood is not supplied and may not be collected from the park.

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.

Nearby towns

Bingara (53 km)

Bingara is situated on the beautiful Gwydir River in the Gwydir River Valley and is home to the 1930s Art Deco Roxy Theatre and the refurbished Roxy (Greek) Cafe. This historic former goldmining town is popular today with anglers and fossickers.

www.visitnsw.com

Moree (62 km)

Join a Heritage and Art Deco Guided Walk to uncover Moree's outstanding collection of period architecture. Wander along the main street of Moree which showcases heritage-listed buildings influenced by American, Egyptian, Greek and Spanish design practices. 

www.visitnsw.com

Narrabri (42 km)

Explore Pilliga Forest to see salt caves, native flora and fauna, and bore baths, or enjoy camping and bushwalking in Mt Kaputar National Park. Mt Kaputar's summit offers magnificent panoramic views, and there's excellent cabin accommodation within the park.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Waa Gorge walking track is in Mount Kaputar National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A harsh lifestyle

Scutts Hutt, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Ian Brown

Several pioneering families lived in the Mount Kaputar area in extremely harsh conditions. Stockmen looked after sheep and cattle on the Kaputar Plateau, often going for months without seeing another person. Enjoy a walk to the historic Scutts Hut to experience the pioneers' harsh lifestyle. The Scutt family lived in the hut in the 1940s and 50s, and it has been carefully restored to its original condition. Most of the materials to build the hut and furniture were brought in by horse - even the rainwater tank.

An ancient heritage

Views from Eckfords lookout, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

Mount Kaputar National Park is the traditional Country of the Gamilaroi Aboriginal people. The park provided a rich resource for food, medicines, shelter and weapons and the landscape is part of Dreaming stories. Reminders of the Gamilaroi's connection to this ancient landscape are evident in Aboriginal rock carvings, campsites, marks on trees and axe grinding grooves throughout the park.

Colourful locals

Pink Slug (Triboniophorus aff. graeffei), Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

Mount Kaputar is famous for a very unusual, colourful local - a bright pink slug. It can be seen after rain on rocks, trees and amongst the leaf litter. With birds from both the east and west meeting together at Mount Kaputar, the park is also a wonderful place to go bird watching. More than 185 bird species live in the park, so don't forget your binoculars. A torch will also come in handy for seeing some of the other locals that come out at night, including possums and greater gliders. And watch out for the many kangaroos and wallabies, too.

  • Dawsons Spring nature trail Dawsons Spring nature trail is an easy walk from Dawsons Spring campground in Mount Kaputar National Park, near Narrabri. Great for families, you'll enjoy seasonal waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife spotting.
  • Euglah Rock walking track Ideal for walking with kids, Euglah Rock walking track in Mount Kaputar National Park leads to a lookout offering stunning scenic views of Euglah Rock and beyond.

Action or relaxation

Verandah of Logan cabin, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH

Mount Kaputar National Park is packed with walks, cycling and 4WD trails, plus plenty of scenic spots for camping and picnicking. Test your mountain bike legs up the steep Mount Kaputar Road to the Kaputar Plateau, or the challenging Barraba track. Enjoy a bite to eat at a serene picnic area before walking it off as you take in the stunning scenery. Don't miss the incredible Sawn Rocks formation. There's so much to see, why not book a cabin or set up camp for a few days to make the most of your country getaway.

  • Sawn Rocks picnic area Sawn Rocks picnic area is located at the start of Sawn Rocks walking track in Mount Kaputar National Park. It’s ideal for barbecues and picnics with scenic views of North West NSW.
  • Waa Gorge picnic area Waa Gorge is one of Mount Kaputar National Park’s most stunning attractions, and this picnic area offers enough sights to enjoy the show over a long lunch.

Over 20 million years in the making

Mount Kaputar, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Ian Brown

Two volcanos pushed Mount Kaputar high above the plains, and millions of years of erosion have carved a dramatic landscape of narrow valleys and steep ridges. Many of the mountains are ancient lava terraces. Experience ancient history for yourself by standing on Lindsay Rock Tops - an excellent example of a lava terrace. Or visit Sawn Rocks to see one of Australia's best examples of a spectacular rock formation called organ-piping - it really does look like a wall of giant organ pipes.

  • Bundabulla circuit walking track Bundabulla circuit walking track connects several walking tracks together. It offers a terrific bushwalking experience with places to picnic along the way and views of Mount Kaputar and surrounds.
  • Dawsons Spring nature trail Dawsons Spring nature trail is an easy walk from Dawsons Spring campground in Mount Kaputar National Park, near Narrabri. Great for families, you'll enjoy seasonal waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife spotting.
  • Doug Sky lookout Doug Sky lookout in Mount Kaputar National Park offers scenic views over north-west NSW and Warrumbungles.
  • Governor lookout walking track Enjoy scenic mountain views over Grattai wilderness area from Governor lookout walking track.
  • Kaputar scenic drive Kaputar scenic drive is a 20km driving route through dramatic landscapes, with access to lookouts, picnic spots and walking tracks.
  • Sawn Rocks walking track This easy walk beside a shady creek bed leads you to a spectacular rock formation - the unique, organ-pipe cliff face of Sawn Rocks and scenic views.
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Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Plants

  • Wonga Wonga vine. Photo: Barry Collier

    Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)

    The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

    An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

Waa Gorge walking track, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Jessica Stokes