Ancient Volcano with Panoramic Views
The distinctive curved silhouette of Wollumbin Mount Warning represents the last defiant stand of an ancient volcano that once utterly dominated this landscape.
Today’s landscape was carved by the activity and destruction of the enormous Tweed Shield Volcano. Beyond the mountain, the bowl-shaped coastline and rich soils of Northern NSW also hint at this region’s fiery history.
After the volcano’s collapse, the largest caldera in the southern hemisphere—The Tweed Valley—was formed. The majestic Wollumbin Mount Warning is the centrepiece of the Byron hinterland and coastline.
Let’s discover Wollumbin Mount Warning and the dramatic landscape it rises above.
A Brief History of Wollumbin Mount Warning
Wollumbin Mount Warning is the pinnacle of Northern NSW’s luscious coastal landscape.
It was once part of the crater rim of the enormous Tweed shield volcano that poured lava over an area in excess of 7,000km2. The volcano collapsed 23 million years ago, forming one of the world’s largest calderas – a huge crater 40km in diameter.
The peak’s tilted summit, which gives it an almost teardrop appearance, is a ubiquitous feature of the skyline as far south as Byron Bay. Captain Cook named the peak Mount Warning in 1770. Visible from the ocean, the peak warned mariners of the treacherous offshore reefs along this stretch of coastline.
Its Aboriginal name, Wollumbin, was added in 2009. This Bundjalung word gives a sense of how this peak dominates the surrounding landscape, meaning ‘fighting chief of the mountains’. It’s easy to see why this name was given as the mountain stands like a warrior.
Breath-taking Scenery at Every Turn
The luscious rainforests of Bundjalung country reach across the hinterland of Northern NSW. Everything here grows in rich volcanic soil, carpeting the region in stunning green forests and colourful flora.
Immediately surrounding the peak is the Wollumbin National Park.
One notable inhabitant of this World Heritage-listed area is the rare Antarctic Beech Nothofagus moorei, found here in significant number.
The Green Caldera and our Richly Abundant Foodbowl
Among the rainforest stretches the abundant farmland known as the Green Cauldron –the Northern Rivers’ sumptuous food bowl. The mineral-rich volcanic soils and favourable subtropical climate deliver fresh, flavoursome produce year-round.
Sustainably-grown fruit, vegetables and other bush foods grow here in abundance along with delicious grass-fed wagyu beef.
This provides endless culinary inspiration for the region’s gourmets. That includes Simon Jones, chef at Azure Bar and Grill, who provides a truly provincial paddock-to-plate experience with his breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
To sample local produce direct from the growers of the Green Cauldron, visit the weekly Byron Farmer’s Market. Stallholders include Nimbin Valley Dairy, Wiccawood Farm Products and Mount Warning Honey.
Respecting Sacred Land
Wollumbin is a traditional place of spiritual education, cultural law and initiation to the people of the Bundjalung Nation and has long been considered a sacred place of great spiritual significance.
Under Bundjalung law, only specifically appointed people are permitted to climb Wollumbin. Out of respect for their law and culture the Bundjalung ask that you consider choosing not to climb.
While the Arakwal people ask you to choose not to climb out of respect for their law and culture, that isn’t the only reason for their request.
The aboriginal people feel a great sense of responsibility for the safety of all visitors.
The Woolumbin Mt Warning walk isn’t without its difficulties. If visitors get injured it can create a lot of emotion, worry and anxiety for the indigenous people.
More than 100,000 people climb the mountain each year despite signage indicating the aboriginal community’s views on climbing.
There are numerous ways to explore and enjoy this stunning natural hotspot while respecting the land’s traditional owners.
Tweed Valley Daytrip
The helpful Wollumbin National Park visitor guide also contains further information on what to see and do in the area.
Image Credit: Adventure in Growing
Want more inspiration for things to do in Byron Bay? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay.