#ourwapark of the week: Mount Augustus National Park

Photo: Australia’s Golden Outback

Rising 715 metres above the surrounding alluvial plain, Mount Augustus is an inselberg, meaning ‘island mountain’. There are rocky creeks, gorges and open plains supporting a variety of vegetation and wildlife.

The granite formation is about eight kilometres long, covers an area of 4,795 hectares and is estimated to be 1,750 million years old.

There’s a walk trail for everyone – from the climb to the summit (taking 5-8 hours and requiring a high level of fitness) to short walks on flat terrain of 300 or 500m, and everything in-between.  All walk trails in the park are essentially unmodified with ground level trail marking dots to follow.

How to get there:

  • Mount Augustus is a two-day drive from Perth via Carnarvon or Meekatharra. The park is 465km from Carnarvon via Gascoyne Junction. The 172km road between Carnarvon and Gascoyne Junction is sealed but all other roads in the area are unsealed. Be aware that there are long distances between settlements, supplies and services – this is outback Australia.
  • The 49km Loop Drive around Mount Augustus allows access to all visitor sites within the park. This circuit offers views of the changing faces of the rock and access to a number of key sites including rocky creek gorges, caves, Aboriginal rock art, picnic sites, walk trails and a variety of wildlife on the rock, plain and water courses.

What you may not know about the park:

  • The Mount Augustus Sandstone, at about 1.6 billion years old, is about three times older than the sandstone of Uluru.
  • Unlike Uluru, hiking on Mount Augustus is not discouraged. There are several walking tracks, including the 12km-return Summit Trail, which takes an average six hours to complete and provides extensive views over the surrounding plain and distant ranges.
  • In 1895 gold was discovered on the Lyons River. It was brief and small goldrush attracting less than 50 miners.
  • In 1989, 9,168 ha of land was released from Mount Augustus Station and declared a National Park.