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Mount Warning is located in Northern New South Wales, Australia. The mountains Aboriginal name is Wollumbin, a sacred place and of great significance to the people of Bundjalung. The name 'Wollumbin' means 'fighting chief of the mountains'. This is because the Aboriginal people believed that the lightning and thunder occuring on the mountain were warriors and landslides were wounds obtained in battle. Under Bundjalung law, only specifically chosen people are allowed to climb Wollumbin. They ask that you consider choosing not to climb out of respect for their law and culture.

The mountain was named by Captain Cook to warn future mariners of offshore reefs he encountered in 1770. Mount Warning was dedicated as a national park in 1966, and was added to the World Heritage listings in 1975. Mount Warning is the first place in Australia to see the sun rise each day, with people climbing up at night with torches to be the first people to see the sun rise each morning and is visited by over 60,000 people each year. The climb to the top is 9 kilometres return and takes around 4-5 hours to complete, with the summit being 1157 m above sea level. The whole walk is quite steep; with the last 200 metres there is a chain to help you climb up the rocks.

The parks area in total is 2,379 hectares, with the Tweed River running through. Mount Warning, at the heart of the park, is part of an extinct volcano and is the central plug of the Tweed shield volcano. This 'Tweed Caldera' is one of the largest and best examples of an erosion caldera in the world. Twenty million years ago the height of the volcano was twice the present height of Mount Warning.
The height of the volcano alone was sufficient to trap moisture-laden air from the coast. Over the millennium the small streams produced by this trapped moisture carved out this unique landform. Today, the average annual rainfall is 2500 mm, with a 75 mm average in September, the driest month. The way in which the land was formed is a result of the different erosion rates of the two main rock types of basalt and rhyolite. The original shield was mostly formed by the more erosive basalts which has now isolated the less erosive central area (which is Mount Warning itself) from the rest of the shield. The Tweed Caldera also includes McPherson, Tweed, Nightcap and Koonyum Ranges which Mount Warning is encircled by. These ranges mostly consist of the less erosive rhyolite, with areas of basalt on plateaus, foothills and lowland basins.
Because of these two dominant rock types in the Tweed Caldera, they are each weathered to give very different soil types. On the plateaus, the basalt rocks weather to form krasnozems, which are highly weathered red-clayey soils. On the slopes below, the basalt produces prairie soils which are brown to grey in colour and are less acidic than krasnozems. Both are moderately fertile and tend to support rainforest and wet sclerophyll vegetation.
Conversely, the rhyolites tend to produce less fertile yellow podsolic soils and support drier eucalypt vegetation types.

The warm subtropical rainforest that is found on Mount Warning is common on warm, protected, fertile soils such as sites of basalt derived soils with high rainfall below 800 metres elevation. Rich in such nonvascular plants as palms, trees with trunk buttressing, woody vines and large epiphytes. Among the tree species are giant stinging trees, figs, booyongs, carabeens, brush box, and flame trees. The endangered flora found in this area includes;

  • the Redfruited ebony (Diospyros mabacea) which is confined to the Tweed Valley
  • southern ochrosia (Ochrosia moorei)
  • southern fontainea (Fontainea australis)
  • green-leaved rose walnut (Endiandra muelleri ssp bracteata).
Vulnerable flora species include
  • red lily pilly (Syzygium hodgkinsoniae)
  • ball nut (Floydia praealta)
  • red bopple nut (Hichsbeachia pinnatifolia)
  • rough-leaved Queensland nut (Macadamia tetraphylla)
  • heart-leaved Bosistoa (Bosistoa selwynii)
  • and the herb Isoglossa eranthemoides found at lower altitudes.

In 1988 a project was started to help the threatened and rare rainforest species of the Tweed Caldera. Approximately 40 rare and threatened species are represented in several planted clumps amongst the rainforest, totalling approximately 2000 plantings. Regular weed control works are required in the whole area.

A variety of birds, mammals and reptiles may be seen in the park. Birds are abundant; over 100 species have been recorded, including the rare and endangered rufous scrub-bird, wompoo pigeon, marbled frogmouth, and Albert's lyrebird.
Introduced animals known to occur in the Mount Warning area include red fox (Vulpes vulpes), wild dog (Canis spp.), feral cat (Felis catis), European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), black rat (Rattus rattus) and cane toad (Bufo marinus). The wild dog, fox and cat compete with and prey on native animals which can stress native animal populations, particularly mammals, birds and reptiles. The fox and rabbit can cause soil erosion from disturbance to vegetation and digging of dens and burrows. They can also compete with native ground dwelling animals for shelter. Cane toads are thought to compete with and prey on native frogs and may poison frog-eating native animals. Further research is required to determine their distribution and abundance in the region.
Threatened mammals that live in the park include;

  • koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)
  • little bentwing-bat (Miniopterus australis)
  • common bentwing-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii)
  • eastern long-eared bat (Nyctophilus bifax)
  • spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)
  • brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa)
  • squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis)
  • common blossom-bat (Syconycteris australis)
  • sooty owl (Tyto tenebricosa)

Photos: http://www.kinstitute.com/mtwarningphotographs.html
Someones personal account of the Mount Warning climb: http://www.bigvolcano.com.au/stories/climb/mountain.htm
JUST when I posted this the computer decided it doesn't really want to do what I tell it to, and I still have a couple of things to fix in this node. I will be back in a couple of hours, so if there is something wrong, it will be fixed then. Sorry about that!

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