Danny Yee, Camilla Ip
(thumbnails link to larger images)
We had planned to go to Burning Mountain in the afternoon, but it was
a stinking hot day - it reached 43° C (nearly 110° F) in Scone
that afternoon - so we waited before leaving, and ended up starting the
walk around 6.10pm.
The Burning Mountain walk
starts from a
(signposted) carpark just off the New England Highway, about 20km north
of Scone. According to the sign at the start, it takes 1.5 to 2 hours
for the return walk.
If you're interested in the ecology and geology of the walk,
there's a great pamphlet put out by the National Parks and Wildlife
Service. This doesn't, however, provide a map, or any idea how
long the walk is, either in distance or time. Less extensive
information about Burning Mountain Nature Reserve is available on the
NSW NCCW site.
It was still pretty warm on the way up. We took our time and stopped
to watch spiders, Noisy Friarbirds, Eastern Rosellas, several skinks, and lots
a kangaroo on the path
In the open area around the top we ran into a couple of kangaroos --
an Eastern Grey and a Red-necked Wallaby.
Burning Mountain itself is the result of an underground coal seam which
has been on fire for at least 5000 years. (Along the track on the way
up we had passed subsidence cracks and a natural "brick pit".) It is
the only known example of this in Australia, and apparently one of only
three in the world.
We cooked a light dinner on the viewing platform at the top, while
watching the sun set over the volcano-like peak of Burning Mountain.
In the valley below we could see a dozen or so kangaroos grazing.
We walked back down in the dark. No echidnas were to be seen, but there
were bats chirping and we heard the possum gliders up in the canopy,
thunking their way between the trees. And on our way back to Scone we
saw a wombat trotting across the highway.