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Burning Mountain (Mount Wingen)

Home > New South Wales > Adventure | Free | National Parks | Outdoor | Walks
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published August 28th 2020
Discover fascinating natural and cultural heritage
Burning Mountain (officially, "Mount Wingen") on Wonnarua Country in the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales, is thought to contain the oldest burning coal seam in the world.

The top of Burning Mountain near Wingen
Fascinating Burning Mountain near Wingen


This rare phenomenon is accessible to visitors via a New South Wales National Parks walking track. This 4km return track is relatively steep, but well-formed. It is recommended that visitors allow 1-2 hours to complete the walk.

The 4Km return track has some steep sections, but our primary school aged children found it fascinating
The 4Km return track has some steep sections, but our primary school aged children found it fascinating


The coal seam fire has been burning for at least 5500 years, and is gradually making its way up the mountain at a rate of about one metre per year, hindered by the lack of oxygen where it burns about 30 metres beneath the surface.

Although 30 metres beneath the surface, the smouldering fire has a vivid impact upon the environment
Although 30 metres beneath the surface, the smouldering fire has a vivid impact upon the environment


As you head out on the trail, the effect of the burning beneath the surface gradually becomes evident. Although there is healthy vegetation surrounding the path at the bottom of the mountain, this becomes more sparce, with trees increasingly stunted as you ascend.

There is a stark contrast between the bottom of the mountain where the vegetation has recovered, and the top where the fire continues to burn
Looking back across the bottom of the mountain which has recovered from its brush with the underground fire


Interpretive signs have been installed along the way, including the Aboriginal Dreaming story of the mountain shared with visitors on information panels, as well as the science behind the phenomenon of the burning mountain.

Interpretive signs are installed along the trail
Fascinating interpretive signs are installed along the trail


As walkers near the top there is a lot of white stone with an ashen appearance indicating the path that the fire took beneath the surface.

Areas the fire passed beneath more recently remain white with little vegetation
Areas the fire passed beneath more recently remain white with little vegetation


The trail ends with a viewing platform over the current, bright soil that is almost void of all vegetation above the current smoldering of the fire.

Walkers are rewarded with a viewing platform looking across the current area being burnt
Walkers are rewarded with a viewing platform looking across the area being burnt at present


Burning Mountain near the town of Wingen is approximately 225Km north of Sydney and 25Km north of Scone, and is well signposted from the New England Highway. Facilities include a car park, public toilets, and an information shed, making this an ideal road-trip break for anyone travelling through this beautiful area.

Fascinating, beautiful, and with ideal facilities for a road-trip stop, Burning Mountain is well worth a visit for anyone travelling through the area
Fascinating, beautiful, and with ideal facilities for a road-trip stop, Burning Mountain is well worth a visit for anyone travelling through the area
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Why? Burning Mountain with its fascinating natural and cultural heritage is an ideal stop when travelling through the area on the New England Highway
When: 7am-7pm
Phone: 1300 072 757
Where: Wingen, New South Wales
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Will add this to the list for myself and Mr 8 years old.
by Kerenza Korostovetz (score: 2|204) 183 days ago
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