Exploring Cathedral Rock National Park at Sunrise
Distance: 6km Loop
Difficulty: Intermediate (lots of climbing over boulders at the end)
Time: 3 Hours
Bring: Camera, grippy shoes
Early in July my family and I decided to go on a camping trip to Cathedral Rock National Park in NSWs. We turned off Waterfall Way and began driving through a mixture of bushland and farmland. It was hard to hide our excitement as the silhouette of large boulders atop a mountain came into view.
In the dying light it was easy to imagine the silhouetted formation was a sleeping giant like something from a fairy tale.
We set up our camp site and began to make plans for the following days adventure. My sister and I decided for an early morning start to watch the sunrise from the top. The other boys opted for a sleep in.
The day started early with a 4:30 am wake up as the sound of my alarm cut through the cold morning air. We were camping in the Barokee Campground around a 1 hour hike from the top of the boulders of Cathedral Rock.
With a quick breakfast filling our bellies, we packed a few snacks, filled our water bottles and then set out in the pitch black. Using the lights of our phones to light the way we began the hike to the top with our fingers crossed for a spectacular sunrise.
It was so cold that you could see our breath in the torchlight.
Majority of the walk was rather easy going with not too much elevation until the very end. By the time we had reached the summit turnoff there was enough light to see without our torches. The next 400m is pretty much clambering over boulders and through crevices until you reach the top. This part of the walk gives you a real sense of exploring with a great reward at the end.
We climbed the final chains up onto the largest boulder and were blown away! Both figuratively and literally. The view was even better than I had imagined and the wind was so strong that we were nearly blown off the top. We pulled our beanies down tight and found a little nook in the rock to watch the sunrise out of the wind.
From the very top we were spoilt with 360 degree views of the landscape below. The colours were amazing making it hard to put my camera down. After posing for a few (hundred) selfies and watching the sunrise, we decided to explore the rest of the boulders.
We explored the area for around another hour climbing over, under and through the huge pile of boulders that lay before us, before beginning the walk back to the campsite for lunch.
With the sun above us the return walk was a pleasure. The bushland was stunning in the light of day as the track wound back down the hill around smaller piles of mossy boulders and lush green ferns. Our bellies began grumbling as the last views of the sleeping giant disappeared from sight.
The boulders of Cathedral Rocks were formed millions of years ago by the Ebor volcano. Molten rock was forced into cracks deep within the earth's crust. Over millions of years the earth’s crust was slowly weathered away leaving the large granite boulders balancing on top of each other as they can be seen today.