Ever thought it would be fun to wake up at 3:30am, climb a 8.8km return mountain and be the first in Australia to see the sunrise? Mt Warning is reputed to be the first place in mainland Australia to see the sunrise in Winter, so we camped at the base of the mountain, set our alarms to 3am and woke up to a FREEZING cold July morning.
My phone told me it was around 2 degrees, so we started the climb very rugged up - slowly having to undress as it became more and more strenuous. As with everything, I had extreme FOMO and basically ran the entire hour uphill with poor Jon following. I was very surprised at the amount of people climbing in the middle of winter and so early in the morning, so be warned - the path can get very crowded and if you’re keen to get to the top in a hurry you might have to do a few polite “excuse me’s!”
It was worth the extra effort to get to the top first, the platform at summit is quite small in comparison to the amount of people climbing and it gets very crowded, very quickly! We discovered a few people once we reached summit who had slept up there - they were so cold they polished off a whole bottle of vodka trying to warm up and ended up missing most of the sunrise! The views were absolutely breathtaking, we were very lucky to have a beautiful clear day with just a little fog.
The climb down was even more beautiful than watching the sunrise, as when you’re climbing up it’s pitch black (don’t forget to bring a head torch!) and you have no idea what your surroundings are. Once you start descending all of the birds start singing and you get the most amazing views, so we took our time climbing down (about 2 hours) to really soak it all in!
We camped at Mt Warning Rainforest Park in their “Wilderness Area” which was a powered site and had a beautiful rainforest setting. You are also able to have camp fires here which is a huge bonus for us! Just down the road are two incredible restaurants - “Mavis’s Kitchen” and “Rainforest” - we had dinner at Mavis’s and lunch at Rainforest and absolutely loved them both.
I had organised the trip as a birthday present for us both and had the kids looked after, I know some people take their children up but ours were too young and waking them in the freezing cold didn’t seem like the best idea. We would love to take the kids camping here though, being able to have a camp fire and be so close to little rainforest walks and creeks would be something they would really enjoy. There are also a lot of gorgeous little towns to visit and Springbrook or Lamington National Park are only a short drive away.
Let me know if you decide to give this mountain a go for sunrise! I’ve had people tell me they absolutely loved it and some that say they were underwhelmed, personally it was one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever stayed and the sunrise climb gave me all the feels. We took the photo below right after finishing the climb, I think it sums it up!