There are plenty of ways to explore Mount Augustus – here are four ideas to get you started.
Published April 2019
It’s not hard to imagine why Mount Augustus, also known as Burringurrah, is sacred to the local Wajarri people. Rising 715 metres into the sky, with a length of eight kilometres, the impressive rock formation is the world’s largest rock. More than twice the size of Uluru – and at least as pretty. Home to ancient rock art, freshwater pools and numerous hiking trails, it’s a natural playground ripe for exploring. Here are four ways to get to know this mighty rock.
Mount Augustus National Park
Arriving at Mount Augustus is quite an experience. You’ll know when you’re getting close thanks its sheer scale which looms, bigger than any IMAX screen, beyond the human eye’s line of sight. Resist the urge to hop out of the car and immediately begin exploring on foot, though – there’s a fantastic drive around the rock’s base, the Mount Augustus Loop Drive, which takes about 45 minutes and sets the scene for the adventure to come. As you circle the base, different angles offer fascinating nuances in the rock’s shape and landscape; compare the thickly forested south side to the sparse red outcrops of its northern face.
The nine day road to the rock road trip from Perth, is just as rewarding, taking you through the hinterland of WA, through wildflowers and station stays.
There are some key differences between Mount Augustus and little sister, Uluru – like the fact that there are no restrictions on climbing this rock. An epic adventure that takes between six and eight hours return, the Mount Augustus Summit Trail leads you up one side of the rock face and along its saddle before a scramble to the peak leaves you feeling on top of the world. The views up here are beyond impressive, offering 360-degree vision that extends for kilometres. This 12km walk is generally recommended for for visiors with a high level of fitness. Make out nearby mountain ranges and wave to the small green oasis vaguely resembling the Tourist Park, back at ground zero. Pack a sandwich and at least 4 litres of water per person – you’ll want both while you take in the view. Inside a small box, atop the picnic table at the very top of the rock, a small surprise waits. What’s inside? You’ll have to climb it to see!
Mount Augustus National Park
From the pool
Prefer to admire the rock from a comfortable distance (or looking for somewhere to cool off after your hike)? You’re in luck. Cattle Pool is the rock’s very own natural bath, fed by a freshwater creek and surrounded by tranquil gumtrees. Bring an inflatable tyre and while away the afternoon, floating on its surface and gazing up at the enormous icon (it’s right in front of you). Afterwards, recline on the banks with a book, or head back to Mount Augustus Tourist Park to join other visitors for a beer at the campground’s adorable open-air bar.
On a picnic rug
As the sun sets on another day, Mount Augustus puts on a spectacular show of colours – and there’s no better spot to enjoy the view than Emu Lookout. This striking vantage point truly showcases the rock using its best angles; its resemblance to Uluru can seem quite incredible! Pack a picnic rug and settle in as the rock changes from fiery ochre, to vermillion red, to a gentle pink, to a smoky mauve; if you’re looking for an opportunity to pop a bottle of champagne, this would be it. Along the ground in spring, spot purple carpets of native Mulla Mulla before nightfall draws its curtain.