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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Mt Warning ‘fouled by Bogans’

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The summit of Mt Warning/Wollumbin is a popular tourist destination, but litter is fouling the experience for many. Photo australiangeographic.com.au
The summit of Mt Warning/Wollumbin is a popular tourist destination, but litter is fouling the experience for many. Photo australiangeographic.com.au

Luis Feliu

The northern rivers’ iconic Mount Warning in the heart of the Tweed Valley, visited by more than 100,000 tourists each year to trek to its panoramic summit, is being fouled to a sickening extent, according to a local bushwalker.

The bushwalking club member says a recent visit to the mountain, also known by its Aboriginal name Wollumbin, disgusted him with its ‘cesspit of rubbish, toilet paper, banana skins and goodness knows what else’.

Lennox Head local Peter Weallans told Echonetdaily he was so incensed with what he saw he decided to complain about it to National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and, for the first time in his life, write to local media about it.

Mr Weallans said he had been a bushwalking club member for 35 years yet had never seen such filth on a tourist track.

‘The ascent was littered with toilet paper, the toilet paper in many cases fresh and consisting of brown dot paintings,’ he wrote.

‘No exaggeration, the underneath of the viewing platforms were strewn with rubbish.

‘Having lunch and smelling the strong scent of a fresh turd wafting in the breeze was sickening.

‘I know that my turd comment may sound humorous but I couldn’t have descended fast enough from the summit .

Mt Warning is supposed to be World Heritage but I see it is as a national embarrassment. I am inclined to raise this issue with Tourism NSW.

‘I don’t know what the solution is other than education and signage.

‘I recognise that the department (of environment) has a limited budget, but with the mountain being a tourism mecca, someone has to give thought in how to combat the plethora of bogan day trippers who have no respect for the environment.

Girraween National Park, Cooloola National Park, Mt Barney and Mt Maroon in Queensland for example are all but litter free,’ Mr Weallans concluded.

Echonetdaily is waiting for a response from the NPWS.

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  1. Coming back to Australia from overseas, where in the Western US at least, people carry their trash out, and the ethic is to pick up and carry out any odd trash seen as well, it was a shock to see the massive amounts of trash left in “national parks” to the South. If that has now invaded our parks here, and particularly sacred sites deserving extra respect like Mt Warning, then action must be taken to encourage respect and preserve the attractiveness of our region.

  2. Why am I not surprised?
    No matter where I go I see discarded rubbish. What is wrong with these people?
    If the majority of climbers are part of a bus group then an answer may be to chat to the tourism operators. It would be in their interest to keep attractions clean too. A good start is for them to make sure the group know they must only leave their footprints and as per Paul’s comment carry out their rubbish with them.

    • The problem with that Mullum Rush, is that ethical operators don’t take people to climb the mountain as is against the wishes of the Bundjalung elders.

  3. The same thing is happening at our local waterhole. For years there has been rubbish left by these ‘nature lovers’, but now the very edge of our pathway is also strewn with toilet paper and faeces! Disgusting! I had stepped only one foot into the bush to pull out a weed and was horrified to find human faeces plastered to the bottom of my boot.

    The call of Nature is real in more ways than one, but seriously, if you have to poo, dig a hole! Bury it! Such lack of respect for the iconic natural beauty and sacredness of these sites is appalling, and the lack of care for fellow visitors is totally irresponsible.

    Those who don’t treat such cherished places with due respect don’t deserve the delight of visiting them. Stay home.

  4. Peter Weallans,
    I have not been to the top for a while, but I do get to the third helicopter platform.
    I need a bushwalking group to spur me on to the top or the AC/DC video “It is a Long Way to the Top”
    Thank God there is someone like you Peter, looking out, as in Tweed Heads the Tom Beaton Lookout has a great outlook at Razorback Outlook but it has been closed by Tweed Shire Council.
    And on the Tweed Shire website they want opinions whether Tweed Council should open that lookout.
    So Look out everyone for just how long Razorback will be closed.
    What I notice on Mt Warning is that most walkers are young vile “Me big Tarzan” types with a “Jane” in tow and Tarzan swings on the vines and palms and bring them down onto the trail to impress his Jane.
    You know the types, the ones that go to Mt Warning with surf boards on the roof rack, ready to surf after Mt Warning and then run a marathon before going to the gym to do 100 push-ups while eating their bananas.
    And guess what? Those idiots are encouraged to climb Mt Warning but not Razorback Lookout, Tweed Heads.

  5. The most significant issue relates to the fact that Bundjalung elders do not wish any people to ascend Wollumbin at all. It is a sacred site where historically the local Cleverman would take apprentices to the summit to talk to God only after they had completed a number of cleansing rituals. Furthermore it is said that the Wollumbin summit is the tip of a massive relay crystal that telegraphs the spiritual energy of the summit to the entire Wollumbin caldera, extending from Mt.Tambourine in the north to Ballina in the south. So if people are dumping crap up there, energetic crap is then transmitted throughout the region. The bogans in parliament are the ones who are truly culpable, allowing access a sacred site and ignoring the wishes of the local aboriginals.

    • Couldn’t agree more Jason. I would go a step further and say all the people who ignore the wishes of the Bundjalung elders are Bogans. Why people can’t just enjoy its majestic power without climbing it, is simply beyond me.

  6. I always try to take home my rubbish and a bit extra to offset unconscious pig behaviour (sorry pigs, is a way to talk)

  7. It is a sacred place for the Bunjalung people, they request that initiated people not climb the mountain. So in my opinion everyone who climbs the mountain are Bogans, people leaving their rubbish and faeces is simply more salt in the wounds.

  8. I agree with the disgust about littering anywhere and in National Parks in particular. It is disgusting and not to tolerate. Climbing Wollumbin is one of the main tourist attractions in the Tweed Shire. Firstly this is an official NSW National Park and the Summit Track is maintained by National Park and Wildlife Service staff with tax payers money. Approximately 60,000 people per anno decide to do the climb. These climbers might have a different opinion about the right to climb the mountain contrary to the opinion of some other readers. But calling them bogans for the fact that their have a different opinion and decide to climb the mountain makes me think some people should have a good hard look at their understanding of respecting other people opinions in our shire. If we spin the idea about respecting aboriginal culture a bit further most of us shouldn’t be here at the first place.


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