Cranky Rock Nature Reserve

The best places are often those that have been recommended by other travellers, but sometimes you see the name of a place and you say to yourself “I just have to go there and check it out”.

Cranky Rock Nature Reserve is only five kilometres out of Warialda and a further three kilometres from the Gwydir Highway, so it’s very easy to get to. That in itself was a surprise when we arrived to find very few people at the campsite. This is a very special place and I was sure it would be crowded, but thankfully it wasn’t.


The main features of this place are the jumble of granite boulders that are scattered around the area, in particular one very large ‘balancing’ rock sitting up above a beautiful billabong. There are spectacular views all around this area and you can take the most amazing ones in from the purpose-build viewing platform sitting high above the water.

You don’t need to be an exponent of ‘extreme bushwalking and rock climbing’ to get there, the path is easily accessible and a very pleasant walk. Starting out over a lovely old suspension bridge (don’t forget to break step) you can ‘take a left’ down to the sandy waterside and admire the rock formations from below while enjoying the creek and waterhole. They say you can catch a fish there but all we saw were turtles.

Back up the track towards the platform and you walk past the famous Cranky Rock, and boy; is it big!

The big rock sits up there like it’s part of some massive sculpture. It has been weathered away over millennia and seems to have been carefully placed in the most extreme position. Once you get past the big fella, you can move up to the viewing platform and gaze at the expanse of smaller balancing rocks, split rocks and other geological marvels. The view across the surrounding plains and hills is worth the walk alone.

The last option is a very easy walk through the kangaroo and emu area, where you should see plenty of wildlife as well as even more sensational rock displays amongst the bush.



The campsite also caters for day-trippers and picnickers who can get to this place easily from Inverell or Warialda. There are good facilities for powered and non-powered sites as well as BBQ’s picnic tables, toilets and showers, but I imagine the sites would fill very quickly during a busy time of the year.

One of the features of the campsite and picnic area is the animals, both native and introduced. There is a multitude of birdlife including King Parrots, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Lorrikeets, Magpies and even Emus, as well as some amazing Peacocks. There were three Peacocks around the area while we were there and we saw a couple of great ‘tail displays’.

This is a fabulous little spot to be overwhelmed by nature and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from a couple of busy town

Do yourself a favour and put it on the list.

Warialda ‘Place of Wild Honey’, is an attractive small town with a population of 1300, it is one of the major towns of the Gwydir Shire in north-western NSW.

Fireman Ron & Di Sinclair



State: New South Wales

CIAA Accredited: N/A

Contact Details

296 Cranky Rock Rd, Warialda NSW 2402, Australia

(02) 6729 0046

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