Chris came to my hometown of the Gold Coast for a week over the 2013/2014 holiday period to visit my family and friends. We had a great time going to the beach, kayaking, socialising and soaking up the much-needed sunshine (after living in London we were both very white and ghostly!).
We decided it was time to do our first mountain hike together. We chose Mt Warning, and although I am a local, I had never done this hike before. As you may know, I am a massive fan of sunrises and sunsets – and Mount Warning is one of the first places in Australia to see the sunrise, due to it’s proximity to Australia’s most Eastern point.
We woke up in the middle of the night and left at 2am to start the hour and a half drive to the mountain.
We arrived at the trailhead around 3.30am (4:30am NSW time). I just stood for a few minutes marvelling at the stars shining in the pitch-black night sky. You see the stars in the gold coast but not like this – with zero light pollution, the entire wonder of our galaxy stretched out before us. The sign at the bottom informed us that it’s an 8.8 km round trip hike, which should take 5 hours. The sun rises at 6am local time, which meant we only had an hour and a half to get to the top. Bring it on! We switched on our headlamps and began the ascent.
It was a steady climb consisting of well maintained steps for the majority. The area was suffering a heat wave that weekend and although the sun hadn’t risen yet it was still super hot and humid so we quickly worked up a good sweat. We powered on, with the idea of the sun rising before we make it to the top, looming in the back of our minds.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m hiking it is my mission to overtake any people that I see in front of me on the trail. Turns out Chris is exactly the same! When he spotted a couple ahead of us on the trail, our hike suddenly turned into a race. Call us immature, but this was amazing motivation to kick our asses up the mountain even faster than we already were. We are both extremely competitive, and love any opportunity to push ourselves. We managed to pass our rivals (they weren’t impressed at all because I think they had the same idea!), and were even more sweaty and red-faced than before. After passing a few more people, a few stops for water and a hell of a lot of stairs – we eventually arrived at the final section. The sky was beginning to brighten by this point.
We began the tough climb to the peak. The last section is a bit of a scramble and you literally have to climb up some sheer rocks while holding onto a chain to support yourself. I was exhausted by this point, and the only thing keeping me going was the prospect of seeing the sun rise. We finally made it to the top just in the nick of time! We both stood in awe as the magnificent orb of fire, majestically rose from the clouds. What an incredible feeling, and a very romantic achievement for the two of us. The summit is 1156 meters above sea level, and has beautiful 360 degree views of the surrounding area.
We were starving by this stage (having not eaten since before we left the house). So we had a little picnic up the top (i.e.. destroyed some sandwiches) while we enjoyed the view. We had managed to beat the clock and hike to the top in an hour and a half!
The walk back down was a lot less strenuous. I found the climbing down the rocks super fun! The whole round trip (including our picnic at the top) only took 3 hours. It was probably one of the most incredible activities we’ve done together to date! If you’re considering climbing Mount Warning, I would definitely go ahead and do it! Just make sure if you’re going to go before sunrise that you bring a good torch with some spare batteries, and bring enough water as there isn’t any on the trail.