The Warrumbungles can be explored online thanks to a unique partnership between internet giant, Google, and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
A number of iconic locations in the Warrumbungle National Park are now accessible from anywhere in the world after they were filmed using a Google Street View Trekker.
The rocky terrain of the Breadknife and Grand High Tops, Mount Exmouth and Belougery Split Rock walking tracks were filmed over three days and published to Google Maps during the World Parks Congress in November last year.
The work was carried out by NPWS staff members Andrew Smith, James Lawson, Steven Tucker and Johny Spencer, who trekked in pairs to share the weight of the 18-kilogram apparatus.
NPWS operations officer (fire and incident), Andrew Smith, said the trekker took about 10 minutes to set up and then they simply walked along the trail.
“The trekker takes 15 images every three seconds, which are geo- referenced using GPS,” Mr Smith said.
“These images are all recorded on a hard drive, which is then sent back to Google for processing - this involves blurring faces and number plates for privacy reasons before launching live to Google Maps.
“There is no set speed to walk, just as quick as the person carrying the trekker can safely travel over the terrain.”
While the trekker imagery allows prospective visitors to view the walks and get a feel for what they will see and entail, it also allows people who cannot visit, the opportunity to experience the beauty of the landscape.
The results also provide a snapshot in time of the vegetation recovering from the 2013 Wambelong bushfire.
Mr Smith said people could see how the vegetation regenerated.
“Once the vegetation has fully recovered, we will be able to look back at the imagery and remember what the bush did look like post fire,” he added.
“NPWS would definitely be interested in partnering with Google again to trek more of the amazing landscapes we manage.
“This would most likely include some more parks from the Coonabarabran region.”
The Google Street View Trekker project covered 25 parks, 400 kilometres of walking tracks, 700km of roads and trails and 15km of waterways.
Local ranger, James Lawson, from National Parks and Wildlife Service, films the Warrumbungles as part of the Google Trekker project. Photo courtesy - Johny Spencer.