Mount Augustus National Park is located 852 km north of Perth, 490 km by road east of Carnarvon and 390 km northwest of Meekatharra, in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. Mount Augustus itself, the feature around which the national park is based, is known as Burringurrah to the local Wadjari Aboriginal people.
Mount Augustus stands 1105 m above sea level, or approximately 860 m above the surrounding plain, and covers an area of 4,795 ha. It has a central ridge which is almost 8 km long. Mount Augustus is widely claimed in tourist promotional and information literature as the “worlds largest monolith”, but the claim does not originate from the geological literature, nor is substantiated by any other scholarly research.
Mt Augustus is more than twice the size of Uluru. Unlike Uluru, which is a monolith and devoid of plant growth, Mt Augustus is a monocline (an asymmetrical anticline, source W.A. Department of Environment and Conservation) and has plant growth on it. The climb to the summit can take up to 5 hours (return) and there are two trails (one class 4 and the other a class 5) to get you there. There are a number of walking tracks to explore.
There is a caravan park at nearby Mt Augustus Station, which also has "Donga" style accommodation and a restaurant which is open in peak tourist season.
Mount Augustus is composed of sandstone and conglomerate, a formation known to geologists as the Mount Augustus Sandstone, which overlies older granite near its northern end. The Mount Augustus Sandstone was deposited by ancient river systems and is somewhat younger than the 1.64 billion year old granite beneath. The originally horizontal sediments have been folded into an asymmetric anticline by later tectonic movements.
Francis Thomas Gregory reached the summit on 3 June 1858 during his epic 107-day journey through the Gascoyne region, becoming the first recorded European to climb the mountain. Some weeks later he named the peak after his brother, Sir Augustus Charles Gregory (1819–1905). At the time Augustus was on his last expedition, an unsuccessful foray into western Queensland in an attempt to discover the whereabouts of Ludwig Leichhardt.
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