Shocked backpackers find their car windows smashed after ‘accidentally’ hiking up a sacred mountain where indigenous communities ask people not to go
Backpackers who hiked up a mountain sacred to Aboriginals and closed to the public returned to find their ute’s windows smashed.
A Scottish man issued a warning to travellers in a Facebook group after he and two friends returned from a trek through Wollumbin National Park, in NSW‘s Northern Rivers region, on Saturday.
Photos show the entire tray window shattered, cracks in the windshield, and glass fragments strewn across the front passenger and driver seats.
The man said they drove to the site to ascend Wollumbin, also known as Mount Warning, which is closed to the public until later this year due to safety and management issues.
Backpackers have issued a warning to others after their vehicle (pictured) was vandalised when they failed to follow regulations banning visitors from climbing a sacred mountain in Northern NSW
The Scottish man shared photos of the damage, which saw the vehicle’s rear and passenger side windows completely shattered and glass scattered across the front seats
‘Just a heads up to anyone thinking of climbing Mt Warning,’ the man wrote.
‘I know it’s closed due to the Covid but we decided to summit for first light nonetheless.
‘Upon getting back down from watching a beautiful sunrise, someone thought it was was justifiable to smash my car windows.’
The mountain is of spiritual significance to the Bundjalung people who request visitors not climb to the summit track, with the government and Aboriginal community in discussions over the national park’s future.
While the trio were aware the park was shut, the man said they did not realise it was due to cultural reasons.
‘After some research online we leant that there is an ongoing dispute between land owners, indigenous people and local councils about whether it should be permanently closed or not,’ he continued.
‘Again, sadly, we didn’t know this at the time and thought it was only closed due to Covid.’
The man said it was still ‘completely out of order’ and ‘cowardly’ that their vehicle was damaged, and he would have preferred the vandals confront or educate them.
The man shared a photo of him and one of his friends taking pictures of the sunrise from the mountain’s summit
‘If you’re thinking about climbing Mt Warning or visiting any other closed national parks, just think twice about it!’ he advised.
The Mt Warning summit track, located 12km southwest of Murwillumbah, is a 8.8km return walk through difficult terrain.
Wollumbin, which means ‘cloud catcher’ in some Indigenous dialects, was declared an Aboriginal place in 2015, for its cultural significance as a traditional place of cultural law, initiation and spiritual education for Bundjalung people.
Under Bundjalung law, only certain people allowed to climb the summit, and visitors are asked not to use the track out of respect for their culture.
Wollumbin, also known as Mount Warning (pictured), is a sacred site to the Bundjalung people and was a traditional place of cultural law, initiation and spiritual education