national park in Australia
Oceania > Australia > New South Wales > Hunter > Barrington Tops National Park

Barrington Tops National Park is in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia, with sections creeping into the Mid-North Coast. It's the southernmost of all the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

Understand Edit

History Edit

Barrington Tops National Park and the adjoining State Conservation Area are the traditional land of several Aboriginal groups, including the Worimi and Biripi people, the Gringai clan of the Worimi people and Wonnarua people. The rainforests of Barrington Tops offered a wealth of resources for Aboriginal people, including many edible fruits, like the native cherry, lilly pilly and figs. Today, the history of Aboriginal people in Barrington Tops is recorded in oral history and in the presence of Aboriginal sites. Barrington Tops National Park protects ancient campsites, scarred trees and sacred ceremonial places.

Landscape Edit

Most of Barrington Tops National Park is declared wilderness; large, natural areas of land that, together with their native plants and animal communities, remain essentially unchanged by modern human activity.

Flora and fauna Edit

Tasmanian devils in the park as part of the Devil Ark project by Aussie Ark
  • Flora: A large variety of plants and animals reside in the park and the steepness of the terrain ensures that they are not disturbed by humans. Plant life includes a large variety of eucalypt trees including Snow Gums, subtropical and temperate rainforest trees like Antarctic beech, tree ferns, a large variety of mosses and ferns and a wide range of edible plants such as the native raspberry, the native cherry and the lilli pilli.
  • Fauna: animals you may see:
    • Superb lyrebird
    • Swamp wallaby
    • Common wombat
    • Australian brush turkey
    • Common ringtail possum

If you're lucky, you may also see Tasmanian devils – these have been reintroduced in the higher-elevation areas of the park (usually >1350 m) as part of Aussie Ark's Devil Ark project – the high elevation, cool climate and minimal human impacts on this place make it similar to the conditions found in Tasmania, hence the location. As of 2023, they're in 1–3-ha enclosures with over 300 devils around.

Climate Edit

The climate varies from temperate on the lower altitudes to subalpine at highest elevations. A record low of −17 °C (1 °F) has been registered at 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above mean sea level. Rainfalls fluctuate between 750 millimetres (30 in) in the northwest to more than 2,000 mm (79 in) in the southeast.

Get in Edit

By car is the usual way to access this park. Your entry point is the Gloucester Tops access.

To southern Barrington Tops Edit

From Dungog, take Chichester Dam Road for about 10 km before turning left on Salisbury Road. After about 27 km, you'll reach the Lagoon Pinch to Williams River precinct of the park.

To eastern Barrington Tops Edit

From Gloucester, take Bucketts Way before turning right onto Gloucester Tops Road. After about 30 km, you'll reach the Gloucester River precinct of the park, and further on you'll find the Gloucester Tops precinct.

To northern Barrington Tops Edit

From Gloucester, take Thunderbolts Way, which becomes Scone Road and Barrington Tops Forest Road. After about 45 km, you'll reach Cobark picnic area. Continue on for other sites within Polblue and Devils Hole precinct of the park.

From Scone Edit

Take Barrington Tops Forest Road. You can reach the Barrington Tops precinct by turning left onto Barrington trail from Barrington Tops Forest Road.

Fees and permits Edit

Barrington Tops National Park is not a fee-collecting park, meaning it's free to visit. Camping fees do apply, though (ref to § Sleep).

An official map of the park can be found here.

Get around Edit

Your only option is to get around by a car. Distances are far too long for any other realistic mode of transport. Walking is better suited for shorter distances. It is also worth noting that the three sections of this park are not connected by road – getting between them requires you to leave the park and drive around the park. While it may only take less than two hours to get between the Polblue Honeysuckle and the Gloucester Tops sections of the park, getting between the Central and Gloucester Tops sections can take between 3–4 hours (ignore what Google Maps says – you cannot drive on the firetrails).

The nature of the gravel roads mean that it's not recommendable to drive something other a 4WD.

Map of Barrington Tops National Park

See Edit

  • 1 Careys Peak lookout, Careys Peak Track, Upper Allyn. The highest point of the park with an elevation of 1,544 metres.
  • 2 Devils Hole, Devils Hole Lookout Track. No, it doesn't actually contain a hole, but it does sometimes feel like NSW's equivalent of the Edge of the World but over mountains. From here, you'll be viewing a giant plateau that's snow-grassed. Access is via a short 300-metre trail with parking along the southbound section of Barrington Tops Forest Road.    
  • 3 Thunderbolts Lookout, Thunderbolts Lookout Track. A scenic mountain lookout that's a short walk away from Barrington Tops Forest Road. Many of the trees found in the distance are Antarctic beech trees, and proves a much easier alternative than the Antarctic beech forest in Gloucester Tops.

Do Edit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Barrington Tops National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Autumn: Take to the park's walking tracks to make the most of cooler and drier daytime weather.
  • Spring: Look out for ground orchids and other wildflowers along the Polblue Swamp walking track.
  • Summer: Look out for the eastern water dragon basking on rocks around the streams.
  • Antarctic Beech Forest walking track, Gloucester Tops. The most lush part of the park and the only part that isn't filled with eucalypt trees, but instead with Antarctic beech trees and a lot of moss. It takes either 20 or 90 minutes, depending on whether you take the short or long walk.

Buy Edit

Eat Edit

There are no shops in Barrington Tops National Park – this applies to all sections of the park. You will need to bring your own food to the park, as the nearest eateries can be an hour or two away.

The park does, however, have several picnic and barbecue facilities. In addition to those listed below, they are also present at campgrounds.

Picnic facilities Edit

  • Gloucester Falls picnic area
  • Gloucester River campground and picnic area
  • Gloucester Tops picnic area
  • Honeysuckle Forest track
  • Honeysuckle picnic area
  • Jerusalem Creek picnic area
  • Lagoon Pinch picnic area
  • Polblue campground and picnic area
  • Williams River picnic area

Barbecue facilities Edit

  • Gloucester River campground and picnic area
  • Honeysuckle picnic area
  • Jerusalem Creek picnic area
  • Williams River picnic area

Drink Edit

Sleep Edit

Lodging Edit

Camping Edit

  • 1 Black Swamp campground, Big Hole Trail, Barrington Tops, toll-free: 1300 072 757. $6 booking fee.
  • 2 Devils Hole campground, Cnr Devils Hole Access and Barrington Tops Forest Rd, 1300 072 757 (domestic). A small cosy campground just opposite Devils Hole (it has lovely sunset views) perched over 1400 metres above sea level (significant for Mid-North Coast standards). It contains 5 unmarked campsites for texts and camper trailers. Facilities include toilets and barbecue facilities.
  • 3 Gummi Falls campground, Bullock Brush Trail, 1300 072 757 (domestic). This is one of the park's more remote campgrounds, particularly as it's not accessible by car between June 1 and September 30 (you need to walk 3 km on foot). However, its isolation gives you a much superior view of the low-drop waterfall, as it tends to be less traversed. There are five campsites with barbecue facilities and toilets; campsites are not marked.
  • Horse Swamp campground.
  • Little Murray campground.
  • Junction Pools campground.
  • Little Murray campground.
  • Polblue campground.
  • Wombat Creek campground.

Backcountry Edit

Stay safe Edit

  • Alpine Safety Tips
  • Mobile Safety. Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency+ app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. There is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you'll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Go next Edit

This park travel guide to Barrington Tops National Park is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.