The Barrington Tops National Park, formed from the remains of an ancient volcano, rises from near sea level to over 1,500 metres. Located approximately 200 kms north west of Sydney in the upper Hunter Valley, the nearest towns are Scone, Singleton, Dungog, Gloucester and East Gresford. In the lower valleys, you will find World Heritage-listed subtropical rainforests. Up on the plateau, there is subalpine woodland which regularly sees snow in winter. Six rivers rush through the forests of this mountainous park.
A major attraction of the Barrington Tops is the clean, fresh air. But visitors are also rewarded with a vast array of walking tracks, magnificent scenery and lookouts, superb wildflowers, spectacular rainforest, snow gums and peat swamps. It is easy to say that Barrington offers everything. The park covers 73,884 hectares that vary from snowplains to impenetrable forests dissected by raging rivers with some wonderful waterfalls.
The many different species of flora and fauna are also a feature of the park. As well, the park is surrounded by vast areas of state forest which cater to the traveller with provision of trails, camping and picnic areas.
Activities in Barrington Tops
The Barrington Tops provide a wide variety of activities, the most popular ones being camping and bushwalking, and there is a very good network of walking trails throughout the park. Some are easy, short walks, while others are demanding and involve overnight camps in high altitude areas. Barrington Tops’ varied environment protects more than 50 rare and threatened species, the area is declared wilderness and it is for this reason that Barrinton Tops is a well-known bushwalking destination.
A circuit around the Polblue Swamp provides an enjoyable introduction to the wetlands and high altitude forests of the Barrington Tops Plateau. The three tracks on the Gloucester Tops can be linked together in a circuit covering an impressive variety of landscape and vegetation. The Blue Gum Loop Track crosses to the far side of the Williams River valley and traverses vigorous young forest with signs of past logging
Honeysuckle Forest Track
From the Honeysuckle day use area on the Barrington Tops Forest Road, this sheltered circuit walk loops through magnificent Antarctic beech forest and thickets of soft tree fern. It\'s a special delight in the misty rain, common on the Barrington tops.
Type of forest: Antarctic beech forest ~ Walking distance: 1 kilometre ~ Time: 30 minutes ~ Difficulty: Easy
Anglers will find trout in the mountain streams, but check with local National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel regarding permits and seasons. You will also need a New South Wales fishing licence.
The area has always been attractive to drivers with 4WD vehicles but track closures and wilderness declarations in recent years have greatly reduced these opportunities. Check with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and State Forests as to access and track availability.
In the lower reaches of the mountains, rafting and canoeing are favourite pastimes on the Barrington River, Cobark River and Gloucester River.
Access into the Park
Good roads lead to most areas but during winter many of these can be slippery or covered with snow. Vehicle access from the south via Dungog or Gresford leads to the well-known Barrington Guest House and its surrounding superb walking trails. It also provides access to the state forest areas of Chichester Dam and Telegherry Forest Park where excellent picnic and camping facilities are available.
From the east, access is via Gloucester to either the Gloucester Tops or further west into the area’\'s highest peaks along the Scone-Gloucester road.
If approaching from the west, travel via Scone and Moonan Flat before ascending the range on the Scone-Gloucester road. This is the most direct route to the more remote camp sites around Careys Peak and the Big Hole.
If you wish to camp with your vehicle there are well-maintained camping sites in the southern section, in the Chichester State Forest, at Telegherry Forest Park and Allyn River Forest Park. In the Gloucester Tops region is a well-kept but more restricted camping area.
The state forest camping area at Polblue Swamp is excellent. The camping sites at Junction Hole and the Big Hole are favoured by more adventurous bushwalkers. It would be wise to check with the National Parks and Wildlife Service for availability and access to most of the camping sites.
If you are bushwalking, you can camp almost anywhere, as long as you are
more than 300 metres from a trail or official camp site.
Camping grounds outside of the Barrington Tops National Park include...
The Steps at Barrington
Cundle Flat Farm
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