Look for giants at Coolah Tops National Park, New South Wales

The only thing I regret about visiting Coolah Tops National Park is not extending our stay! Known for giant snow gums and giant grass trees, we visited waterfalls, lookouts and excellent FREE camps.

Here’s a quick update:

  • Straddles Warrumbungles and Liverpool Plains Shires, NSW
  • Closest town – Coolah (pick up the park info there)
  • Traditional country of the Gamilaaray People
  • Much of the park is over 1000m above sea level
  • Only became a National Park in 1996
  • FREE camping but $6 booking fee – no pets – toilets, no showers
  • Great for birdwatching, mountain biking, hiking, four wheel driving

It was a challenging drive up the mountain to Coolah Tops National Park. Heatley enjoyed the rougher roads, and herefords grazing. We had to watch out for goats, too.

For me, it was a relief to see the entry sign!

3 FREE CAMPS

The Barracks
After that drive I was glad to arrive! We set up camp, named after the Forest Supervisor’s hut and men’s barracks built here. Not a huge site, but very shady bush views and wildlife. Something stole my gumboot in the night, thankfully it didn’t go too far. We promptly unhitched and explored!

Coxs Campground
This campground is quite a long area, roos and Coxs Creek sawmill ruins. It is more for camper trailers/tents (big rig with a camper trailer was camped near the ruins). Consequently, the turnaround area near the toilets may be too narrow for large caravans.

The Pines Campground, Coolah Tops
The Pines Campground

Pines Campground
We really loved it here. Camp beside a stand of beautiful pine trees, which it was named for. There’s a field through the trees with ‘roos or wallabies aplenty.

Brackens Hut (accommodation, not camping) Coolah Tops

In addition, you can stay at the secluded “rustic” Brackens Hut. What a wonderful spot to hire for accommodation. However, rustic it definitely is – with little here compared to tent camping! That is, except beds, your own toilet, BBQ – and a roof! Kangaroos or wallabies were camping out the front. But I rate those views from the picnic table – yes, please! You can explore Joe’s Hut nearby.

Norfolk Falls
Norfolk Falls

2 WATERFALLS

Bald Hill Creek Falls
You can see the falls from the small parking area/turnaround. There was just a tiny flow in the falls. Interesting rocks there in the ledge.

Norfolk Falls
Not a lot of water, but beautiful views and well worth the walk. Two lookouts, new steps being installed – thank you National Parks! It makes for much easier trekking.

There is a 3km track that connects both waterfalls (we didn’t try it this time around).

HIKES

Bundella Lookout – A magical spot. Locals told us this was the best one to go to. It was mesmerising.

Grass Tree Walk – You leave from a very small parking area or the The Barracks Campground (although it did not seem to be open from the campground). Fantastic! I’ve never seen grass trees this big, just gigantic.

I would come and stay longer here. You need to make the drive up really worth it. I would go see the other Breeza Lookout, 3 km Shepherds Peak Walking Track, and 1.2 km loop to giant snowgums in the eastern side of the park. The road was open but is closed seasonally.

Also there is a Pinnacle Lookout -1.6km walk from Bundella Lookout. Plus I would bring my togs for those waterfalls, since you can walk between the two.

Giant Grass Trees Coolah Tops
Giant Grass Trees

Further reading:

You can read up about the geological wonders of this basalt plateau or check up national parks.
http://www.geomaps.com.au/scripts/coolahtops.php
https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/coolah-tops-national-park

NATURE SPOTTING

Hands up to stargaze and spot more of the inhabitants – red-necked wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, wombats. I didn’t know that Coolah Tops has some of the country’s highest population densities of greater gliders! Maybe one of them took a liking to my gumboot?

Also look for ring-tailed possums feather-tailed or sugar gliders. We’re also told to be on the look out for koalas. Birdwatchers might spot eagles and rare owls.

PANDORAS PASS

If you like a bit of New South Wales history and epic four wheel driving, when you leave Coolah Tops ( a slow, steep drive down) you’ll pass a sign and plaque for Cunninghams Camp. By the way, this isn’t a spot to set up camp, it is a historical site.

In June 1823, exactly 200 years ago, Allan Cunningham searched five weeks for a pass over the Great Dividing Range. He wanted to reach the Liverpool Plains, starting from the Goulburn River.

As he was almost about to give up, from the summit of a high peak –  spotted a lower section in the mountains. He walked through it and gave it an appropriate name, Pandoras Pass.

Pandora Pass WArrumbungle Shire (Coolah Tops Road

Find sites like this and more nearby in the CAMPS 12 guide booksCAMPS Pendium boxed set and CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App.

Download the Camps App for iPhone/iPad or Android

  

Share

BROWSE ARTICLES BY CATEGORY

Plan the trip of a lifetime with our Travel Guides

Get the App & put all our guides in your pocket!

Stay informed with our free Newsletter

Join our Facebook Community

Share and connect with travellers across Australia

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter

Stay up to date with our free weekly email newsletter and get the latest travel tips, reviews and news straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our FREE weekly Newsletter and receive

15% Off

your next order in our Online Shop!