The Barrington Tops | 4WD Guide & Review

Barrington Tops National Park is an area of contradictions. It has sub-alpine woodland on the one side of the plateau and World Heritage-listed subtropical rainforests in the valleys below. Due to the distinction, a large part of the area is declared as a protected area with scenic rivers and towering snowcaps. So, you should be careful while driving and respect the flora and fauna of the park.

The park is large measuring at 38,705 ha of forested land with two linked plateaus: Barrington and Gloucester Tops. Some parts of the park are set 1,586 m above sea level and most of the road networks are practically absent so a 4WD vehicle to explore it.

Are you planning for a trip to the Barrington Tops? Here are all the things that you need to know…

How Do I Get There?

Getting to Barrington Tops NP from Sydney CBD will take approximately take 3 hours and 30 minutes. You can take this route:

  • Head east on King St toward Castlereagh St. Use the left lane to turn right at the 2nd cross street onto Elizabeth St.
  • After 80 metres, turn left onto St. James Rd and continue until you reach Prince Albert Rd.
  • Turn left to stay on Prince Albert Rd and turn right onto St. Marys Rd after 130 metres.
  • Continue on the same road and turn left onto Sir John Young Cres after 280 metres.
  • At the roundabout that you’ll reach after 150 metres, take the 2nd exit and continue driving on Sir John Young Cres.
  • After 300 metres, take the ramp to merge onto M1.
  • From M1 keep right to reach M2 after 7.3 km.
  • Continue driving on M2 until you reach the Beecroft Rd exit.
  • From the exit, use any lane to turn right onto Beecroft Rd.
  • After 3 km, use the right lanes to merge onto Cumberland Hwy/Pennant Hills Rd/A28.
  • After 5.3 km, turn right onto M1.
  • After driving 127 km on the M1, turn right onto John Renshaw Dr/A1.
  • From John Renshaw Dr/A1, merge onto New England Hwy/A1/A43.
  • Take the exit towards Anderson Dr/Woodberry/Beresfield.
  • After 600 metres, turn right onto Anderson Dr and turn left (after 120 m) to reach Woodberry Rd.
  • Stay on Woodberry Rd until you reach the roundabout where you will need to take the 2nd exit which leads to Raymond Terrace Rd.
  • After 4.3 km, turn left onto Seaham Rd and drive straight until you reach Dixon St.
  • Turn right onto Clarence Town Rd and then left on Abelard St.
  • After 1.4 km, turn right onto Hooke St and continue onto Chichester Dam Rd.
  • Turn left onto Salisbury Rd after 8.5 km and continue straight onto Williams Top Rd.

From here, you will need to take on barely maintained roads to reach Barrington National Park. 

Why Should I Go to Barrington Tops National Park?

The grandiose mountains of Barrington Tops National Park are the main reason why you should head there. The World Heritage-listed national park is best gotten to by means of the town of Gloucester. There are campgrounds found all through the recreation centre, but you can head to the 4WD-only yet campgrounds are prescribed to find more serene and remote camping areas. 

The Barrington Trail is a regular 4WD track (open from October-May) that runs south along the mountains from the Barrington Trail lookout point near Forest Road. This 15 km course gives access to Little Murray and Junction Pools campgrounds and the Mt Barrington Picnic area. The track is also the starting point of two bushwalk tracks: Airplane Hill and Careys Peak. 

Little Murray Campground is the starting point if you want to get to Careys Peak Lookout’s epic views, while Junction Pools offers extraordinary swimming holes and trout angling areas in the adjacent mountain streams. The campground additionally gives access to the 12 km loop Airplane Hill Track which goes via Careys Peak Lookout, or you can simply sit in camp and watch the nearby natural life scrounge in the snow-capped prairies that characterise this excellent piece of heaven. 

There are many bushwalking trails Barrington Tops NP, and they range from short strolls to areas where you can see the breath-taking views of the World Heritage-listed area to track which last for a day. For example, the great Gloucester Tops circuit. 1

This half-day walk takes in three separate sights – Gloucester Falls, the River Walking Track, and the Antarctic Beech Forest strolling track – that features the various landscapes in the park. These strolls can be completed by most visitors on the off chance you have the little ones close by. However, medium-term and multi-day tracks cross the whole mountain range and after that drop down to the swamps are only recommended for expert hikers. 

You can also visit the Thunderbolts Lookout and Moonan Outlook. The Thunderbolts Lookout is not obvious if you’re not looking for it. Look out for a small strip sign on your right side if you are coming from the west. The lookout also has an off-road parking area on the other side of the road near the sign. From here you will need to walk for about 600 metres over a terrain slightly undulating. A section of the lookout has moss-covered tree limbs which make it photogenic. If you have reached the lookout, you will have a greater view of the mountain ranges. Meanwhile, Moononan Outlook features almost the same vibe but it has a picnic area and fire pits.

Are There Other Places That Near Barrington Tops That I Should Explore?

The park along with neighbouring state forests like Chichester State Forest will spoil you with the amount of choice with what activities you can do. 

The beautiful outdoors (counting a portion of Australia’s most noteworthy height campgrounds), bushwalks, mountain biking, angling, a portion of the nation’s most amazing rainforest (counting Antarctic beech trees), and vistas will make a short trip not enough to enjoy it. 

Around four hours’ drive north of Sydney, your adventure should start from the south by means of the township of Dungog. Chichester State Forest’s eastern (Telegherry) area (it is part of the southern segment of Barrington Tops NP) is just around 20 km north from Dungog and it offers four riverside campgrounds. Every one of the campgrounds in the Telegherry area offer direct access to the stream of a similar name, so bring your kayak and swimmers. Once here, you’ll discover splendid swimming and paddling in the Telegherry River. The nearby woodland’s western Allyn River is a 40 km drive north from the little town of Gresford, 28 km west of Dungog, and you’ll have to pursue the Allyn River Road to arrive at the timberland’s southern passage. 

Where Can I Stay on Barrington Tops National Park?

When you head to Barrington Tops National Park, we recommend you stay on the following campgrounds:

  • Gloucester River Camping Area: This riverside outdoors territory is arranged on the eastern fringe of Barrington Tops National Park. There are 25 obscure and lush destinations, some of which are accessible via 4WD vehicles. Wild animals abound in the region including lyrebirds and wallabies. You can do nature watching, angling, and swimming from this campsite. In addition, they have non-flush toilets, gas and wood grills (bring your kindling), outdoor tables, and access to walking trails. 
  • Devils Hole Camping Area: At 1,400-metre high, this camp of 3 destinations might be the most elevated in Australia. It is a small base for watching sub snow-capped life, yet it is solid and steady. The camp also has non-flush toilets and wood grills. You will need to spend $5 per adult and $3 per child nightly. 
  • Junction Pools Camping Area: You need a 4WD to camp and access this area, albeit camper trailers are alright. This elevated outdoors spot has 5 destinations, where wildlife is predominant. The camp has wood grills so bring your own kindling and non-flush toilets. The camp charges $5 for adults and $3 for kids nightly. 
  • Horse Swamp Camping Area: This is another highly elevated campground among the snow gums. The camp features non-flush toilets, outdoor tables, and barbeque pits. It can also accommodate large groups of people here. They charge the same prices as to the ones above. 
    Polblue Swamp Camping Area
  • Polblue Swamp Camping Area: Many attractions are accessible at this partly snow-capped area. It is very accessible for caravans. The camp has two gas/electric and wood grills, however bring your own wood, outdoor tables and non-flush toilets. Expenses are $10 per grown-up, $5 per tyke nightly. 
  • Gummi Falls Camping Area: This remote outdoor area is only accessible by 4WD. You can bring a camper trailer or a tent except for a caravan. Angling for trout in the close-by Manning River and shrubbery strolling are the best things that you can do here. There are non-flush toilets and wood grills in the area, and they charge the same prices as the other campgrounds. 
  • Little Murray Camping Area: This is not accessible by caravans, instead only 4WD vehicles with good ground clearance can access this high-altitude campground. There is significant birdlife in the area, so bring binoculars to enjoy it. The camp has non-flush toilets, outdoor tables, and wood grills. They also charge the same rate to visitors as the other camps on this list.
  • Wombat Creek Camping Area: Only accepts walk-in visitors.
  • Black Swamp Bush Camping Area: Only accepts walk-in visitors.
  • Manning River Camping Area: This is the ideal campground for you if you want to fish by the Manning River. It also features toilets, outdoor tables, and barbeque pits.

Important Information About Barrington Tops

Barrington Tops National Park is open for most of the year but you should visit during the autumn, spring, and summer to enjoy its attractions. In the autumn, you can take the park’s walking tracks to make most of the cool and dry weather. On spring, you can search for ground orchids and wildflowers along the Polblue Swamp walking track. During summer, you can look out for the eastern water dragons that are usually basking in the sun around the rocky streams.

These are the rules that you need to follow to ensure your safety

  • Travel with at least 3 people so that if an emergency occurs, one person can ask for help while the other stays with the person who suffered injuries or illness. 
  • At least 1 person should have experience around the area and guide you safely.
  • Inform your friends or family that you are heading to the park before heading there.
  • You should also give your itinerary to your relatives, friends or the NSW Police. You should also give them details about the number of people you’re with, your planned route, experience level, equipment that you’re bringing, and the planned date of return.
  • After the trip, inform them that you are back safely or if you are planning to stay longer.
  • You’ll need to know the following before you head to the alpine mountains of Barrington Tops:
  • Remember the condition in the area is unpredictable and can change suddenly, particularly during winter.
  • Check the weather forecasts and get in touch with the NPWS visitor centre staff about the park conditions so you can change your plans accordingly.
  • Bring equipment that is suitable for the conditions of the park. You’ll also need a bivouac bag or space blankets in case of emergencies.
  • Wear thick layers of warm and waterproof clothing. You should also stock up on plenty of food as it can add to your body heat.
  • Protect your skin from getting sunburned by applying sunscreen and wearing sunglasses while travelling. You should also wear protective clothing and a hat. You will likely get sunburned as the snow can reflect significant (UV) and sunlight even when the day is overcast.

Related Questions

Can I Take My Dog in Barrington Tops National Park?

There are many alternatives around the Barrington Tops district for outdoors with respectful mutts. Pooches on a leash are welcome at campgrounds inside NSW state woodlands, some committee-run outdoors holds and some commercial campgrounds as well.

How Tall Are the Barrington Tops?

In 1986, it was recorded as a World Heritage Area and consequently a Wilderness Area. A portion of the waterways moving through the Barrington range have been classed as wild streams meaning they are especially unadulterated and unpolluted. The most noteworthy pinnacle is Brumlow Top which ascends to a stature of 1,586 meters (5,203 ft).

Can I Camp on National Parks?

Many national parks offer campgrounds, yet park grounds are frequently more secured than ranger service or BLM lands. Accordingly, dispersed camping isn’t permitted in many national parks, although this isn’t a general rule – scattered outdoors regions do exist in some national parks.

Can I Camp Anywhere on Australian National Parks?

The short answer is no, you can’t simply stop where you feel like it to camp for the night, any way you will discover many assigned zones all through the states and territories of Australia that do permit free or minimal effort outdoors.

Can I Camp in New South Wales State Forests?

Outdoors in State timberlands is free in NSW, a great deal have drop toilets and different facilities like tables and so on. Most State woodlands enable you to camp anyplace inside the forest, if doing as such please proceed with caution and be aware of any protection issues specific to that backwoods.

Where Can I Camp in Western Australia?

Western Australia has some marvellous campgrounds. You are not permitted to camp inside a couple of kilometres of certain towns on an open property, and there are many spots that you are not permitted to camp at all. Finding the correct data for any place you are going before you leave is imperative.

Is Beach Camping Illegal in Western Australia?

In spite of the fact it shifts from state to state, in Australia it is commonly unlawful to “wild” camp (sleeping inside your vehicle) except if it is in an approved region. What’s more, in WA, the state’s Parks and Wildlife Service says that camping is just allowed in assigned campgrounds.

Can I Live on A Van in Australia?

In the event that you were going around Australia, you could live in your caravan in specific areas, particularly in the shrub. Yet, you are not allowed to stop your van and live in it permanently in city territories. You may get by for one night or something like that if the officer doesn’t get you out.

What is Gloucester’s Main Attraction?

The well-known Gloucestershire Old Spots pig is named for Gloucestershire and is generally connected with the province. Sheep meander broadly in the Forest of Dean. The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley likewise have the wild pig. The cows are well-known for creating milk for both Single Gloucester and Double Gloucester cheeses.

What River Runs Near Gloucester?

The Severn. It is then joined by its tributary the River Arrow, before at long last joining the Severn at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. The port of Bristol is on the Severn Estuary, where another River Avon streams into it through the Avon Gorge.

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