When it comes to choosing a favourite national park in New South Wales, there is often a debate. Of course, it is a matter of preference as to which one is your favourite and there is no shortage of choices. In fact, there are more than 850 national parks and protected reserves in New South Wales. For many avid campers, their favourite New South Wales National Park is Barrington Tops National Park. We just finished detailing all about Queensland’s National Parks  and in the coming months, we will be exploring more of NSW’s National Parks. We probably won’t be able to cover all 850, but we will definitely highlight some of the most popular and some of our favourites.

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The Barrington River in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

Barrington Tops National Park

Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

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Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

Barrington Tops National Park includes the Barrington Tops Mountains which are part of the Mount Royal Range an offshoot of the Great Dividing Range. This wilderness area is part of the Gondwana Rainforest network which is part of the most extensive subtropical rainforest in the world. Barrington Tops National Park covers a massive space of 95,000 hectares. It is a must see destination and its mystical reputation precedes it. Because it is so vast, outlaws on the run have used it to evade authorities and planes have been lost inside it and never found. It is a beautiful example of unspoilt nature with a thriving community of plants and animals. In addition to that, it is a place you should see just because the Gondwana Rainforests serve as an example of the stages of Earth’s evolution. This is evidenced by the photos we have shared; you can see each one looks like a completely different place.

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The Barrington Rive in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

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Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

Since it is such a massively large park, we couldn’t possibly cover it in just one blog post, so we have broken it up into a series of posts. In this post, we introduce you to the magnificent wilderness of Barrington Tops National Park. We have one blog post that is just about the 9 different campgrounds that you can stay overnight or on an entire holiday. One blog post highlights the 8 beautiful lookouts throughout the park. They offer up the view from the clouds so that you can see nature’s beauty from above. Of course, seeing nature from only from above would mean that you miss the up close and personal touch. Our 4th blog will feature the 18 different walking trails, circuits, and tracks throughout the park. Anyone can go walking through this park because they have trails for every fitness level from easy to very challenging and some tracks are even wheelchair accessible.

 

 

 

Getting to Barrington Tops National Park

 

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Barrington Tops National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

 

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Barrington Tops Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

 

Barrington Tops National Park is a World Heritage Site protected National Park that is just about a 3 and ½ hour (about 200 km) drive north of Sydney located in the Hunter Valley. It is located inland from the city of Forster on the coast. The closest car hire locations are Newcastle, Maitland, and Singleton  which are all just south of the park. You might fly into Newcastle Airport and hire a car there. If you are coming in from the north, Port Macquarie Airport car hire location  would be the closest from that direction. Having your own rental car allows you the luxury of spending time where you want for however long you want. There are no tour bus schedules and if you love someplace, you don’t have to leave. Our car hire staff also is available to offer up local driving tips, holiday ideas, maps, safety guidelines and more.

 

Things to Do in Barrington Tops National Park

 

 

Kayaking Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

 

 

Horseback Riding in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

 

 

Horseback Riding in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

If you love being outdoors with nature, then you are going to love Barrington Tops National Park. It is a great mix of valley, mountains, and rainforest. Things to do while here include hiking the trails, marveling at the views from the lookouts, kayaking, fishing and enjoying the Barrington River, horseback riding, and camping. Bird watching is big here (Barrington Tops is part of an Important Bird Area) and there are plenty of other animals and plants to learn about too. If you aren’t sure what to do once you get there, free, guided tours are available. As you will see in our next few blogs, there are a huge network of walking trails, tracks, and circuits. Walking through the park is one of the best ways to explore it. Many of the walks bring you to the campgrounds in the park. There are 9 different campgrounds that offer tent camping and differing levels of facilities including toilets, picnic areas, tables, BBQ, and sheltered areas. The walks and trails in the park also take you to the lookouts. There are 8 lookouts in the park which allow you to catch some of the most amazing views and some are so high that your head will be in the clouds. There is something for everyone and even still, you are never that far from the city.

Wildlife Spotting in Barrington Tops National Park

 

 

Long Nose Poteroo Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

 

 

Echidna on a walking trail in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia

 

 

“Flame Robin, Eaglehawk Neck.” by Tim Collins – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

“Tregellasia capito – Julatten” by JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

You will see a great many different animals in Barrington Tops’ wilderness. It is an Important Bird Area, so bring your binoculars to do some awesome bird watching. Many of the lookouts are also great vantage points since they are so high up and give you clear views of the skies. Since the park is so remote and largely inaccessible, some of the more sensitive animals have been allowed to thrive here. Some of the animals that have been catalogued here include eastern grey kangaroos, frogs, pademelons, bats, quolls, the long nose poteroo, ehidnas and you might even spot the shy and illusive platypus. Some of the more common birds that can be spotted here include barking owls, sooty owls, cockatoos, rosellas, and kookaburras. As it is an Important Bird Area, it also supports a globally important population of different bird species including rufous scrub-birds, flame robins, pale-yellow robins, paradies riflebirds, green catbirds, regent bowerbirds, and Australian logrunners.

 

The Flora on Barrington Tops National Park

 

Aeroplace Hill Walking Track in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

 

The Link Trail in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

 

The Corker Trail in Barrington Tops National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.gov.au

 

The flora in the park is as varied as everything else here. There is a combination of subtropical rainforests, subalpine regions and then alpine on the mountain peaks. There is a large list of plants that can be found here including eucalypt trees, snow gums, Antarctic beech, tree ferns, mosses and ferns, and edible plants like native raspberry, native cherry, and the lilli pilli. In addition, there is also an invasive mould problem, so heed the signs and warnings and wash your shoes when asked to avoid the spread of mould.

National Parks of New South Wales

 

New South Wales Regions Photo Credit: TravelNSW.com.au

While you might assume that since large cities like the capital, Sydney are in the state that much of the state is urban and cityscape. While that may be true for some areas, there is still a great mix of coastline, mountains, and rainforest that are unspoilt nature. Close to 9 per cent of New South Wales is national park and reserve land. New South Wales is divided into 7 regions:

  • Central NSW
  • Hunter and Mid North Coast
  • Northern Tablelands
  • Northern Rivers
  • Outback NSW
  • South Coast and Highlands
  • Sydney and Surrounds

We have already taken a closer look at a few of NSW National Parks:

A Scenic Drive through the Blue Mountains

Visit Australia’s Oldest National Park

Explore Dorrigo National Park, New England National Park, and Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in our blog post Wandering about the Waterfall Way from Coffs Harbour to Armidale in NSW.

We visited Koscuiszko National Park 3 Times: Jindabyne and the Snowy Mountains, Scenic Drives in the Snowy Mountains, and the Snowy Valley Way Scenic Drive.

Explore the Protected Flora and Fauna of Washpool National Park

Stay tuned for more all about Barrington Tops National Park in our next three blog posts. You will get to explore more of the beauty and secrets that the great wilderness holds.