The Gondwana Rainforests of Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales are World Heritage-listed.
History runs deep throughout this rainforest: Gondwana was an ancient supercontinent comprising Australia, Antarctica, India and Madagascar as well as Africa, Arabia and South America. The split of this huge continent ultimately formed Australia as we recognise it today.
Visitors can see the dramatic landscape formations at Devils Hole and Thunderbolts Lookouts. An array of natural wonders are hidden between the vibrant trees and coarse undergrowth. It’s often a scene where outdoorsy adventurers gather for their weekend escapades – including hiking, fishing and camping. Many visitors make the stop at Gummi Falls campground to swim beneath the waterfall and retire after a day out exploring.
On the water
From a high altitude climate to high adrenaline activities, you can’t look past kayaking along the Barrington River. The erosion of an ancient volcano makes for some serious twists and turns that make the journey all the more exciting. Walking Rivers in Georgetown offers expert knowledge, equipment and training for a two-day Barrington River kayaking adventure, complete with your own kayak, camp gear and bonus marshmallows to toast around the fire in the evening.
Dungog is a beautiful historic town by the Williams River, with a fine collection of heritage-listed buildings lining its streets. Keep an eye out for the blue plaques which highlight fascinating colonial history on the town walk. The Dungog Museum offers insights into the town’s local timber and dairy origins. If it’s delicious craft beers, great food and a relaxed atmosphere you’re after, you’ll find it at the local Tinshed Brewery. Discover seasonal produce and other local goodies at a range of local markets, including Dungog Markets, Dungog Local Growers Stall and the Clarence Town Farmers Market. For all you film buffs, Dungog is home to Australia’s oldest operating cinema: James Theatre.
Gloucester is another welcoming town nearby with plenty of local farmers markets, cellar doors and heritage to be discovered. At the Gloucester Museum, you can learn about the famous local bushranger Captain Thunderbolt (the namesake of Thunderbolts Lookout), and pore over artefacts dating back to 1826. Find out more about the 1876 gold rush on the Copeland Historic Gold Mine Tour of the Mountain Maid gold mine. Enjoy a fine wine tasting at Faulls Ridge Wine, which is perched atop the scenic ridges above Gloucester, and soak in the amazing view with glass in hand.
Where to stay at Barrington Tops
Tiny Mowgli, nestled in the hills of Barrington Tops National Park north of Newcastle, affords stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Outdoorsy types can choose from bushwalking, kayaking, mountain biking, abseiling and swimming in the crisp, refreshing waterholes of nearby national parks. Travel start-up In2thewild specialises in the kind of off-the-grid accommodation in remote corners of regional Australia
Fly into Port Macquarie with Rex airlines.
Keen to explore more of Australia’s amazing rainforests? Check out the beauty of the Dandenongs in Victoria, or head north to check out the terrific Tamborine National Park in Queensland.