It’s hard to believe that just an hour from the township of Grafton on the NSW’s north coast there is a spot where two World Heritage listed National Parks are separated only be a tar strip. These two parks are known for their pristine conditions, outdoor based activities and the ease in which they can be accessed. Camping is allowed at both parks. As you head west, the Washpool National Park is on the northern side of the Gwydir Highway. This park has a number of scattered designated camping areas, which are fairly secluded.
National parks have done a great job by providing pit toilets, bbq pits, firewood and rubbish bins. Several walking tracks allow visitors the privilege of exploring stands of coachwood trees, pristine creeks and pockets of rainforest. Another great walk is to ‘The Granite Lookout’, featuring views down across some pretty deep gorges and stands of granite where they seem to pivot on the edge of some big drops. Cutting through the Park is part of the Bi-Centennial Trail which travels from the mid north coast to the Queensland border. Camping fees are minimal here and provide extra funds for the management of the park. Bellbird camping area is caravan friendly with fresh water available. It is possible to also locate one of the old mills that was operating at the turn of the century.
On the southern side of the Gwydir Highway you will find ‘Gibraltar Range National Park’. Covering some 25,000 hectares this park has some fascinating history associated with it. Back in the 1800’s there was a hive of activity from cedar cutters, to miners searching for gold and tin through to sheep and cattle farming. But it was late in 1920 where William Mulligan decided to look into a hydro-electric scheme by using several streams high in the Gibraltar National Park. Still visible today is a restored Timber Hut and two weirs in which he proposed to use to generate energy for his new scheme. The camping here is first class with showers, bbq shelters with gas/electric bbqs, flushing toilets and is caravan friendly.
Access to Mulligan’s camping area is located 10 km off the Gwydir Highway; an easy unsealed road weaves its way through stands of tall gums, swamp land and huge grass trees. Also adding to the spectacle are the outcrops of granite formations that are scattered throughout this area. There are some 100 km of walking trails here, from easy 30 min walks to some that take around 7 hours. National Parks have done a great job here by maintaining this area and with some care it will suffice for another 100 years. Fees are minimal again but the Mulligan’s area is defiantly the pick of the camping areas. Fees are $10 per adult and $5 per child per night, you also need a National Park vehicle pass which are available from a daily pass through to yearly passes.
The Washpool and Gibraltar National Parks are situated between Grafton and Glenn Innes on the NSW’s north coast. The Gwydir Highway cuts in between these two parks. Both are world heritage listed.
Access is available all year round.
FUEL & SUPPLIES
The nearest fuel and supply options are either Grafton or Glenn Innes, both being around 80km away. Fresh water is available from nearby creeks, but it is advised to boil before drinking.
Deccw @ Glen Innes Phone: 02 6739 0700
Glenn Innes Tourism on 02 67302400
A great place to base yourself for outdoor activities. A mass array of walking trails are found here, including part of the Bicentennial Trail. Several 4wd trails lead into the forests, great for photography and also exploring the history that this area has to offer. Camping is permitted in both parks, fire wood is provided.
North East Region......Hema
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