Ever heard of Kwiambal NP ? well it’s 90 km North of Inverell ( via Ashford, northern NSW ) and it’s ruggered, remote yet holds cultural and historic heritage.
Camp options are an easy and scenic 8km drive further along Limestone Caves Road and left into Falls Road. Roads out here are pretty easy to drive with a good base, plenty to see with a few shambled houses and yards along the way for photo opportunities. It’s harsh country out here but the spectacle of seeing a few farms that still work the land had us guessing and just how isolated and remote the area was. Most of the vegetation is dominated by the Cypress Pine, estimates say that Kwiambal contains 15% of the dry rainforest left in NSW.
Most people head to Lemon Tree Flat campground where you can camp without fuss down beside the Severn River. There’s no booking sites and with around 10 acres of camping a lot of other campers can fit in so don't expect a sleep in during holiday or peak time. If this is your thing it’s a great base where there are NPWS walking tracks up the river to the junction of the Macintyre and Severn and with water holes along the way it’s a pretty cool way to spend a few hours exploring. Maybe head down on the Dungeon walk especially after heavy rain where the river water churns around the ancient rocks causing all sorts of noise and swirling action. From camp it’s a 1.5km walk but well worth it. With a pay station, pit toilets, bbqs and a few tables - Lemon Tree campgrounds may appeal to some.
We got heads up of a brand new camp site just 4 km away called Kookabitta Camping area. Still located on the Severn River, Kookabitta is more for walk in campers with tents or swags but also has 6 bollarded sites for camper trailers. This is becoming pretty typical in National Parks, but the great thing here is that with only a limited number of trailer sites, it’s deadset peaceful and has all new glam features like gas bbqs, clean toilets, fire pits with their own table and chairs, great river access and did I mention it’s quiet ?. You can kayak up and down the river in tranquil pools where Kingfishers sit quietly in the river gums watching you go past, Wallabies and Kangaroo’s stand up with twitching ears and the ever noisy Corella’s and Galah’s can spoil the serenity as they echo down the valley. At either camp just be wary of wearing those holiday thongs that we all seem to wear, this is shoe country as we found out the first 5 minutes of stopping. The Kwiambal Thorn !!. Bloody sharp, needle like thorns. They sting like a hypodermic needle and leaves you in pain for an hour.
Another attraction in Kwiambal is Macintyre Falls and the surrounding walks. From either camp it’s a 5 min drive to the end of Falls Road where you'll find a selection of information boards, bbq shelters and two viewing platforms to the massive granite gorges below with sign posted walks. A popular walk after looking down to the falls is to Macintyre Falls itself down the 600 metre trail that winds its way to the bottom, and it’s not till you get down here that you can see and feel the scale of the gorge when you look back up. Can only imagine during peak wet times when Macintyre Falls flows with rage into the pool below what a sight it would be. The massive granite boulder seem to have scars on them from being smashed and pummelled from other rocks as they get pushed and shoved down stream.
The second viewing platform faces more downstream where you get a good sense of just how ruggered the area is. If your fit you can tackle the track down to The Beach and to Slippery Rock. This walking track is hard and rough where there are short steep sections down to the river below, but it’s worth the effort for the magnitude of the gorge and just what water can do over millions of years. Making the effort in the warmer months can be rewarded with secluded swims in many of the water holes and by sitting under the cascades. It’s pretty special down in the base of the river, clambering over sheets of granite not knowing what’s around the next corner or over the next rock. Even the rock formations seemed to look down at you in a peculiar way, or maybe it was just the heat that was getting to us. We lost count of the birds, fish, turtles, wallabies we saw and just maybe a platypus on a quiet morning at camp. Kwiambal is an isolated park with minimal facilities but for the more adventurous it’s pretty darn good.