Bald Rock National Park
Bald Rock National Park is located in the Northern Tablelands adjacent to the Queensland Border. The entrance is 29 km north east of Tenterfield along the Mt Lindesay Road.
Bald Rock is the main feature of the Park. This magnificent dome is 750m long and 500m wide, rising 200m above the surrounding forest and is the largest exposed granite type rock in Australia.
The rock is not a true granite, being classified as Stanthorpe Adamellite, it is of Lower Triassic age showing marked phases in mineralogy and texture. Resultant soils are generally poor and sandy.
Together with the adjoining Girraween National Park in Queensland and Boonoo Boonoo National Park to the east, the region preserves land with magnificent recreational and conservation value.
The Bungoona Walk of 2.5km leads you gently through interesting bush and huge boulders to the summit. Follow the signs and white markings back down the sloping rock face for a more direct descent. The climb rewards the visitor with a full 360 degree view of the granite dotted landscape and to the north east, the volcanic plugs of the McPherson Range and the upper Clarence River. The sense of exposure on the saddle of Bald Rock, the view from the 1277m summit and the ever changing colours of the rock wall make it an unforgettable experience.
A gravel access road of 5km runs from the Mt Lindesay Road to the Rest Area and Camping Area north of the Rock. Tables, cooking galley, rubbish pits, pit toilets, fire places and water are provided.
Run-off from the large area of bare rock produces a high moisture level to the bush immediately around the base. This in turn produces an area of Wet Sclerophyll forest, whereas the remainder is dry Sclerophyll forest. In addition there are heaths on the rock & hanging swamps in lower areas. Residents include the Swamp, Red Neck and Black Striped Wallabies, Eastern Grey Forester Kangaroo and the Wallaroo. Various large possums, including the Greater Grey Glider may be spotted at night. Koalas, Wombats and Dingoes have been seen. The Lyre Bird and Satin Bower Bird are regularly observed.
Bald Rock itself and the many geomorphological features of the Park offer a challenge to nature photographers. Just how do you capture their impact and grandeur? The translucent new growth of the leaves in summer, the gold of autumn and winter, the misty rain, the dew drops on the grass and Casuarinas - it is all here waiting.
Exploring Bald Rock and its surrounds can be a unique and enjoyable experience as there are so many interesting features for naturalists. However, as no other walks are marked, a map and compass should be used to ensure safety. The rocks may be slippery after rain or snow and in the mornings - especially in winter. Suitable rubber soled footwear should always be worn when clambering over the rock outcrops.
With care, much of Bald Rock can be explored and this is a truly unique experience walking over the steep, exposed rock surface high above the countryside. Clusters of boulders, canyons, wonderful echo points, caves, beautiful and fascinating plant communities are just some of the things to be found by the curious walker.
South Bald Rock, 5km south of Bald Rock, although not so grand, is said by many to be even more interesting. It can be reached by taking the marked track from the Rest Area. Allow a day for an easy walk and plenty of time to explore.
Hema Maps produce a 1:33,000 topographical map of the area titled Girraween, Bald Rock National Park including Boonoo Boonoo National Park. This is an excellent and current map and is available at the Tenterfield Visitors Centre. For more information on this area please visit Granite Belt Tourist Association
A highly recommended way to see both Bald Rock and Boonoo Boonoo National Parks in the one day is to relax and let Woollool Woollool Aboriginal Culture Tours look after you. The Aboriginal guides provide comfortable air conditioned transport, commentary on the White and Aboriginal history, bush tucker and natural history of the area. Lunch provided. Bookings through Tenterfield Visitors Centre or your accommodation.
Accommodation is available in Tenterfield, to the south, or in Liston, to the north of Bald Rock. Information is available from the Tenterfield Visitors Centre.
Boonoo Boonoo National Park
Just 22 kms north of Tenterfield, Boonoo Boonoo National Park offers a great variety of scenic, natural and historic attractions for visitors.
The Boonoo Boonoo River is one of the park's most spectacular features winding its way through high granite country, strewn with boulders and covered by open forest.
Riverside vegetation includes banksias, melaleucas, grevillea, callitris, leptospermum and callistemon. The landscape along the river includes bare smooth stretches of granite dotted with tea tree, large pools with sandy banks lined with cypress pine, massive boulder-strewn stretches and secluded rocky pools.
A majestic dark pool is the final attraction before the river slides over the falls. The viewing platform gives a breathtaking view of the falls as they roar into the gorge 210 metres below. A gully of rainforest bathes in the moisture at the base of the falls.
The park is reached by taking a gravel road which leaves Mt Lindsay Road north of Tenterfield. The park entrance is 4km from the road and 12km from the Falls.
Camping and picnic areas are provided at Boonoo Boonoo Falls and bush camping is allowed.
Caravan, camping, hotel and motel accommodation is available in Tenterfield, to the south of the falls.
Self-contained cottages are available in Liston, to the north of the Falls
Due to the diversity of habitats a variety of animals occur such as the larger marsupials which include the Grey Kangaroo, Wallaroo, Red-necked, Swamp and Pretty-faced Wallabies. On the track to the bottom of the falls, the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby has been sighted.
During the spring months the variety of wildflowers and attendant wildlife will reward the most discerning field naturalist - even on the road that traverses the park. The open forest, heath, swamp and river environments are easily accessible to the visitor.
There is evidence of gold mining during the 19th century in one of the creeks where the remains of sluicing and old machinery can be seen. The road to Boonoo Boonoo falls, and the path down from the Falls lookout are associated with "Banjo" Patterson's courtship and marriage.
The area attracts nature lovers, rock climbers and walkers.
Queen Mary Falls National Park
Queen Mary Falls is a feature of this 78 ha national park on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, next to Main Range National Park. Spring Creek flows through the park, plunging over the 40m Queen Mary Falls before continuing its journey west to the Condamine River.
The park includes many steep slopes and escarpments. These have formed where streams have cut gorges through horizontal layers of basalt and trachyte from the Main Range Volcano.
At the seam of the two rock types, cliffs and waterfalls formed as the basalt was washed away above and below leaving a trachyte feature. Waterfalls in the park are a good example of how water erosion can create interesting landforms.
The deep, sheltered gorge receives continual mist and spray from the falls. Hoop pines, silky oaks and Sydney blue gums are prominent in this area. Staghorns and orchids cling to trees and rocky ledges. Soft tree ferns, bracken fern and vines also add to the rainforest's luxuriant appearance. Open eucalypt forest grows over most of the park. Canopy trees include brush box, forest red gums and stringybarks with small trees of forest sheoaks, kurrajongs and wattles.
In drier areas of the park the open forest has a shrubby undergrowth and grassy forest floor.
Spring Creek provides a home to animals such as the platypus and a red spiny crayfish. Animals inhabiting the tree-tops include possums and gliders while antechinus (a marsupial mouse) and native rats, wallabies, bandicoots and pademelons are some of the animals to be seen on the forest floor.
The brush-tailed rock wallaby is one of the rarer animals in the park. Sleeping through the day, this wallaby is not easily seen by visitors. These rock wallabies move gracefully through the rocky gorge and are able to negotiate almost vertical rock faces. They graze and browse on a wide variety of plants n open grassy areas of the park.
About 100 bird species have been found in the park, including the shy Albert's lyrebird. This bird is rarely seen but can be identified by its extraordinary song and mimicry of other bird calls and artificial noises.
In the rainforest gorge, king parrots, crimson rosellas, golden whistlers and satin bower birds are commonly seen. The rufous fantail and superb blue wren are colourful birds that often frequent the shrubby undergrowth around the picnic grounds.
These small birds have a diet of insects and can be seen moving through the lower levels of the forest foliage. The active rufous fantail has a striking orange rump and an almost flamboyant fanned tail while the male superb blue wren can be identified by brilliant blue plumage on its back and head.
A short section of the walk has interpretative signs describing the park's geology.
The walking track descends from a lookout in open forest to a rainforest gorge at the base of the waterfall. The track then crosses Spring Creek and returns via the southern escarpment, finishing at the picnic ground. Allow 40 minutes to complete this 2 km circuit.
Barrington Tops National Park
38 km west of Gloucester. Dirt roads. World Heritage listed. High, rugged river valleys heavily forested with species from Antarctic beech to subtropical rainforest.
Tel: (043) 87 3108.
Cathedral Rock National Park
77 km east of Armidale, on Armidale-Ebor-Grafton Road, Dorrigo. Spectacular rock formations dot the forests of the New England Plateau.
Tel: (02) 6657 2303.
Gibraltar Range National Park
70 km from Glen Innes and 95 km from Grafton, on the Gwydir Highway, Glen Innes. Creeks, cascades, rainforest, heath and eucalypt forest- on the New England Ranges.
Tel: (02) 6732 1177
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
Situated east of Armidale and Walcha the park is broken into several sections preserved for their outstanding scenic and recreational value.
Totaling 90 276 ha in area, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park encompasses over 500km of rivers, which fall from the New England Escarpment in spectacular waterfalls then flow through dramatic gorges and valleys to join the mighty Macleay River.
Attractions include the Wollomombi Falls, the highest in Australia, falling a total of 470 metres with a one sheer drop of 220 metres (Nearby Chander Falls are nearly as high)
Close to Armidale are scenic short bushwalks to Dangar falls and the Gara Gorge
From Walcha there is car access to the surperb lookout at Bud's Mare which is the starting point for the walk to Apsley Gorge. Most access points to the park have public facilities and camping areas.
Phone: (02) 6773 7211
New England National Park
85 km east of Armidale, on the Armidale-Ebor-Grafton Road. World Heritage Listed Park. Heart-stopping scenery, waterfalls, misty mountains, snow, rainforest, as well as an extensive trail system and trackless wilderness create something for every taste.
Tel:(02) 6657 2303.
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