Barrington Tops

Where: Barrington Tops, Central Eastern NSW
Permits: None
Costs: National park camping fees apply.
Difficulty: The main tracks are easy gravel….until it rains or snows. Lots of harder offroad tracks to explore.
Days required to do it justice: 3+days

When we turned a corner near the Barrington Tops National Park and found a lady on horseback, an Akubra hat on her head and two kelpies herding some sheep into a paddock, I was pleasantly surprised. Barrington Tops is less than 4 hours drive from the supreme hustle and bustle of Sydney, yet it feels as typically ‘outback’ as a scene from the film the Man from Snowy River. Add to this that we came through at possibly the coldest time of the year (June) and as a result ended up having a whole National Park all to ourselves.

Barrington Tops has spectacular views of the lush countryside

Barrington Tops has spectacular views of the lush countryside

To get to Barrington Tops we took the back road from Nundle through to Moonan Flats, passing classic farmland scenes and stumbling across billionaire James Packer’s country residence, Ellerston, which seemed very out of place with its high security fences, polo horses and championship-quality golf course. After a night amongst the local farmers at Moonan Flat’s Victoria Hotel we meandered up the hills to the Barrington Tops National Park and set up camp at 1400 metres at the Polblue campsite. We were in search of what we’d been told was New South Wales’s equivalent of Uluru…according to the locals. ‘A rock formation you can’t miss’, they had said while trying to contain their laughter. We were intrigued…

As you climb the Tops the scenery changes from open farmland to forest to snow gums and alpine heathland. It’s cold up here, even on a warm day, and we woke to a layer of frost covering everything in sight. Cold but extremely peaceful.

Polblue, Barrington Tops

Polblue, Barrington Tops

The main gravel road over the Barrington Tops climbs to the highest point then descends into the valleys near the town of Gloucester. On the way there’s heaps of 4WD tracks, easy and hard, spearing off into the bush. Many are closed during poor weather (and from June, during winter) but there’s a lot of fun to be had, even on a dry day.

Fun and games in Barrington Tops

Fun and games in Barrington Tops

And then we found it. ‘The Rock’. Initially it looked like a mushroom but then its resemblance to a piece of male anatomy became more apparent the closer we got. Judging by the well worn path through the bush we obviously weren’t the first tourists to be sent on this goose chase.

What does this look like? Apparently NSW's equivalent to Uluru.

What does this look like? Apparently NSW’s equivalent to Uluru.

The Tops National Park continues down to the Gloucester Tops area but we found the best part of that drive is through the farmland and river crossings and Chichester State Forest on the way there rather than in the National Park itself. All in all there’s a lot to explore here for a real feel of country New South Wales.

On the way to Gloucester Tops

On the way to Gloucester Tops

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