Finding a Pecker in the Woods // Barrington Tops (NSW)

Trickling waterfalls, plateau-topping lookouts and an inappropriately shaped rock? Whether you’re looking for a wildlife-dense getaway or you just couldn’t keep a lid on it in sex ed., check out Barrington Tops for you next microadventure. Don’t forget to wear protection!


Highlights

  • Wide-open campsite at Little Murray Campground
  • Views from Thunderbolt Lookout
  • Finding Cock Rock in the woods (Yes, it’s a thing)
  • Driving through Gundy up the winding dirt road with views over NSW below

The Lowdown

On this particular stormy weekend we decided to ignore the weather-man and go camping at Little Murray Campsite, accessible only by 4×4 in Barrington Tops.

As our 6-hour drive from Sydney neared its end, we began driving up the grassy slopes of Gundy, towards Barrington Tops’ dingo gate.

When we reached the top of the hill, we stopped to open up the dingo gate. Here you can look out and see NSW below – don’t forget to close the dingo gate behind you.

At about 1,400m altitude, you certainly won’t feel dizzy, but you will feel a dramatic drop in temperature.

We followed the gravel, tree-lined, Barrington Tops Forest Road, carefully watching out for ol’ skip. Though we’ve got a bull-bar, we’d rather not have a run in with a roo.

Once you reach Barrington Picnic area, turn right onto Barrington trail. This is when it becomes a 4×4 track, so if you’ve got a two-wheel-drive, I suggest you stop reading now. Or go get yourself a fourbie.

A sign reads “5km to Little Murray Campground”, and while it’s 5km, it’ll take close to 25min to go down this track. Keep your eyes peeled for wild pigs, brumbies, birds, kangaroos and mud pits. It’s not a difficult track, but you wouldn’t want to punch it too fast.

Reaching the campsite, you’ll be spoilt for choice with places to park the car and roll out the swag.

Once we picked our spot, we popped out a camp chair to mark our territory, and headed back onto the trails to see what else was hiding in the woods.

First stop: Thunderbolt Lookout

Watch your legs as you walk along the short trail to this lookout. The plants had overgrown the path, and we were all wearing pluggers*… so you can imagine the cursing to be heard when stinging weeds came out to play. Luckily, I escaped Thunderbolts lookout unscathed.

Our next stop was a tad different. I’d heard someone mention a “big cock” earlier on, but assumed they meant to say “big rock”.

Nope.

*thongs                   

Welcome to Cock Rock

Keep your feet moving on this little trail, as there are leeches everywhere. Somehow, those of us wearing thongs didn’t get attacked, but anyone wearing socks and shoes found leeches shortly after.

To find Cock Rock, continue following Barrington Tops Forest Road along the gravel pathway towards Gloucester. This part of the road is accessible for 2WD.

Onto the last stop.

Polblue Falls

Here you can go for a dip, or just listen to the sound of the little waterfall.

On your way back to camp, there are plenty of other tracks, some with gnarly rock crawls, deep mud crossings, and mini rivers to drive through.

At the end of the day, grab the cheese platter out of your fridge (or esky) and wait for the stars to put on a show.

On our way out of Barrington, as we crossed the cattle grates, passing wallabies and waving goodbye to the cows grazing in the paddocks, I was already planning a trip back.

Essential Gear

  • Water
  • Camping gear
  • Food (enough for however long you’re staying)
  • Tent/Swag
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Hiking boots
  • Extra underpants
  • First-aid kit
  • Head torch
  • Firewood if you’re camping in winter

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Wild swimming
  • Camping
  • Four-wheel driving

Skill Level

  • Short hikes – beginners
  • Four-wheel driving – beginners, with some intermediate trails.

Distance Covered

Sydney to Barrington (the drive) takes approximately 6 hours

Stop off in Maitland to break the trip in half, then head up through Muswellbrook to reach Little Murray Campground (you can also approach from the east driving The Bucketts Way).

 

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