- Rocky Outcrops
In the week leading up to our North-West NSW camping adventure Amy and I watched the weather forecast with angst as temperatures at our campground plummeted to a freezing -5 degrees. We have never braved a winter camping trip before and looked forward to the new experiences high up in Gibraltar Range National Park.
Travelling from Brisbane, we headed South-West passing through the pristine Girraween National Park in Southern Queenslands Granite Belt and then further South to Glen Innes before heading East and beginning the climb up the Northern section of the NSW Tablelands.
We arrived at Mulligans Campground to find it occupied by only one other couple which had us second guessing our decision to camp in the NSW high country during the middle of Winter. Surely we had packed enough warm clothes to get us through, right? Shortly after arrival, we were met by the Park ranger who, as a Ngoorabul man, gave us insightful information about the history of the area.
The trails in Gibraltar Range are well signed and are generally rated as medium grade. Amy and I loved the trail to the Dandahra Crags, which was a rocky granite outcrop that overlooked massive mountain ranges and valleys towards the South. Truly spectacular!! The trail to the base of the Crags included 3km of flat ground and led us into a short ascent up a rocky face. What a way to start our camping adventure.
The next day we head toward Boundary Falls day use area to begin a 15.5km trail that took us through the neighbouring Washpool National Park to the summit of Haystack Mountain and to the top of Duffer Falls. On this long walk we were pleasantly surprised by the mashed up songlines of local Superb Lyrebirds which we sat and listened to for some time as they mimicked the calls of Black Cockatoos, Lorikeets, Currawongs, King Parrots and of course, the Laughing Kookaburra.
After three very frosty nights and beautiful sunny days, we packed up and headed home. We were farewelled by the local Currawongs and Satin Bowerbirds who had joined us for brekky on the two previous mornings. What an amazing escape into the Aussie bush this trip was which made the freezing nights worth tolerating.
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Essential gear required
- Park map (mostly easy-moderate grade trails)
- Tent and water
- Firewood provided
- Showers only have cold water
How to get there
From Brisbane: 4h 37min via Stanthorpe (393km)
From Sydney: 7h 41min via Thunderbolts Way (635km)
- Bird Watching
Most trails are suitable for children with low to moderate fitness levels. The trails in Gibraltar Range are easy – moderate grade and can be enjoyed by all.
Distance covered / Elevation Gain
Dandahra Crags – 6km return (2 hours)
The Needles – 6km return (2 hours)
Haystack Mountain (Including Boundary Falls and Duffer Falls) – 15.5km return (6 hours)