Feeling the heat of summer? Then head for the hills behind Gloucester, they’re high and cool and offer some of the best walks in the Barrington Coast hinterland. Step behind the green curtain and chill out.

Starting close to Gloucester, head for Copeland Tops State Conservation Area:

This summer, step behind the green curtain and chill out.

1. Hidden Treasure Track

Hidden Treasure track is a walking route through dry rainforest at Copeland Tops State Conservation Area that takes in remnants of the area’s gold mining heritage, including a historic boiler and disused mine entrance.

  • Where: Copeland Tops State Conservation Area
  • Distance: 4.5 km loop
  • Time: Approx 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours
  • Grade: Grade 3

Hidden Treasure Track is an easy walk through dry rainforest following Copeland Creek beneath a canopy of grey myrtle, shatterwood, yellow tulip and other dry rainforest species.

This hike also takes you past remnants of the area’s mining history. Look out for adits, which are tunnelled entrances to underground mines. See the boiler from Criterion stamper battery, which used to provide the power to crush ore from the nearby mines.

Hidden Treasure gold reef was discovered in 1877. Despite the name, the treasure did not really stay hidden for long, and this mine became the area’s second most productive, yielding 269kg of gold after its construction. Now that all those miners have left, microbats have moved in and travel back and forth from the cave through the open mesh grill at the mine entrance, generally scavenging for insects.

2. Basin Loop Track

For those who really like to stretch their legs, Basin Loop Track is the longest walking trail in Copeland Tops. This continuation of Hidden Treasure Track follows, for the northern part of its loop, historic Old Copeland Road.

  • Where: Copeland Tops State Conservation Area
  • Distance: 7 km loop
  • Time: Approx 3.5 hours to 4.5 hours
  • Grade: Grade 3

The track leads you through dry rainforest to open forest that lines the ridge tops of this area. See how the vegetation changes along the way from red cedars, giant stinging trees and strangler figs in the moister, more protected sections of rainforest, to Sydney blue gums and Craven grey box in the schlerophyll forest on the more exposed and drier ridges.

There’s an abundance of birds, so take along binoculars for birdwatching. Many of the park’s animals are nocturnal, but have been known to sometimes keep odd hours. Koalas can often be seen at any time dozing off high up in the fork of gum trees, so keep your eyes peeled.

Escape the summer heat and keep driving from Copeland Tops up into the Barrington Tops parklands for this next spectacular walk in the high cool forests:

3. Honeysuckle Forest Track

In the northern precinct of Barrington Tops you’ll find this short and easy walk. Honeysuckle Forest Track is a very beautiful amble through ancient Antarctic beech rainforest, your perfect introduction to Barrington Tops National Park.

  • Where: Barrington Tops National Park
  • Distance: 1 km loop
  • Time: 15-45 minutes
  • Grade: Grade 4

This short and easy walk is very rewarding as the perfect introduction to the Barrington Tops plateau region departing from the picnic area. is ideal, whether you’re into high mountain adventuring or taking a leisurely car tour on the plateau.

Passing through magnificent Antarctic beech forest with thickets of soft tree ferns, have a look for the beech orchid that grows in its upper branches. The moss covered trunks are a spectacular sight in the misty rain. Rainforest gives way to open forests of brown barrel with an understory of tall mountain banksia, also known as honeysuckle.

The crisp mountain air might stimulate your appetite, so unpack a picnic hamper and enjoy a relaxing lunch. If you’re hungry for scenic views, try Thunderbolts Lookout and Devils Hole Lookout walk and picnic area.

Heading from Gloucester to the eastern precinct of Barrington Tops brings you to Gloucester Tops with cool high forests to (almost) lose yourself in:

4. Gloucester River Track

Gloucester River Track has it all: scenic views, walking, swimming, picnicking, wildlife and birdwatching… all at the Gloucester Tops precinct of Barrington Tops.

  • Where: Barrington Tops National Park
  • Distance: 2.5 km loop
  • Time: 1hr to 1.5 hrs
  • Grade: Grade 4

This track is an ideal walk for your next family getaway, and the rich nature wonderland is perfect for budding David Attenboroughs. Starting at the NPWS Gloucester River Campground, this walking track takes in the scenic river and nearby gullies, with great views, and plenty of chances for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

Crossing the river, look for the shy platypus and long-necked tortoise before climbing uphill through paperbarks and towering Sydney blue gums. The cries of yellow-tailed black-cockatoos above the canopy often mingle with the ever-present sound of rushing rapids from below. You may hear the piping shrill of lyrebirds, and see the tell-tale signs of a satin bower bird nest. Round off your walk with a swim and a riverside picnic and, if you’re hooked, make a weekend of it by camping overnight at the NPWS Gloucester River Campground.

5. Antarctic Beech Forest Track

In Gloucester Tops discover the ancient forests of Gondwanaland with towering Antarctic beech trees, tree fern groves and moss-covered cascades.

  • Where: Barrington Tops National Park
  • Distance: 2.5 km loop
  • Time: 1hr to 1.5 hrs
  • Grade: Grade 3

Step through a portal into the other-worldly charms of Antarctic beech forest walking track at Gloucester Tops within Barrington Tops National Park. You’ll wander the lush landscape of the prehistoric Gondwana era on this medium walk, offering some spectacular birdwatching and scenic views.

Forming part of Gloucester Tops circuit, this medium track leads through airy sub-alpine woodlands of snow gums, before entering the shaded world of cool, temperate rainforest. The dense canopy of Antarctic beech is high above, vibrant moss carpets the ground, and the sharp smell of humus fills the air. Tree ferns crowd the track leading to some delightful, mossy cascades.

Dipping between forests of beech and eucalypt, this section is a favourite haunt of the rufous scrub-bird, one of Australia’s rarest birds. Descending into a rocky gorge you’ll see wild white water crashing over dramatic black rocks. After a steep climb out, you’ll be ready to enjoy a bite at Gloucester Tops picnic area or Gloucester Falls picnic area.

Step through a portal into the other-worldly charms of Antarctic beech forest.

Bushwalking safety tips:

  1. Always tell someone of your bushwalking plans and your expected time to return home
  2. Wear sturdy enclosed shoes suitable for all weather
  3. Take care of slippery tracks, trails, rocks and water crossings
  4. The weather in this area can be unpredictable and can be a lot cooler so ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit, with jackets and drinking water
  5. Wear sunscreen, insect repellent and a hat
  6. There is intermittent mobile phone reception at Copeland Tops, Barrington Tops and Gloucester Tops so don’t plan to rely on your mobile devices
  7. Please take all your rubbish with you.

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