The top 6 walks near Barrington Tops, Gloucester and Stroud

At the highest point of the Barrington Coast is a renowned wilderness sitting atop an ancient shield volcano. Here you can walk with dinosaur ghosts through Gondwana rainforests to lookouts across valleys of endless greens and skies of endless blues.

1. Polblue Swamp Track, Barrington National Park

  • START: Polblue Picnic Area, Barrington Tops
  • DISTANCE: 3 km
  • DURATION: 30-60 minutes
  • GRADE: Easy

You can start this walk from Polblue picnic area at the highest point of the Barrington Tops parklands. Polblue Swamp track will take you on a short journey through the wetlands and high altitude forests of the plateau that was once Barrington volcano. You’ll see the smooth dark trunks of black sallow, snow gums with scribbles on their bark and be dwarfed by the towering mountain gums. Take care if you visit here during snowfall events, the timber boardwalk can be slippery when icy or snowy.

2. Polblue Falls Track, Barrington National Park

  • START: Polblue Falls Picnic Area, Barrington Tops
  • DISTANCE: 500 m
  • DURATION: 10 minutes
  • GRADE: Easy

Don’t be misled into thinking that Polblue Falls is near Polblue Campground, it’s actually a bit further down Polblue Creek, a short 9km drive from the campground. The Polblue Falls picnic area is on Tubrabucca Road, the short and easy track winds along Polblue Creek through subalpine woodland. At the end of the track there’s an observation point opposite the head of Polblue Falls: the largest accessible falls on the Barrington Tops plateau.

3. Honeysuckle Forest Walking Track

  • START: Honeysuckle Picnic Area, Barrington Tops
  • DISTANCE: 1 km loop
  • DURATION: 15-45 minutes
  • GRADE: Easy/Moderate

Honeysuckle Forest walking track is a perfect introduction to the Barrington Tops parklands if you’re heading higher towards Polblue. This easy walk from Honeysuckle picnic area takes you through magnificent Antarctic beech forest with thickets of soft tree ferns. The moss covered trunks are a spectacular sight in the misty rain and it’s easy here to imagine a Gondwana landscape with dinosaurs lurking in the shadows. The rainforest here gives way to open forests of brown barrel with an understory of tall mountain banksia, also known as honeysuckle. Stop for a picnic afterwards or for scenic views continue on to Thunderbolts Lookout and Devils Hole Lookout.

4. Gloucester Tops Circuit, Barrington Tops National Park

  • START: Gloucester Falls Picnic Area, Gloucester Tops
  • DISTANCE: 8 km loop
  • DURATION: 3-5 hours
  • GRADE: Moderate

This walk has been rated as one of the Top 5 walks near Sydney and for good reason. It’s actually three separate walks that you can do individually or join them together for a circuit loop. Set out from Gloucester Falls picnic area along Gloucester Falls walking track first coming to Andrew Laurie Lookout on the edge of the escarpment for views across deep gorges and nearby peaks. Continuing on, you’ll find the observation point at Gloucester Falls overlooking a series of cascades. The Gloucester River is born just upstream and you’ll traverse its course on the River Walking track, wandering amid sub-alpine open woodland featuring snow gums and a small wetland. At the road you’ll meet the start of the Antarctic Beech Forest walking track, which features cool temperate rainforest with the canopy of Antarctic beech towering above the tree ferns and damp carpet of moss on the forest floor. There’s a short walk option with a small pretty cascade and a long walk option with a truly stunning cascade at the bottom of a fern tree lined gully. You’ll need your energy reserve for the steep walk back up and don’t miss the mossy glen hidden high on the ridge as you head back towards the Falls track and the carpark where you started.

5. Hidden Treasure Track and Basin Loop Track, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area

  • START: Copeland Tops Picnic Area
  • DISTANCE: 4.5 km loop
  • DURATION: 1.5 hours – 2.5 hours
  • GRADE: Easy

Copeland Tops is another stunning mountain range in the Barrington Coast hinterland with walking trails and a heritage gold mine precinct concealed in the rainforest. Hidden Treasure track is an easy walk through dry rainforest following Copeland Creek beneath a canopy of grey myrtle, shatterwood, yellow tulip and other 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, now home to colonies of micro bats. 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 and this mine became the area’s second most productive, yielding 269kg of gold after its construction. For a longer version of this walk, take the Basin Loop Track that starts at the Hidden Treasure Track and continues along Old Copeland Road for 7km (4 hours) return loop. And if you’d like to learn more about the heritage gold mining precinct, join a guided tour of the Mountain Maid Gold Mine [link to come] which was the most productive gold mine here in the late 1800s.

6. Blue Gum Loop Track and Rocky Crossing Track, Barrington Tops National Park

  • START: Williams River picnic area
  • DISTANCE: 3.5 km loop
  • DURATION: 1.5 hours – 2.5 hours
  • GRADE: Easy

This impressive track offers a riverside walk through patches of untouched forest in the southern precinct of Barrington Tops. From Williams River picnic area, Blue Gum loop trail crosses the magnificent Williams River, winding past cascades, eucalypts, and rainforest before joining the southern end of Rocky Crossing walk. Several secluded river spots will entice you to swim or take a short break: Fern Creek cascades or Crystal Pools. If you have time and energy, you can continue on towards Rocky Crossing, however this extended version of the Blue Gum Loop is challenging, so allow 6 hours for the 16km return walk. Your reward will be your best-ever Instagram moments.

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