The Northern Rivers Region is rich in natural and cultural beauty, which makes the region a really good place for bushwalking.
You can walk through rainforests, waterfalls, beaches, and see exotic, unique species of flora and fauna. Birders, plant lovers, and anyone who likes walking through untouched nature will enjoy bushwalking the Northern Rivers area. Read on for some of the best local bushwalks.
1. Border Ranges National Park
Tweed Range Scenic Drive is the main road through Border Ranges National Park. It’s 38 kilometres west of Murwillumbah off the Murwillumbah-Kyogle road or 28 kilometres north of Kyogle via Wiangaree on the Summerland Way.
The Falcorostrum Loop is 750 meters and takes about 30 minutes to walk. It starts at the Bar Mountain Picnic Area and passes through one of the largest stands of Antarctic beech trees in the park. You’ll see Falcorostrum orchids climbing the trunks and branches of theses ancient trees—this is the only place they live.
The Pinnacle Lookout offers a short 200 meter walk, but it’s definitely worth taking as you’ll pass wild Mount Warning caldera sights. Epiphytes, stands of gnarled Antarctic Beech and Hoop Pines are part of the landscape here.
The Border Loop is a 1.2km, 45 minute long walk that begins at the picnic area and winds into grassy wet eucalypt forest full of Brushbox, Blue Gums and Tallowwood. Then the trail enters a stand of subtropical rainforest—not your everyday walk. The Border Loop Picnic area is on Lions Road, north of Kyogle.
The Palm Forest Walk is more of a medium length bushwalk, at 2km in length/1 hour walk time. Here you’ll walk through rainforest and eucalypt forest to Brushbox Falls, passing a sandstone rock where early cedar getters carved their names. You start out at Sheepstation creek camping area.
The Bar Mountain Circuit (3.5km, 3 hours), breaks off the Falcorostrum Loop, and winds down the ridge towards the western escarpment. From the lookout you can see Collins Creek and west to Mount Lindsay and Mount Barney.
The Brindle Creek Walk is more hard core, at 5km/3 hours long. You go along Brindle Creek through lush rainforest, Antarctic Beech and waterfalls on this walk. You do need to a vehicle at both ends of the walk, or the really tough can retrace their steps. Start out at either Antarctic beech or Brindle Creek Picnic area.
The Rosewood Loop is another longer bushwalk—6km, 3 hours—but it’s worth it. The loop winds down to a creek past dense rainforest regrowth. You can take a swim here but, heads up, these waters are cold. This bushwalk starts at Sheepstation creek camping area.
2. Nightcap National Park and Whian State Conservation Area
The Big Scrub Loop is a one and a half kilometre stroll that takes you into the hear of NSW’s rainforests. You’ll see large figs, crystal clear creeks and abundant birdlife. This bushwalk starts at Gibbergunyah Range Road.
Protesters Falls is close to a 45 minutes walk (nearly 1 and a half kilometres). You’ll end up at Bangalow Palms, at the base of the falls. No swimming allowed though—the area is home to some of the endangered Fleay’s Barred Frog. This bushwalk starts at Terania Creek Picnic Area, 14.5 kilometres from the channon on a dirt road.
Pholis Gap is a longer bushwalk—4km long, 1 and 1⁄2 hours—which will take you through rainforest before splitting off the Mt Matheson Loop and descending towards the escarpment edge. Pholis Gap offers views of Mt Warning and surrounding valleys. This walk starts at Mt Nardi, 12km from Nimbin on a narrow sealed road.
The Boggy Creek Walk (4km return, 11⁄2 hours), leads to Minyon Falls along beautiful Boggy Creek. The track starts in Blackbutt forest and includes a series of small waterfalls and pools along a quiet creek. You start out at Rummery Park camping area inside Nightcap National Park.
The Minyon Loop is a longer bushwalk—7.5km, 4 and ½ hours—but it takes you to the scenic base of Minyon Falls, and back. You have to do some steep walking up out of the valley floor. Start at Minyon Grass or Minyon Falls.
3. Mt. Warning/Wollumbin National Park
The Lyrebird Track goes over Breakfast Creek before entering palm forest and leading to a platform set among the lush subtropical rainforest. Look out for Brush Turkeys foraging in the leaf litter. This track starts opposite of the Summit Track at the end of Mt. Warning Road.
4. Richmond Range National Park
The park, located 45 kilometres west of Casino, is reached by turning off the Bruxner Highway onto Cambridge Plateau Forest Drive, near Mallanganee. The Culmaran Loop (400m, 15 minutes) takes you among tall Brush Box and Sydney Blue Gums at the edge of the rainforest environment. Begin at the Cambridge Plateau Picnic area.
5. Cape Byron State Conservation Area
The Cape Byron walking track is 5km long and takes 2 hours to traverse, but you’ll be glad you did. This magnificent cliff top walking track takes you through diverse plant communities and opens to panoramic views of the ocean and north coast hinterland. Start this loop walk at Wategos beach, Captain Cook lookout, or the Pass.
6. Toonumbar National Park
The Murray Scrub track is 5.5km and takes 2 to 3 hours to walk, depending on your fitness level. This is a great walk for seeing lowland subtropical rainforest close up, with an impressive stand of Red Cedars. The track starts out at Murray Scrub Road, 2.5 km east of the Iron Pot creek Rest area.
7. Koreelah National Park
The park is 30 kilometres west of Woodenbong, on White Swamp Road, off Summerland Way at Old Koreelah—so it’s a longer drive, but the park is less frequented than others in NSW. The “gorgeous” gorge walk is short—240m, 10 minutes—but it takes from the camp ground through sclerophyll forest down to Koreelah Creek Gorge, a perfect place to sit and take in the view.
8. Moore Park Nature Reserve
The reserve is 26 kilometres west of Kyogle, just off the Summerland Way near Old Grevillia—a bit of a drive, but a fine day trip from Ballina. The
Moore Park Walk is short—400m, 15 minutes—but you’ll go through the remains of Boyd’s Scrub, the best example of Black Bean rainforest in NSW.
9. Broken Head Nature Reserve
The reserve is 4 kilometres south of Byron Bay; you follow the Coast Road and turn into Broken Head Beach Road. The two sisters track—800m one way, 30 minutes long—takes you along a scenic cliff top with stunning ocean views. Start out at Broken Head Caravan Park.
10. Bundjalung National Park
The Gweean/Dirrawong loop is 3 km long and will take you about an hour. You can walk to a 6000-year-old midden beside the Evans River, then follow the river back through rainforest along Oyster Creek. The walk starts out at Gummi Garra Picnic Area.
The Jerusalem Creek walk is 6km walk that returns to its start point, and will take you 2 and a 1⁄2 hours to complete. You’ll bushwalk by the mouth of tea-tree coloured Jerusalem Creek and come back along the beach. Set out from Black Rocks.
One last note: here are some of the parks’ rules to keep in mind before you head out:
- Choose a bushwalk your fitness and skill level can handle
- Do not bring any pets or firearms with you in the area—not allowed
- Enjoy the wildlife, take photos, but do not disturb the animals, plants, Aboriginal sites or historic places
- Be very careful when using fire and only use designated fireplaces provided—observe total fire bans when posted
- BYO firewood or make use of gas stoves
- Observe all of the signs in the area—they’re for your safety and enjoyment
- Keep to the paths, for your safety and the health of the parks
- Stay hydrated, wear a hat, bring a walking stick if you need to
- Try not to do a bushwalk on your own, but if you do, advise a friend or family member of which track you’re on
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