Barrington Tops National Park is an excellent place to spend a day exploring.
It's an alpine plateau part of the Mount Royal Range that reaches a height of 1586 metres at Brumlow Top (near Polblue) and offers a selection of walking tracks for a range of fitness levels.
To travel there from Gloucester, head north west out of town on the Thunderbolts Way. After passing through the village of Barrington and crossing the Barrington River continue on Scone Road toward the park. This road eventually turns into Barrington Tops Forest Road, which is sealed for 45 kilometres before 23 kilometres of two-wheel drive accessible gravel road to Polblue campground. Past Polblue, the gravel road continues for another 45km toward Moonan Flat with steep and winding conditions. Drive time from Gloucester to Barrington Tops is about an hour.
On the way to Polblue, you'll pass a few walking tracks and lookouts.
First is the Honeysuckle Forest Walking Track, a 1km loop, graded easy to moderate, that takes 15 to 45 minutes. It's the perfect introduction to the Barrington Tops and is an easy walk from the Honeysuckle picnic area through the 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 to imagine a Gondwana landscape with dinosaurs lurking in the shadows.
Next up is Thunderbolts Lookout, with a 400 metre return track that takes about 20 minutes to walk. It's a short and easy walking track to the lookout which offers scenic mountain views across the plateau region of Barrington Tops National Park wilderness, between Scone and Gloucester.
Then you'll pass Devil's Hole Lookout and picnic area. This very easy 100m return offers scenic views via an easy wheelchair track that takes about five minutes to walk.
The next stop is Polblue Swamp Track. It's an easy graded 3km loop that takes around 30 to 30 minutes to walk. The walk starts from the Polblue picnic area which is the highest point of the Barrington Tops and takes 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.
A further down Barrington Tops Forest Road, you'll come across The Firs, a picnic area located within a former fir plantation.
Just past The Firs, turn right onto Tubrabucca Road to loop back and you'll come across the Polblue Falls Track and picnic area. It's an easy to moderate 500m return that takes 10 to 30 minutes to walk. 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.
As you enjoy your day in Barrington Tops National Park, keep in mind that you are walking through part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. This landscape is millions of years old and plays a critical role in protecting rare and threatened species and sustaining vital resources.
For more information visit the Barrington Tops Area National Park and Wildlife Service office on Church Street, Gloucester or the Gloucester Visitor Information Centre, 27 Dension Street.