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Barrington Tops Camping & 4WD Guide – Everything You Need To Know

Situated just 3 hours North West of Sydney, Barrington Tops is an explorer’s paradise. Suitable as a weekend getaway or a longer escape,  the park offers something for every type of outdoor enthusiast: Camping, Hiking, 4WDing, Swimming, Fishing, Star-gazing and Barbecuing just to name a few. If you are planning to visit Barrington Tops National Park, this camping and 4wd guide will help you plan your trip and get the most out of your adventures.

Barrington Tops National Park at a Glance

Where is Barrington Tops National Park?

Barrington Tops National Park is situated in central-eastern NSW, approx 110km north of  New Castle or 260km north of Sydney.

Best time of year to visit

Spring is the best time to visit. This is when wildflowers are in full bloom and is a visual treat along most hiking trails in the park. Come prepared as the local weather is known to be unpredictable.

Length of Stay

It is possible to explore all the major attractions in the park in one day. However, is you have more time, an overnighter is highly recommended.

Popular Activities
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • 4WDing
  • Cycling
  • Star-gazing
  • Picnic / Barbecuing

Download this Trip Guide for offline use on your iPhone or iPad with the BillyGoat 4WD & Camping app.

Getting to Barrington Tops National Park

From Gloucester (from the East)

Head south on The Bucketts Way, which turns into Scones Rd. When you reach the end of the paved rd, turn right onto the unpaved Barrington Tops Forrest Rd which runs east to west throughout the park.

From Sydney

Take the M1 (Pacific Hwy) in North Sydney and drive for 290km until you reach Nabiac. Turn left off the M1 and head east towards Gloucester. In approx 55km, you will reach Gloucester.

From Newcastle

Head north along the A1 until you reach Nabiac. When you reach Nabiac, turn left off the M1 and head towards Gloucester. In approx 55km, you will reach Gloucester.

Getting Around

A 4WD definitely not needed to access the best the park has to offer. While all the main roads running through the park are unpaved, they can undoubtedly be traversed in a 2WD. These are also classed as public roads and suitable for hire cars.

Access to some off the beaten path gems does require an appropriate and well-prepared vehicle. Smaller tracks and trails are not well maintained. An all-wheel-drive or 4wd is strongly recommended for exploring these more adventurous trails. 


Mountain Maid Gold Mine

The Mountain Maid Gold Mine is one destination that comes highly recommended by Rhonda Blackwell, a community member who lives locally and frequently visits the park. Copeland Goldfield and this mine in particular remains a portal into the past and an excellent spot for the family to uncover hidden treasures. Rhonda fondly recalls finding a gold nugget attached to a small piece of quartz that she now wears around her neck, and estimates to be valued at $460. She also tells a story of how a small child found a massive nugget while he was playing downstream with his family around seven years ago. It becomes easy to see just why our ancestors caught the gold rush fever those many years ago. Panning for gold makes for great fun, just watch out for the leaches when panning in the creek.

Goldmining Heritage, Copeland Tops National Park

“It didn’t take long to persuade my hubby to bring us back with some gold panning gear! Awesome fun…”

— Rhonda Blackwell


1876: Alluvial gold was first discovered in Copeland Creek by a fella named Saxby.

1876: Mountain Maid Reef discovered. Gold mines started to multiply throughout the region, now referred to as Copeland Goldfields. Miners began pouring into the region, and the nearby town of Copeland quickly reached a population of 1,100.

1875-1900: During the last 25 years of the 19th century, around 70 mines were in operation around Copeland.

1900-1930: Most to the mines closed during this period which caused Copeland’s population to dwindle. Once the miners left, buildings were left to nature and quickly vanished over time. Since the first discovery, 11 tons of gold has been produced from this region, which is worth approx $460million AUD as of Feb 2022.

2003: Mountain Maid Gold Mine is the last remaining mine in the Copeland goldfields. In 2003, this mine transition under the stewardship of NSW’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife.

2007 – 2010: During this period, the mine was closed for renovations. Post renovations, it was re-opened to the public in 2010.

Since the renovation, this site features 3 trails. The Hidden Treasures walk (4.5km), and the Basin Loop Trail (7km) are both self-guided. Winding through the lush rain forest in the valley of the Copeland Creek, these trails are clearly signed and feature well maintained walkways and viewing platforms. The Mountain Maid Link Trail is a guided tour, which includes the underground tour into the mine where quartz containing gold can be seen. A wooden walkway extends hundreds of meters into the mountain. The mine extends some 395m into the hillside and to a depth of 180m.

Access: Heritage precinct, at Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Turn off Copeland Road. GPS Coordinates: 31.97852S, 151.82568E

For guided tours, bookings area essentials via NPWS website:

Thunderbolt’s Lookout

You can take the challenging walk up to Thunderbolt’s Lookout which starts from Nomads Picnic area. The last part of the walk is quite a challenging climb up large rock formations. Once at the top the 360-degree panoramic views are breathtaking and a great reward for your hard work. On the way back down you can relax and have lunch amongst the shady trees of Nomads Picnic area.

Ladies Well

Ladies Well is located on the Upper Allyn River near the southern entrance to Chichester State Forest, at the foot of Barrington Tops National Park.

It’s a stunning spot to unwind and take in the magnificent scenery. A great spot to perch upon the rocks and watch the water cascade down into the pool below. Granite rocks that support the cascade are perfect diving platforms surrounding the waterhole. If you prefer a slower pace, take a dip in its crisp river waters, then unpack a picnic and enjoy the lush forest surroundings.

Ladies Well – Chichester State Park, at the southern edge of Barrington Tops National Park.

  • Scenic & Photogenic
  • Swimming / Diving
  • Sitting in the water pit
  • Lush forest surroundings
Facilities Nearby
  • Campgrounds are 400m away, within a leisurely stroll over flat terrain. 
  • Drop Toilets are available at the campground.
  • Scroll down to the Camping in Barrington Tops section to learn more about this Campground.
Hikes Nearby
  1. Blue Gum loop trail (3.5km – 1.5hrs)
  2. Rocky Crossing walk (16km – 7hrs)
Getting to Ladies Well

NOTE: Following these directions will take you on some unpaved roads. These unpaved roads are all public roads and traversable in a 2WD.

From Dungog:

  1. Head North towards the village of Salisbury.
  2. Turn left onto the unpaved Salisbury Gap Rd and head west.
  3. In 17.5kms, take a sharp right onto Allyn River Rd.
  4. Head north for 11km until you reach Ladies Well. 

From Gresford: 

  1. Head north on Allyn River Rd for 24kms.
  2. When you reach the village of Eccleston, the road surface will change to become unpaved.
  3. Head north for 11kms until you reach Ladies Well.

Map of Allyn River Rest Area

Download the rest of this map (pdf)

Polblue Swamp Walk

Polblue Swamp Walking Track, Barrington Tops National Park. Photo NSW Government. 

This easy to follow 3km loop boardwalk can be accessed from Polblue campground and Picnic Area. It will guide you through the mistic wetlands and high altitude forests of the Barrington Tops Plateau. A great platform for spotting wombats, kangaroos and the diverse flora and fauna of this spectacular region. Allow approximately one and a half hours to complete the walk, after which you can enjoy a picnic with family and friends at the picnic area and unwind.

Download this Trip Guide for offline use on your iPhone or iPad with the BillyGoat 4WD & Camping app.

Gloucester Falls

The spectacular Gloucester Falls can be discovered by following the Gloucester Falls walking track. The walk begins from the nearby picnic area and takes approximately one hour each way. This relaxed walk is ideal for the whole family to explore the lush sub-alpine forest and marvel at the breathtaking views from the Andrew Laurie Lookout. Continue along the track to uncover the multilevel water cascade offered by Gloucester Falls.

The stunning Gloucester Falls, Barrington Tops National Park.  Photo Credit .

Upon your return, you can enjoy a picnic at Gloucester Falls Picnic Area. Toilets and picnic tables are available here for you to enjoy.

Barrington Tops Camping

One of the highlights of Barrington Tops is the scenic camping.

“Awesome place to camp and 4wd. It snows in winter and good tracks and lovely camp sites. One of my favourites is not too far from Barrington which is Frying Pan Creek camping ground.”

– Ryan Bourke

Download this Trip Guide for offline use on your iPhone or iPad with the BillyGoat 4WD & Camping app.

Camping near Ladies Well

Camping near Ladies Well offers great swimming, fishing and scenic views. 

“Old Camp” (Allyn River campground)

Situated in the lower Barrington’s, Chichester State Forest, Allyn River campground is a great first stop on your way to exploring Barrington Tops. This is a free campsite and is dog friendly, so feel free to bring you 4 legged best friend along.

This campground is the closest to Allyn River and features shady yet spacious campsites. Nearby is “Ladies Well”, a gorgeous swimming hole featuring a small waterfall.

For all these reasons, Old camp is extremely popular and fills up quickly, especially on weekends and school holidays. Booking are not required so it’s first in best dressed. 

Location: Southern edge of the national park, along Allyn River Rd, near the crossing of the Barrington River.

GPS coordinates: 32:9:20 S, 151:29:18 E

Access: 2WD, 4WD, Motorbike, Camper Trailer, Caravan

Be aware: When approaching via river crossing, take caution, especially after heavy rain.

Number of sites: 5 sites

Campsite surface: Grass



  • Pets allowed
  • Drop Toilets
  • Open Firepits
  • Bins
  • Hiking Trails nearby

Generators: Not permitted

Bookings: Not required. First in, best dressed

Mobile phone coverage: generally available.

“We went at the end of April, the days were warm the nights chilly but great with a campfire. Kids loved it too, nice swimming holes. We want to go back.”

— Anthony Getleman

Camping near Thunderbolts Lookout


Spectacular views from Thunderbolts Lookout. Photo Credit

Manning River Campground 


Basic but clean bush camp

Close to creek

Bring own toilet paper

No Bins

Plenty of trees provide shade

Seasonal Closures

Beware: Dangerous when wet

Access: 2WD, 4WD, Caravans, Camper Trailer.

Booking: This is a free facility, bookings are not required. First in best dressed.


  • Dogs Allowed
  • Toilets
  • Water (treat before drinking)
  • Picnic Tables
  • Open Firepit
Devil’s Hole Campground

With an altitude of around 1,400 m, Devil’s Hole campground is one of the highest camping spots in Australia.  It provides access to Devil’s hole lookout, an easy walk that leads to a large viewing platform with magnificent views of the peaks.  Toilets and picnic tables available at the day-use area.


  • Fire pits

Download this Trip Guide for offline use on your iPhone or iPad with the BillyGoat 4WD & Camping app.

Gummi Falls Campground

Beautiful setting by the river and close proximity to Gummi Falls.  This grassy spot is ideal for the self-sufficient camper and provides a scenic sanctuary perfect for fishing, swimming and spotting the diverse wildlife in the area.


  • Picnic Tables
  • Drop toilets
  • Wood barbecues

Camping Near Gloucester Falls

Gloucester River Camp Ground

This is a scenic riverside camping and picnic area situated on the eastern edge of Barrington Tops National Park. This wide-open space allows you to pick your ideal spot by the river among towering trees providing welcome shade from the afternoon sun.  The site allows trailer and caravan access making it ideal for groups of all ages and vehicle levels.

Facilities Available:

  • Picnic Tables
  • Free Electric BBQ
  • Drop Toilets

“Gloucester River Camp Ground is a great spot to stay. Excellent facilities and not too far to drive to the Roundabout Inn, Gloucester for their terrific pizzas.”

– Steve Poole

Camping near Polblue Swamp Walk

Polblue Campground

Set in the picturesque subalpine forest, with lovely grassy picnic area and access to Polblue Swamp Walking Trail and Barrington Trail (4WD track).  This spacious ground caters for caravans, trailers and tents.  A great scenic spot perfect for a picnic or barbecue and great for families.

Facilities Available:

  • Picnic tables
  • Wood Barbecues (BYO firewood)
  • Free Electric Barbecues
  • Drop Toilets

“We stayed in tents on the other side of the Tops called “Frying Pan Creek” at Telegherry (Chichester state Forest) with my family, we went on a push bike adventure & loved the scenery. At night we took our Torches & spotted some amazing & scary things! The river is wide at dotted with different sized boulders.. You can swim during summer & if your crazy you can swim during winter, or do what ever you like for that matter? ”

– Rhonda Blackwell

Download this Trip Guide for offline use on your iPhone or iPad with the BillyGoat 4WD & Camping app.

4WD Track Notes

  • Most tracks closed from June to 30th of September, so best time to access 4WD tracks is between October and May.  Coming in winter can still be fun to check out the snow.
  • Ensure you check park closure information thoroughly before you go as opening times are only a rough guide and tracks are subject to closure with little notice in the event of harsh unpredictable conditions.
  • Accurate GPS device is highly recommended as signage in the area is poor, and many tracks are hidden and difficult to find.

“Love the place, snows in winter and plenty of creek crossings”

— Terry Callen

Barrington Tops Trail 4WD Track

Possibly the most iconic 4WD track in the Barrington Tops National Park. This track will take you from the lower Barringtons up to Tomalla road intersection.

Track Rating:


Open Times: 

From October to May annually (check park closures before going)

Track Features:

  • access to numerous campsites
  • scenic drive
  • river crossings