New England National Park

Bird watching

Lyrebirds often serenade visitors at Banksia Point, New England National Park (Image: Lyndall Coomber/DECCW)With a huge range of habitats and altitude the park provides refuge for may types of birds. Enjoy an evening serenade from the superb lyrebird, often seen and heard at Banksia Point. In the snow gum woodland look out for flame robin and crimson rosella. The winter flowering banksias attract New Holland honeyeater and eastern spinebill.

Below the escarpment you may also encounter rainforest birds. The lower reaches of the park are home to fruit eating pigeons and the elusive rufous scub bird.

Good spots for birdwatching

Banksia Point picnic area

Wheelchair access: medium

  • Assistance may be required to access this area

On a clear day the view from Banksia Point is spectacular, New England National Park (Image: Caz Fardell/DECCW)Banksia Point picnic area is a pleasant, grassy picnic area nestled in the forest and conveniently located near a trackhead that leads to walking opportunities out along and below the escarpment edge. From here, you can head off on Lyrebird walking track, or take the one-hour Banksia Point circuit and return via Tree Fern Valley.

This pretty picnic area is a popular place to enjoy a bite for both bushwalkers and campers staying at the nearby cabin accommodation.

There's also ample space to kick a ball around or toss a frisbee and a sheltered picnic spot with an elevated woodfire barbecue.

Activities: day walking, birdwatching, picnics and barbecues, motor vehicle use

Natural setting: rainforests

Getting there: Banksia Point is in the Point lookout precinct of New England National Park. To get there:

  • Turn onto Point Lookout Road from Waterfall Way, halfway between Armidale and Dorrigo.
  • Continue for approximately 13km
  • Turn right at the sign to Banksia Point, 1km before Point lookout.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: amenities block, picnic tables, wood barbecues (firewood supplied), carpark, lookout, flush toilets, trackhead/access point

Water supply: No water supplied.

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Lyrebird sitting on a branch in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Enjoy a picnic at Banksia Point in New England National Park (Image: Barbara Webster/DECCW)Sunrise from Banksia Point, adjacent to The Residence in New England National Park (Image: R Webster/DECCW)

Point lookout

Wheelchair access: easy

  • This area is fully wheelchair accessible
  • Toilets are wheelchair accessible

You may encounter eastern grey kangaroos in the snow gum woodlands around Point Lookout and Banksia Point in New England National Park (Image: Jim Evans/Jim Evans)Point lookout is the must-see destination for visitors to New England National Park. Perched on the edge of the Great Escarpment, it offers panoramic views across World Heritage rainforest to the ocean in the distance.

At sunrise, the mist in the valley turns from orange to pink as the sun erupts above the distant horizon. It’s no wonder this is one of the most photographed sunrises on the NSW North Coast.

Accessible to all, Point lookout is a 200m walk from the carpark on a wheelchair-friendly track. Pack a picnic, have a barbeque and spend a few hours relaxing and admiring the view. Read about the wonders of the Gondwana rainforest, Aboriginal cultural heritage and the history of this impressive location in the picnic shelter.

While you’re there, why not venture off to discover the rainforest below on the many walking tracks that start here?

Activities: sightseeing, walking, birdwatching, picnicking, playing and socialising, day walking, photography, geological/geomorphological appreciation, school/university excursions

Natural setting: alpine plant communities

Cultural heritage: Aboriginal heritage 

New England National Park straddles the traditional boundaries of the Dunghutti, Anaiwan and Gumbaynggirr Peoples. In caring for these lands, we show our respect for Elders past and present, and their strong spiritual and cultural connection to this Country.

Point lookout is known to Aboriginal People as Berarngutta, which roughly translates as 'prohibited area'. The mountain was sacred to all and respected as men-only place. Aboriginal women may wish to continue this tradition and avoid visiting the Point Lookout area.


Historic Heritage

2010 celebrates the 75th anniversary of New England National Park. Here at Point lookout, you can learn about the history of the dedication and management of the park from information panels in the picnic shelter.

The park’s history is testimony to the vision and dedication of several influential New Englanders, notably Philip A Wright of Wallamumbi Station and his son Peter. 

They were deeply impressed by the beauty and grandeur of Point Lookout and recognised the value of the area as a sanctuary for plants and animals - a place for scientists and bushwalkers.

These committed locals founded one of the first national parks in regional New South Wales and then served tirelessly on the Trust and Advisory Committees that managed New England National Park for most of the following 75 years.

A plaque acknowledges the contribution of the Wright family to the modern history of this place.


World Heritage

In 1986, New England National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in recognition of its outstanding natural heritage values. You can read more about the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area on information panels in the picnic shelter.

Getting there: On entering New England National Park, continue to the end of Point Lookout Road, where you’ll find the carpark at Point lookout.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: picnic tables, wood barbecues (firewood supplied), carpark, drinking water, lookout, non-flush toilets, trackhead/access point

Water supply: Untreated tank water supplied.

Not permitted here: Dogs. Domestic animals prohibited

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Sunrise from Banksia Point, adjacent to The Residence in New England National Park (Image: R Webster/DECCW)Looking out from Point Lookout to the New England wilderness in New England National Park  (Image: Gethin Coles/DECCW)View the spectacular panorama of wilderness and World Heritage rainforests from the highest point in New England National Park, Point Lookout (Image: Neville Fenton)

The Chalet (1 bedrooms, up to 5 people)

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area.

Enjoying the view from the deck of The Chalet in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Sitting on the edge of the escarpment, The Chalet is a cosy cabin surrounded by tall forest. Just the right size for small families and couples, it’s a perfect accommodation choice for those looking to get away from it all and immerse themselves in the wild.

Head off on Weeping Rock walking track just near the cabin and join Lyrebird walking track for a journey that will take you along the cliff face with its dripping waters and icicles, through lush ferns in World Heritage rainforest, and finish with spectacular views from Point lookout.

Relax on the deck, admire the beautiful mountain views and watch for the evening serenade of the local lyrebirds.

Snuggle up under your warm doona for a comfy night’s sleep, then wake to the sound of birdsong in the trees and a hot brekkie, ready for another unforgettable day in nature.

Activities: day walking, photography, wildlife watching, birdwatching, picnics and barbecues, sightseeing

Getting there: On entering New England National Park:

  • Continue on Point Lookout Road
  • The Chalet is located at Banksia Point, approximately 14km along Point Lookout Road just before you arrive at Point lookout.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Accommodation facilities: gas/electric barbecues, picnic tables

Water supply: tap water sourced from nearby spring; not treated or monitored.

Accommodation fees: $105 per night (2-person inclusive). $15 per night for each additional person (minimum 2-night stay).

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets. Visitors with pets can stay at private accommodation outside the park.

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively, please contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Outside view of The Chalet accommodation in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Bedroom in The Chalet in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Side view of The Chalet accommodation in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Living area in The Chalet in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)View from Point Lookout in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)

The Residence (3 bedrooms, up to 10 people)

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area.

The Residence at Point Lookout in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Located at Banksia Point, The Residence offers a cosy weekend retreat and a place to recharge. There’s plenty of room in this fully-furnished cottage, making it an ideal accommodation option for a family holiday or a group looking for a base to explore.

You could easily gaze out the large windows all day, admiring the leafy green forest outlook, yet there are spectacular lookouts and the magnificent World Heritage Gondwana rainforests right on your doorstep to discover.

Pack a picnic and head off on Wrights lookout walking track to experience the views from the open rocky plateau. In spring, you’ll also be treated to colourful displays of wildflowers in bloom.

After a peaceful night’s sleep, wake the kids for a sunrise experience they won’t forget. Looking out over the mist-covered wilderness at Point lookout, there’s no better way to start a new day.

Activities: day walking, photography, wildlife watching, birdwatching, picnics and barbecues, sightseeing

Getting there: On entering New England National Park:

  • Continue on Point Lookout Road
  • The Residence is located at Banksia Point, approximately 14km along Point Lookout Road, just before you arrive at Point lookout.

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: gas/electric barbecues, picnic tables

Water supply: tap water sourced from nearby spring; not treated or monitored.

Accommodation fees: $105 per night (2-person inclusive). $15 per night for each additional person minimum 2-night stay).

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets. Visitors with pets can stay at private accommodation outside the park.

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

Alternatively, please contact the Customer Experience Team on 13000 PARKS (13000 72757) to make a booking.

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

The Residence at Point Lookout in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Living area in The Residence in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Living area in The Residence in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Sunrise from Banksia Point, adjacent to The Residence in New England National Park (Image: R Webster/DECCW)

Thungutti campground

Wheelchair access: medium
 Assistance may be required to access this area.

Enjoy a campfire in Thungutti campground in New England National Park (Image: B Webster/DECCW)Nestled under the shade of the tall eucalypt trees, you’ll find plenty of tucked away and secluded campsites to pitch a tent at Thungutti campground.

Relax and enjoy the lush greenness of scattered ferns around you, listening to the kookaburras laughing in the trees above.

Once you get settled, it’s time to explore. Tea Tree Falls walking track starts right here, taking you through tea tree woodland and across the Styx River headwaters to a forest of hanging moss. Or head off on Eagles Nest walking track to discover the incredible natural wonders of the ancient Gondwana rainforest.

On your return, you’ll find a barbecue shelter for cooking up a tasty dinner and a place to enjoy the warmth of the campfire. Then, snuggle up for a good night’s rest, before your sunrise visit to Point lookout.

Activities: camping, photography, wildlife watching, birdwatching, picnics and barbecues

Getting there: On entering New England National Park:

  • Continue along Point Lookout Road
  • Thungutti campground is located on your left, just near the park entrance.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: picnic tables, wood barbecues (firewood supplied), gas/electric barbecues (free), non-flush toilets, cold showers, carpark, drinking water, trackhead/access point

Other facilities: Additional area available for caravans and trailers at Little Styx River rest area just outside the park. Call for details.

Camping fees: $5 per adult per night. $3 per child per night. Payment by cash or cheque at on-site self-registration station.

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets. Campers with pets can stay at Little Styx River rest area outside the park.

Bookings: Bookings are not available for this campground.

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Thungutti campground in New England National Park (Image: B Webster/DECCW)Thungutti campground in New England National Park (Image: B Webster/DECCW)Little Styx River camping area is just outside the park (Image: B Webster/DECCW)

Toms Cabin (2 bedrooms, up to 8 people)

Wheelchair access: hard

Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty

Toms Cabin in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Toms Cabin offers basic accommodation for nature lovers who love walking, right in the heart of the park. Great for a family holiday, or a weekend with friends, it provides a comfortable base with rustic charm to explore the natural wonders around you.

Wander to the nearby creek and find a spot to sit and watch the local birds and other wildlife. The kids will love splashing in the creek and you might be lucky enough to see a passing wallaby or lyrebird.

Stroll along Tea Tree Falls walking track to discover ancient beech forest with weeping papillaria moss on the way. Have a picnic lunch or barbecue at Thungutti campground before wandering back to get cosy in front of the fireplace at the cabin.

Wake up early to experience the magnificent sunrise views and the rising mist from Point lookout, or sleep in and wake to the sounds of birdsong in the trees above.

Activities: walking, photography, wildlife watching, birdwatching, picnics and barbecues, sightseeing

Getting there: On entering New England National Park:

  • Continue on Point Lookout Road
  • Toms Cabin is located approximately 13km along Point Lookout Road, just before you arrive at Point lookout.

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

General facilities: wood barbecues (firewood supplied), non-flush toilets

Accommodation facilities: non-flush toilets, wood barbecues (firewood supplied)

Water supply: tap water is sourced from a nearby creek; not treated or monitored.

Accommodation fees: $50 per night (2-person inclusive). $5 per night for each additional person (minimum 2-night stay).

Not permitted here:

  • Dogs.
  • Other domestic animals or pets. Campers with pets can stay at the Styx River rest area outside the park

Online bookings: use a secure payment facility to book online

NB: All reservations incur a booking fee of 2.5% in addition to the total amount payable.

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Dining area in Toms Cabin, New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Inside Toms Cabin in New England National Park (Image: B Webster/DECCW)Toms Cabin in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Bedroom in Toms Cabin, New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)

Good tracks and trails for birdwatchers

Eagles Nest walking track - 2.2km (loop)

Walking (hard, 2 hours )

General information

In the forest around Point Lookout in New England National Park (Image: Michael van Ewijk/DECCW)Eagles Nest walking track takes you on a journey though World Heritage rainforest and snow gum forest, with outstanding views along the way.

Climb down into the ageless world of Gondwana rainforest. Marvel at the huge mossy Antarctic beech trees covered in fungus and dotted with beech orchids.  You’ll see water trickling from the rocks, often freezing and forming chandeliers of ice that glisten in the winter light.

Climb back up to the escarpment near Banksia Point and return to Point lookout through the snow gum woodland. Look out for the brilliantly coloured crimson rosellas as you wander through the forest. In spring, you’ll be treated to the beauty of snow gum woodland carpeted with snowgrass tussocks and colourful wildflowers.

Finish with the breathtaking views from Point lookout, knowing what incredible natural wonders lie in the wilderness below.

Directions: Take the turn off the Point Lookout Circuit to commence this walk below the cliffs. Climb back up the escarpment near Banksia Point and return to Point Lookout through the snow gum woodland.

Plant communities: rainforests

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Lyrebird walking track - 5.5km (loop)

Walking (medium difficulty, 3 hours )

General information

The Lyrebird walk takes you through a diversity of habitats with glimpses of Wilderness views, New England National Park (Image: Ian Webster/DECCW)Lyrebird walking track is a 5.5km circuit walk through New England National Park that takes walkers through an enchanting range of environments, including eucalypt forest and cool temperate rainforest, along basalt cliffs and past babbling brooks, historic signposts, waterfalls and colourful heath. Marvel at a constantly changing feast of expansive views. At dawn, valley-mist swirls like a white lake between the higher peaks and rises to embrace early morning walkers.

Immerse yourself in the ancient Gondwana where the calls of the superb lyrebirds may be heard echoing up and down the valleys, especially in winter when the males' mating calls reach a crescendo. King parrots and crimson rosellas swerve through the treetops whilst yellow-tailed black cockatoos screech into the valleys below. Rufous and grey fantails are also intriguing to watch as their tails are splayed and angled to manoeuvre quickly after flying prey.

If you’d prefer a shorter walk, return to Banksia Point via Tree Fern Valley (1.5km). This walk also links to Eagles Nest walking track (7km) or Wrights lookout walking track and Cascades walking track (9.3km).

Directions:  

Start at Banksia Point or link this loop to the Eagles Nest Track (total 7.5km five hours).

For a shorter walk return to Banksia Point via Tree Fern Valley (1.5km one hour circuit).

For a longer day walk, add Wrights Lookout or the Cascades Walk to your journey.

Plant communities: rainforests, wet eucalypt forests, heathlands

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

New England Wilderness walk - 33km each way (one-way route)

Walking (hard, 20 hours each way)

General information

Relics of recent farming days remain in the upper Bellinger River valley, New England National Park (Image: Sean leathers/DECCW)Descending over 1,000m from the edge of New England Tableland to the headwaters of Bellinger River, this multi-day walk invites experienced bush walkers on a journey through diverse wilderness.

Best done over three days, this challenging walk follows the trail up to Wrights lookout. Enjoy the spectacular views before continuing along Snowy Range, then down to Sunday Creek.

The next stage involves creek-walking and river crossings, so make sure you’re equipped with the right footwear. There are lots of opportunities for swimming and serene camping along the way.

Once you reach the valley floor, you’ll wander along an old farm trail over grassy river flats, passing historic farmhouses and stockyards to remind you of the farming heritage here.

The 33km walk finishes on Darkwood Road, but you can also extend your adventure by canoeing or kayaking down the river from Cool Creek Crossing.

Directions:

Location and access
To access New England National Park turn off Waterfall Way onto Point Lookout Road about 68 km west from Armidale or 58 km east from Dorrigo. Follow Point Lookout Road (gravel 2WD road) for 11 km where you enter New England National Park. A turn-off to the left leads to into Thungutti Camping Area. A turn-off to the right 200 metres beyond the park entrance leads to the carpark at the start of Robinsons Knob Trail. The wilderness walk starts from this carpark.

What to expect
This walk takes you into wilderness. The route along Grasstree Ridge is not on a maintained walking track. You are likely to encounter fallen branches and patches of regrowth you will need to negotiate your way under, over or around. You need to be reasonably fit and able to carry a full pack. This can be strenuous, especially whilst walking along Sunday Creek and crossing the river. You should have bush-walking experience and at least basic bush navigationskills.

Transport arrangements
The walk is best done as a through-walk from Robinsons Knob carpark out to the trafficable end of Darkwood Road. As there is no public transport to the start or finish of the walk you will need to arrange a drop-off and pick-up or do a car shuffle. Do not proceed by vehicle past Cool Creek Crossing (there is a the turn-around point where the road fords the creek). The road is not maintained beyond this point and becomes impassable.

Topographical maps
The route map in the notes is sufficient for navigation for the walk described. If you wish to explore off this route you must have relevant topographical maps. The following 1:25,000 topographical maps cover the entire walk:

  • Hyatts Flat 9336-1-N
  • Ebor 9337-2-S
  • Darkwood 9437-3-S

NOTE: Avoid doing the walk during periods of heavy rainfall and high river levels.

Purchase a booklet describing the walk from the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre for $9.95 + postage and handling.

 

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Wilderness walk from subalpine to subtropics, New England National Park (Image: Barbara Webster/DECCW)Wilderness Walk in New England National Park (Image: Barbara Webster/DECCW)Wilderness Walk in New England National Park (Image: Barbara Webster/DECCW)Wilderness Walk in New England National Park (Image: Barbara Webster/DECCW)Wilderness Walk in New England National Park (Image: Barbara Webster/DECCW)

Wrights lookout walking track - 4km each way (one-way route)

Walking (medium difficulty, 2 hours each way)

General information

Wrights Lookout is the ideal spot for a break before heading back up the Lyrebird Walk, New England National Park (Image: Geoff Lillyman/DECCW)The walk to Wrights lookout takes you from the lush world of ferns and mosses to a rocky plateau with spectacular panoramic views.

It’s a bit of a scramble to get to the top, but you’ll be rewarded at the end, standing on the top of an ancient trachyte remnant of Ebor Volcano, looking down to Bellinger River in the valley below.

Pack a thermos and enjoy a hot cuppa and a picnic with a view. The views from the top are beautiful all year round, but in spring the heathlands burst with colourful wildflowers. For the birdwatchers, keep your eyes out for honeyeaters as they come to feed on the flowering banksia.

On the way back, why not continue on Lyrebird walking track for the full New England experience? Immerse yourself in the ancient Gondwana rainforests and discover secret dells where lyrebirds call.

Directions: Start this walk at the Robinsons Knob Trail carpark near the park entrance (2km each way) or link with the Lyrebird Walk for the full New England experience (7km, 5 hours return).

The scramble up the short rocky cliff onto Wrights Lookout requires some agility and sure-footedness. There is a large bench seat provided at the base of this climb for party members who do not wish to continue.

Children should be closely supervised on the summit as steep cliffs surround the open rocky plateau.

Plant communities: heathlands

Contact: Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Phone: (02) 6657 2309

Bird watching: events and activities

Commercial activity

Greg Clancy Guide

A black-necked stork near GraftonEcologist and wildlife-birding guide
This wildlife tour and guiding service is based on the NSW North Coast but offers guiding services covering much of the state.

Utilising a professional ecologist tour participants are provided with accurate identification of species of flora and fauna and their habitats as well as details of their behaviour.

The north coast of New South Wales lies in the region of Australia's highest biodiversity, known as the Macleay-McPherson overlap, where tropical species overlap temperate species.

Custom tours for the keen birdwatcher are also a specialty.

More info: Greg Clancy Wildlife Guide, Phone: 02 6649 3153 (international +612 6649 3153)

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