Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

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Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby Pink Cap » Mon 06 Jul, 2020 10:10 am

I’m heading to northern NSW to do some solo walking and camping. I’m keen to hear suggestions for overnight hikes, 30km to 80km in distance in areas that are currently open and not bushfire affected. I prefer to walk 20km to 25 km per day and I’m not keen to be going off track, and I do have a great deal of hiking experience. My car is only 2WD. I have considered Yuraygir (the parts I can reach without a car shuffle or river crossings) and I’ve done the Solitary Islands track but I am not finding possibilities inland that are currently open, and really I want to head much further north. I’m keen to do the Washpool world heritage walk but unclear if it is fire damaged. How is Border Ranges looking now? There are a myriad of national parks up near the Qld border that I know nothing about and would like to explore, but my random searching gave me closed areas.
Failing the availability of overnight hikes I’d also like suggestions for longish day walks (like more than 8km as an arbitrary number).
Thanks!
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Re: Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby Neo » Mon 06 Jul, 2020 12:38 pm

There is an end to end about 10km one way at Cathedral Rock NP. Also check out New England NP under the "things to do, walking" section.
Also some opportunity in Gibraltar-Washpool areas, a 45km loop.

Note: not quite as far north as you were looking, I haven't done these, there were fires around.
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Re: Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby ofuros » Mon 06 Jul, 2020 1:52 pm

With so many NP's in Northern Nsw still closed, all I have is a Nightcap NP overnighter with Turntable falls as a side trip.
Lots of shorter walks to waterfalls in the area too.
https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/th ... king-track

You've already mentioned the Gibraltar Washpool Heritage walk & Yuraygir coastal walk.

Border Ranges NP seem be in upgrade mode at the moment with Sheepstation camp still closed as well as the walks around it.
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby Moocattle » Thu 09 Jul, 2020 11:13 am

You'll be hard pressed to find anywhere that hasn't been affected by fire here. Lots of track damage, downed trees and the water quality still isn't great.

I was up at Gibraltar/Washpool two weeks ago and rode the heritage trail along with some off-track wandering. There was a serious lack of wildlife, all the trees outside of the gullies were crowned and next to nothing was flowering. I'm not sure how great the wildlfowers will be this year given all the energy is going into regrowth and most of the nice shrubby heath was flattened. The water isn't the lovely crystal clear it once was, and while the creeks are flowing, it's still at about the same height as before the fires. Having said that, it was still a nice couple of days. All the trees are showing epicormic growth (outside some of the coachwood in Washpool) and the swampy heath is looking lovely already. It'll be a good year for terrestrial orchids given the rain. Off track walking has been made super easy without the shrubby understory present, so climbing a rock and finding a view is pretty easy. I'd still say it's worth a visit even with all the damage.

As for Yuraygir, it's all looking fantastic again. You can easily put together an 80km loop along trails without crossing a river in the Northern section. The area inland up in the heath is far better than the coastal walk in my opinion; good views, easy walking. All the gully lines have clean, fresh flowing water at the moment so water isn't much of an issue like it was in the past few years.

There is quite a lack of official longer hikes in the Northern rivers outside of these two places. If you had a kayak, the options are limitless.
Nightcap's offering's aren't bad, with some incredibly nice rainforest (I'm yet to see the fire damage though). Border ranges should definitely be on your list, that place is magical. Forest Tops campground isn't bad if Sheepstation is closed. Jumping over the border into SEQ, there are a lot more options, but that might not be possible given Covid developments.

Another favourite of mine is in Banyabba (from Fortis Ck NP). Just make a loop from Fortis ck making sure to do Morgans Trail. Some nice low sandstone country with lots of endemic flora that'll be in flower late July. Creeks are all flowing too. Really, there are a lot of fire trails throughout all the forest here that make for nice long loops, but pretty much anywhere along the Great Divide is pretty trashed at the moment.
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Re: Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby Pink Cap » Fri 11 Sep, 2020 8:21 pm

I'm sorry I never got around to saying thank you for all this information. Many thanks! I ended up rushing north to Queensland but on my return south I'm planning to check out Gib Washpool.
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Re: Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby yeverett » Tue 29 Sep, 2020 9:26 am

Hi @moocattle - Good feedback on Gibraltar Washpool fire recovery, water quality etc. We are walking the World Heritage Walk in two weeks time, sadly the Washpool loop is still closed. We did Green Gully Track earlier this month, loved it - so many orchids and as you mention the lack of an under storey post fires makes for open views and easy exploring.
https://coffstrails.com/trail/green-gully-track/
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Re: Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby Pink Cap » Tue 29 Sep, 2020 7:09 pm

Quick follow up. I did the Gibraltar Washpool World Heritage Walk last week and enjoyed it. Everything, by which I mean all the side tracks and camping areas, was open but there is unavoidable evidence everywhere of the fires. I definitely recommend camping at Coombadjha - I had the place to myself - and I found Boundary Falls campground rather uninspiring. I did the hike easily in 3 days with a few side trips. Do not miss the hike out to The Needles. I saw and heard masses of birds but no animals. Water was no problem.

One thing to be aware of is that where you make the sharp turn in the trail about a kilometre before Boundary Falls campsite the NPWS sign is there but it is completely burnt out. Otherwise I found all the signs to be intact and had no navigation issues.

I left my car at Mulligans, which is a lovely campsite, but I think it may be easier to start from Boundary Falls as that campsite is only a short drive from the highway whereas Mulligans is 9 kms on a fairly rough road.
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Re: Far northern NSW overnight walk suggestions please

Postby Ms_Mudd » Tue 29 Sep, 2020 9:38 pm

I walked Washpool Gibraltar World Heritage Trail week before last, Tues-Fri. My planned walk was canned at 9pm the night before as there was an aerial cull in my local NP, so I had to plan a loop walk in NSW totally on the fly. I am not sorry, had a great few days.
Am back up in the Northern Tablelands this week too, but only day walking.

I would guesstimate 95% of the trail was fire affected, however, it was so encouraging to see the regrowth and hear the frogs in the subalpine swamp areas. I enjoyed myself.

I parked at Mulligan's and left at lunchtime the first day, walking anticlockwise to Coombadhja, set up camp then did the 8.5km loop that comes off the campsite before darkness fell. Only two other walkers in camp, very quiet and comfortable sleep. 19km day

Struggled Day 2, arrived at Grassy Creek by 1030hrs though, decided to stay there, walked up the creek a little and set my tent up and enjoyed the sound of gently cascading water all night. Another solo woman walked into camp late that Arvo, plenty of room for us to spread out. Finished a book. Drank heaps of coffee. Bliss. 7.5km day

Met some day walkers who were regulars to the area who suggested what I had thought already, Boundary Falls full of winnebagos and not great, they gave me a suggestion for a stealth location near water further on, which I took. Had a beautiful, remote camp with incredible views that night . 20km day

Last day only had very easy flattish 10.5km back to Mulligan's. Saw heaps of snakes, nice walking. Cold shower at Mulligan's, early lunch in Glen Innes, back to my place 5hr drive away just before dinner.
Mulligan's felt like a very safe place to leave my car, with the added benefit of the cold showers available when I finishshed.

All but a 2km stretch of the trail was wide, management/fire trail but I have no beef with that, I just love walking and don't need to be on single-track or offtrack to find my happy place.

The various streams along the way offered frequent opportunities to top up my water, so I never needed to carry more then 1.5lt.

It was a story of hope for me-the landscape had obviously been heavily impacted by fires, yet was recovering. Plenty of bird and reptile life about, marsupials, not so much.

Enjoy yourself, I did
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