Tenterfield’s national parks offer plenty of choices for anyone wanting to enjoy nature, walk, swim, picnic, camp and see the sights.
Tenterfield Shire sits high on the New England Tableland surrounded by a rugged and scenic landscape of well-watered forests and woodlands.
The region has two World Heritage National Parks, both of which boast some of the oldest vegetation types in Australia. The World Heritage listing bestowed on these parks is testimony to their significance as places of great natural and cultural value.
Below are six of the best national parks in the Tenterfield region, all offering their own unique experiences.
BALD ROCK NATIONAL PARK
Rising 260m above the surrounding bushland, Bald Rock is a massive granite dome 750m long and 500m wide, making it the largest exposed granite rock in the Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy one of the scenic walks to the top of the rock and bask in the breathtaking views across a boulder-studded landscape.
There is a gentle 2.5km climb to the summit, with the option of a short but very steep descent.
BOONOO BOONOO NATIONAL PARK
Boonoo Boonoo National Park (pronounced ‘bunna bunoo’ – Aboriginal for ‘big rocks’) is a woodland park with spectacular river and gorge sceneryand plenty of historic interest.
The park is perhaps most famous for the spectacular Boonoo Boonoo Falls,which cascade over the eastern edge of the New England Tableland, crashing 210m into the rainforest and gorges below.
Story has it that the Boonoo Boonoo Falls lookout is the very spot where poet Banjo Patterson proposed to his wife Alice, and it’s not hard to see why when you take in the awe-inspiring view.
Visitors can also stop at Morgan’s Gully, an oldgoldfield from the 1890s, or relax and enjoy a swim in the refreshing river.
BASKET SWAMP NATIONAL PARK
Basket Swamp National Park is a waterlogged 200ha of heath and sedges located south of Boonoo. The park cleans, stores and slowly releases water throughout the year into local creeks, and eventually to the coastal Clarence River system.
Visitors to the park are provided with access to Timbarra Lookout, Basket Swamp Falls and Woollool Woolloolni Aboriginal Place.
TORRINGTON STATE RECREATION AREA
Situated on the Mole Tableland and covering nearly 30,000ha, the Torrington state recreation area is the largest area of native vegetation on the Northern Tablelands.
Torrington sits on granite terrain and provides outstanding examples of New England granite flora, with more than 400 different plants, 37 of which are considered rare or threatened.
No visit is complete without a trip to both Thunderbolts Lookout and Mystery Face, the latter a human face-like weatherworn rock that is truly a must-see.
Camping, bushwalking, 4WDing and picnicking are popular in the area, owing no doubt to the incredible landscape of scenic rock outcrops, gorges, swamps and creeks.
KOREELAH NATIONAL PARK
Experience one of the state’s western-most rainforest areas.
Pockets of World Heritage listed rainforest hug the steep slopes below Acacia Plateau and Mt Wilson in Koreelah National Park, while a small grassy area beside Koreelah Creek provides a pleasant camping spot.
You might even be lucky enough to see an endangered double-eyed fig parrot, eastern bristle bird or black-striped wallaby, who all call the park home.
The park is located 30km west of Woodenbong, on White Swamp Rd, off the Summerland Way at Old Koreelah.
TOOLOOM NATIONAL PARK
Extensive subtropical and forest red gum stands protected within Tooloom National Park and provides habitat for the most diverse kangaroo and wallaby population found in Australia.
A picnic area and two short walking tracks are located on the southern edge of the park, each of which provides superb views of this rich area.
The park is located 10km south west of Urbenville, via the Urbenville-Tooloom Rd.