Escape the heat with a visit to our National Parks

23rd December 2013

Looking for a cool change?   Want to escape the heat?  The answer lies here in Tenterfield, right on your doorstep.

The Shire of Tenterfield is only approximately 300 - 400 kms from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.    From the North it is a beautiful drive through Cunningham’s Gap with a stunning view of the MainRangeNational Park.  

From the East it is only 160km from Lismore.   From this direction you travel the very pretty Bruxner Highway up the range and enter Tenterfield through tree-lined streets.  

Tenterfield sits in a valley astride the DividingRange, and being 850 metres (2788 ft) above sea level, it can mean that it can be common for temperatures to be below freezing in winter.  Tenterfield averages 47 days where the minimum temperatures drop below 0 degrees each year.  Summers are warm, but rarely hot and hardly ever humid.   Most of our rainfall arrives in thunderstorms, which can be severe.  Tenterfield’s highest recorded temperature was 38 degrees on 8th January, 1994.  Its coldest temperatures were -10.6 degrees on the 10th July, 2006.    

So this basically means that Tenterfield will be cooler than where you are right now this summer.  If in Brisbane or the Gold Coast or somewhere on the NSWCoast you can escape the heat and humidity by coming up high!

Within the Tenterfield Shire and on our surrounding borders we have been gifted with some of nature’s most beautiful creations on our selection of National Parks.  Not only are they beautiful – you will also find them comparatively cool – a great way to escape the heat! 

So make Tenterfield your base as you visit some of our parks.  We have an amazing range of accommodation within the Shire, there is also camping and caravan sites at many of the Parks or accommodation options close by or actually within the Parks.     Contact the Tenterfield Visitors Information Centre on 02 6736 1082 for assistance with planning your visit.   Also to celebrate staying Cool this Summer we have a Specials page with some great specials from some of our operators to entice you to the area.

Bald Rock National Park:

Measuring about 750 metres long and 500 metres wide the water streaked dome of Bald Rock is the largest granite monolith in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. At Bald Rock you need to climb the rock.   It is a non-negotiable and something I recommend to everybody.  From the Picnic Area there are two marked tracks, a steep one up the exposed face or an easier gradient through bush land around the back.  The descent can be either steep or gentle depending on what you prefer.   The summit offers panoramic views which are truly extraordinary.  To see our amazing country from this vantage point is truly humbling.  Occasionally things in life make you stop and think and sitting on the top of Bald Rock is one of them.  Your Bald Rock experience will stay with you forever. 

Bald Rock Picnic area has gas barbecues and picnic tables.  There are plenty of shaded spots to escape the heat.

Access: 29km north of Tenterfield on the sealed Mount Lindesay Road.  Turn into the Bald Rock Access Road (also sealed) for 5km before reaching Bald Rock picnic area. 

Basket Swamp National Park

This beautiful woodland park is home to an important wetland of heaths and sedges.   It cleans, stores and slowly released water throughout the year into local creeks that run into the coastal ClarenceRiver system.

This park is a paradise for self-reliant bushwalkers as facilities are sparse.  Take in views from the Timbarra Lookout and access the nearby BasketSwamp falls and the Woollooi Woolloolni Aboriginal area.  Bring along your bicycle for a great day of navigating in the park. 

Access: 14 km north-east of Tenterfield off the MountLindesay (Woodenbong) Road (partly paved) 

Boonoo Boonoo National Park

Boonoo Boonoo is a place that inspired Banjo Patterson to propose to his sweetheart Alice Walker and to write “The Ballad of Boonoo Boonoo”. 

Booonoo Boonoo (pronounced bunna-bunoo) is the perfect place to explore nature.  From the lookout there is an uninterrupted view of the BoonooBoonooRiver cascading over the granite cliff edge to become a spectacular waterfall that plunges 210m into the gorge below.  Nearby, you’ll find walking tracks and shady places to picnic.  Secluded rock pools along the river, lined by wildflower-filled bushland, are the perfect way to cool off on a hot day.

Cypress-pine camping area, by the BoonooBoonooRiver, suits car based camping, including medium-sized caravans.   Robinsons Cabin is an old forestry hut, which has been converted into budget holiday accommodation.

Access: 24km north-east of Tenterfield off the MountLindesay (Woodenbong) on partly unsealed roads.  

Capoompeta National Park

CapoompetaNational Park (pronounced ‘capp-ume-peter’) is mountainous, with dry forests, rainforest patches, tree fern gullies and important wildlife areas.   There are no facilities, except the scenic roads through the park.

Access: 68km from Glen Innes, 28km from Deepwater and 42km from Tenterfield. 

Girraween National Park

Although GirraweenNational Park is out of the Shire being only 20 minutes north of Tenterfield it is definitely part of our charm!  It boasts massive granite outcrops, balancing boulders, clear running streams and spectacular wildflowers in spring.  There is plenty of swimming options in both deep pools for big kids and adults and little wading pools for the little ones.  

There are both picnic and camping areas though booking during peak season is strongly recommended.

Access:  30km north of Tenterfield.

Koreelah National Park

Experience one of the state's western-most rainforest areas, just a few hours drive from the Gold Coast and Ballina. KoreelahNational Park provides a perfect weekend getaway and a beautiful car touring route.

Connect with nature and see magnificent World Heritage rainforest that hugs steep slopes overlooking eucalypt forests and peaceful valleys. Enjoy easy walking, remote camping and fantastic birdwatching.

Take an easy stroll along Gorge walking track and spend the afternoon swimming in natural pools and spotting wildlife in the rocky gorge. Keep an eye out for platypus, koalas, sugar gliders, brush-tailed rock wallabies and glossy black cockatoos. Then settle for the night and enjoy the tranquility of the bush at Koreelah Creek campground.

Access: 30km west of Woodenbong on White Swamp Road (unsealed) off Summerland Way at Old Koreelah.

Tooloom National Park

The Tooloom Scrub rainforest is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and includes important areas of subtropical rainforest.  Ten species of kangaroos and wallabies inhabit the park, including the threatened long-nosed potoroo.

Enjoy a picnic and a walk in this gorgeous natural environment of strangler figs, glossy green rainforest foliage and superb scenic views.   Don’t miss Tooloom lookout.   Backpack caping is permitted so get in touch with the Kyogle office to find out about sire locations and bookings. 

Access: TooloomNational Park is only 20km from the border town of Urbenville, 32km from Woodenbong and 60km from Warwick.  It’s also a great day trip from Casino, which is 130km from Tooloom.  

Torrington State Conservation Area

This park lies on a geologically rich part of the tablelands with beautiful scenery, several historic sites and an amazing variety of woodland plants and animals.

Fossickers seek topaz, emerald, sapphire and quartz crystal here.

With many great walks available, a popular walk starts from Nomads picnic area, a walk to Thunderbolts Lookout offers fine 360 degree views.  A popular walk takes you to a curious rock face called the Mystery Face.  Ugly Corner Walk highlight’s the areas creek side scenery.  Camping is available at Blatherarm campground and there are also two picnic areas.

Access: From Tenterfield head south along the New England Highway for 50km.  Turn right into Stannum Road, just before the town of Deepwater.  Follow for approximately 30km until you reach the town of Torrington where the conservation area starts.

Washpool National Park

Although south of TenterfieldShireWashpoolNational Park is seen as being a gateway to Tenterfield’s National Parks and definitely recommended. The landscape of steep gorges, clear waters and World Heritage rainforest protects some of the most varied and least disturbed forest in NSW, including the world’s largest stand of coachwood trees.  There are excellent wilderness walking opportunities.

The Coombadjha walk, an easy 1.4km circuit with educational signs and creek-side scenery, makes a good introduction to the park.  The 8.5km Washpool Walk takes in the park’s main forest types.  Camp at Coombadjha or Bellbird camping areas, where there are toilets, shelters and fireplaces. 

Access: From Tenterfield, travel approximately 60 minutes south to Glen Innes then 78km east to WashpoolNational Park. 

How to make the most of your visits to the National Parks

  • Ensure you bring money with you as you will need to pay on arrival whether it is for a day visit or overnight camping.  Park passes can be purchased online at  For booking Park Cabins or any further questions call 13000 72757
  • For Girraween please note as it is in QLD please check before arrival with camping on / 137468
  • It gets VERY COLD during Autumn / Winter and Summer can surprise you so bring lots of layers!!
  • Bring your own water, or be prepared to boil the water supplied.
  • There are very few local shops, so get what you need for your visit from Tenterfield!
  • You also need to bring plenty of rubbish bags, as it all must be taken out of the park with you.
  • In high wind / dry weather there can be total fire bans but in many areas gas BBQs are provided. 
  • Pets are not allowed.


Bald Rock

Boonoo Boonoo Falls

Boonoo Boonoo Swimming Hole

At the summit of Bald Rock

Basket Swamp National Park

Bushwalking in our parks

Bald Rock

Basket Swamp

Boonoo Boonoo