Recall the days of Duke of Ed? If you are into hiking, orienteering (and possibly getting lost) or maybe just getting away from the city and chilling with some friends, then read on. A few of my friends and I went out to Barrington Tops end of last year and had a really great time. Barrington Tops is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed location that is a 3 hour drive North from Sydney and is famous for flowing rivers, rich diversity in vegetation and pretty landscapes.
We went in late November, so there were no snow-capped mountains which you would expect during the Winter hiking season, but it was still breezy in the day and chilly at night. So prepare warm clothing and sleeping bags. After parking the car we trekked through lush rainforest to reach Wombat Creek, which has a toilet on site, as well as a river with clear running water nearby. This was pretty useful as we could boil/purify this water with tablets if we ran low on supplies.
Then we started our search for fire wood to start a campfire. This is essential to staying warm on your camping trip and great for making damper (a traditional Australian soda bread prepared by swagmen, drovers, stockmen and other travelers). Bring some flour, water and Nutella for flavouring. Alternatively try toasting marshmallows. Later in the night we would start telling ghost stories around the flickering fire and look up at the starry sky.
Over the next day we explored the trails around Wombat Creek. The first was Carey's peak, which is just a few kilometres from our camping site and has gorgeous views over the valley. We also visited the trails for Edwards swamp and the Junction Pools area. The Junction Pools is also a great location for camping as there is an abundant source of fresh water and offers opportunities for fishing.
Street address: 59 Church Street, Gloucester NSW Postal address: PO Box 236, Gloucester NSW 2422 Opening hours: 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday
If you're not into hiking and camping, there are other things you can do at Barrington Tops depending on the season. You can just kick back and relax or take your pick from mountain biking, fishing, horseriding, swimming, canoeing, horse-riding. The area is easily accessible by motor vehicles and accommodation is available if you want to stay the night but not camp, ranging from eco resorts to B&Bs. If you have the time, pay a visit to the Hunter Valley region attractions as well.