National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will temporarily close Bandahngan Aboriginal Area at Urbenville while essential rehabilitation and improvement work takes place.
The popular site includes unregulated camping areas at Tooloom Falls and Bandahngan Loop Road and is expected to reopen in June 2021.
More details here: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/news/bandahngan-aboriginal-area-closed-for-rehabilitation-work
Free Campgrounds in Northern NSW
Tooloom Falls Camp Grounds are a set of 2 campsites on Tooloom Creek, just over the border in Northern New South Wales. These great campgrounds are free, yet are large, shaded and have facilities such as fire pits, picnic tables, toilets and great swimming holes.
These campgrounds are located 2 hours and 20 minutes drive from the centre of Brisbane, but of course, it is much closer for people who live in Brisbane's southern suburbs or the Gold Coast. Tooloom Falls is on Tooloom Creek and is separated from Tooloom National Park.
Camping is free, so you don't need to book a site before you go and naturally there is no designated time that you have to pack up. However, it does mean that during school holidays the area might be packed. In the campgrounds above the falls, there are several spots that are well defined as campsites and a number of less defined areas. In the second camping area, it is all open.
If you look on Google Maps, you might get the impression that you can drive across the creek above the falls and while there is a causeway there, it is not designed for vehicles. You can use it to walk across the top of the falls though.
Crossing Tooloom Creek over the top of Tooloom Falls
To get to the campgrounds above the falls, you come via Tooloom Road and then Tooloom Falls Road. To access the campgrounds further down the creek, you need to take a side road off Beehive Road. I am sorry that I didn't take a note of the road name, but it is unnamed on both Google Maps and the topographical maps that I have access to. There are a number of street signs in the area, but the maps don't record these names. Basically, it is the short road off Beehive Road that heads towards Tooloom Creek before coming to a dead end.
The campsite above the falls is pretty popular. Even when the water is low, you can still swim both above and below the falls. To the get the base of the falls, you need to find a little unmarked path that leads down the cliff. It is located in the back a little away from the exposed cliff edge among the bushes, so it is not always easy to find.
The are also a couple of picnic tables at the camp site
This campsite is a little dusty as it is mostly dirt, but has great fire pits with plates, grills and a hook you can use for cooking or hanging a pot or kettle. It is also fairly easy to find a shady spot that is set aside from the main area so you have some feeling of privacy.
There are several fire pits and fire rings at the site
It is also a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing with the creek running from up above the falls nearly all the way into the local town. If you have a kayak, you definitely want to bring it along to this campground.
Tooloom Creek is a great place for kayaking or canoeing
The main advantage of the second campground is that it has a better swimming hole. While we camped above the falls when I went there, if I went back I think I would prefer this spot for swimming, especially in summer.
The swimming hole at the second campsite on Tooloom Creek
The distance between the two campgrounds is less than 1 km and you can easily walk between them. You can walk or drive down beehive road, but remember if you are camping at the falls, you can't drive across the creek. There is also a path that runs along the top of the south side of the creek. Alternatively, you can walk lower down by the creek on a path that runs along the north side of the creek.
There is a nice walking path along Tooloom Creek between the 2 camp grounds
If you do want to do some hiking in the area, there are a number of hills around that you can bush bash your way up. One example is Mt Callawajune, otherwise known as South Obelisk. Even when there are tracks, they are hard to follow and these are really for the experienced adventurous only.
The are a few bush bashing walks in the area such as Mt Callawajune
Overall, this is a lovely camping area just over the border in Northern New South Wales. It is great in winter with campfires and perfect in summer with swimming holes. However, the lack of activities at the campsite means it is a good place or 1 or 2 days at the most or used as a base to drive to some nearby places.
Love your work Roy. The insights you provide on the places you visit, are greatly valued by readers like me. You are the best friend, a lover of nature could have. Looking forward to visiting Tooloom Falls.