Cathedral Rock Hiking and Camping

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Posted 2023-05-03 by Cris follow
Walk amongst ancient rock formations and beautiful banksia trees and enjoy scrambling the big boulders to reach the summits with awe-inspiring views. Light a fire in the camping site and brew a hot drink on the cold nights. Then snuggle in your sleeping bag for a great night's sleep to be ready for your next adventure

Cathedral Rock National Park offers the opportunity for many great activities including camping, hiking and wildlife spotting. It is located between the town of Armidale and Dorrigo, two hours away west of the coastal town of Coffs Harbour.

Cathedral Rock National Park is dominated by huge granite boulders, often on top of each other to form large and tall rock monuments. The granites formed underneath the earth's surface 270 million years ago and then they got exposed over time.

Cathedral National Park is 1385 metres above sea level. Barokee means place of stone in the Aboriginal language.

I explored Cathedral Rock National Park when camping in Thungutti campground in New England National Park with a few friends from the group Hiking South East Qld and More. It
is about half an hour's drive from Thungutti to Barokee.
It was very late April and it was cold with a temperature of around 6 degrees in the morning.

We drove from Thungutti campground to Barokee campground to start hiking the Cathedral Rock loop and to reach the summit.

Hiking in Cathedral Rock National Park.

There are amazing trails that allow you to explore and learn about Cathedral Rock National Park:

Cathedral Rock Track and Lookout
Barokee to Native Dog Creek Walk
Woolpack Rocks and Woolpack Rocks Lookout
Warrigal Walking Track

I have been hiking only Cathedral Rock Track and climbed to the summit. I will hike the other trails soon in my next expedition.

Cathedral Rock Track and Lookout hike.

Cathedral Rock Track is a great walk with a challenging scramble to the summit. There are 360 degrees views from the top across all the bouldery park and New England Tablelands.

The trail is a 6 km loop plus a 1 km return to the summit. Allow about 3 hours. The trail is classified as Grade 5 due to the scramble over the boulders when hiking to the summit. The track to the summit is well-marked, but you need to be able to walk and move on rocks. When wet the rocks may be very slippery, so it is very important to be cautious. The loop is relatively easy.

The hike starts at Barokee campground, at the end of Barokee Road. There are information signs about the national park and the walks.

The trail is well-kept, there are boulders scattered everywhere. Follow the trail in a clockwise direction. At about 2.2 km from the start there is a junction with the trail to the summit.

The trail to the summit is well-marked and it meanders on thin ledges, on big boulders and under rocks. This is a fun hike, scrambling over rocks, admiring the huge boulders and the amazing views.

Just before reaching the top, there is a heavy chain very useful to walk on very steep and smooth rocks especially when they are wet.

We spent some time on the top to take in all the amazing views. It was just a little cold and breezy, the sky was overcast but it did not rain. Then we started to descend.

When we returned from the summit to the junction, we continued hiking in the bushland which had different trees and many banksia. The trail was very easy to follow all along.

It took the group 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the walk. then we returned to the Thungutti camping ground.

**Barokee to Native Dog Creek walk.
The trail connects the two camping grounds of the park, Barokee to Native Dog Creek and includes Woolpack Rocks and Cathedral Rock. The walk is relatively moderate, apart from Cathedral Rock Lookout, it is classified Grade 4, meaning some bushwalking experience is important and you have to cope with a length of 10.4km one way. Allow between 4 and 6 hours.

The trail passes between different environments, from subalpine woodland, open forest, heath and boulder fields. Tread softly and you may be able to spot many of the wildlife protected in the park.
Woolpack Rocks and Woolpack Lookout.

The trail is 8km return, allow 2hrs 30min - 3hrs 30min. The trail is classified 4, some hiking experience is recommended.

Woolpack Rocks Trail starts from Native Dog campground and it is a great hike featuring a geological wonder, Woolpack Rocks. They are prehistoric, around 270 million years old. The boulders are 1400m above sea level, but reaching the summit is easier than at Cathedral Rock.
**Warrigal Walking Track.

This short trail is 1km loop, allow15 - 45min; it is classified Grade 3, meaning the trail is easy. You can take your time and admire the heath plants, the little creek and the granite rocks.

It starts at Native Dog campground, an ideal trail for families and for people who wants to enjoy a short walk.
What to bring when hiking.

Wear long trousers and shirt with long sleeves, very recommended hiking ankle supportive boots.

For a day hike a backpack should be a 20-25 litres capacity. Only carry with you essential gear, your backpack should be as light as possible.

Water is paramount to stay hydrated. Take with you plenty of water, depending on your personal need. Pack also electrolyte to make sure to replenish the loss of minerals.

Snacks are important to make sure to sustain your level of energy: sandwiches rich in protein and energy, fresh fruits, dry fruits; you can pack boiled eggs, rice in a good container can be eaten with all type of your favourite foods. Energy bars, chocolate, piece of cake.

First Aid Kit must be packed: you can buy one or make one yourself with all the essential items. Pack specific bandages for snakebites elasticised roller bandages that are 10-15cm wide, painkillers, band aids, disinfectants, tweezers, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, Bushman Cream insects repellent, scissors; dressing and blister pack; hydrolytes; tissues; chapstick.

Smart phone and power bank can be a great help when hiking. Phone can be used to dial emergency numbers, download apps useful for hiking. The power bank is useful when your phone runs out of energy.

Raincoat is good just in case of a shower, can be worn as a windbreaker or for extra warm.

Hat and sunglasses especially if you hike in sunny trails.

Gloves are good when scrambling and for extra protection.

Insect repellent, give preference to cream or roll on that are more environmentally friendly than the spray.
Camping in Cathedral Rock National Park.

There are two camping grounds in the park, Barokee and Native Dog.

Barokee Campground.

Barokee campground is a secluded area with eights marked sites, picnic tables, barbecue facilities and toilets.

You have to book the site online or calling the National Park Centre on 1300 072 757.

You have to be self sufficient, bring your own food and water for drinking, cooking and for washing the dishes.
Bring all the necessary provisions, you can stop for grocery at South Grafton and Armidale is a big town with a couple of supermarkets. You can find petrol at Ebor town.

Fee is about $12 per night per two people.

Barokee campground is practically in the middle of Cathedral Rock National Park. It is the starting point of Cathedral Rock Trail and Barokee to Native Dog Campground trail.

**Native Dog Campground.

There are six marked camping sites for tents and camper trailers, with picnic tables, barbecue facilities and toilets.

Bring with you all the water for drinking, cooking and for washing the dishes.

Book online or call 1300 072 757:

The camping site is just off Guyra Road, not far from Ebor town.

Native Dog Campground is the starting point for Woolpack Rocks trail and for the short Warrigal Track.

Practice minimal impact bushwalking taking great care to avoid leaving any rubbish. Remember—pack it in, pack it out. This includes all food scraps, scraps of foil and sweet's wrappers.

Take all your rubbish with you, including used tissues, apple cores, egg shells, orange and banana peels. If you see rubbish on the trail please collect it and dispose of it responsibly.
Do not disturb or interfere with wildlife. Do not disturb rocks. Do not remove plants or anything from National Parks or Natural Reserves. Stay on tracks all the time. Do not use shortcuts that could create erosion.

Please follow directions on all safety and legislative signs, this protects you and the numerous threatened and endangered species in the park.

Use toilets when available. Away from toilets, take care with sanitation and hygiene and don't pollute natural water supplies. Ensure all faecal matter and toilet paper is properly buried 15cm deep well away from tracks, camp sites and 100m from all watercourses and drainage channels. Carry with you a small trowel for this purpose. Bag and carry out disposable nappies and sanitary products.

Make sure your boots are always clean, avoid the spread of pathogens, disease producing organisms.

For more information read the website

Walk with family, friends or in a group. Never alone!

The days prior to the hike make sure to check the weather and the national park websites for warnings.
Directions from Brisbane.

There are two main ways to travel from Brisbane to Barokee campground which is in the heart of Cathedral Rock National Park: one along the coast via Pacific Mwy (M1) and on way more inland via New England Hwy.

From Brisbane take the Pacific Mwy to Tyndale where you exit the M1 and drive on Big River Way. When you reach South Grafton, take Armidale Road, passing the towns of Coutta Crossing and Nymboida.
At the intersection with Waterfall Way (B78) continue on Waterfall Way. You will pass the town of Ebor. Then turn right onto Round Mountain Road and turn right onto Barokee Road. It takes about five and half hours covering a distance of about 443km.
Travelling inland via New England Hwy can take more than six hours covering a distance of about 511km.

94440 - 2023-06-12 01:20:42


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