One of the most pleasant parks in NSW is Coolah Tops. Gazetted as a park in 1996 it was once logged for its timbers. A pleasant 3-4 hour drive via Mudgee/Gulgong and the township of Coolah, it sits high in the ranges west of Barrington Tops. For others, a drive north to Singleton/Merriwa is ideal and again the country side is stunning. A rich sheep grazing region and either direction will take you through wonderful wine making regions of Mudgee or the Hunter.
The road in and feral goats!
The park itself is well sign posted, and the road is easy and pleasant. Dirt, and well maintained, a standard family sedan will do it easy in the dry.
The road climbs steadily through farmland. Here we were greeted by fox, rabbit, goats, (in fact they were huge!), sheep and a variety of Wallaby and Wallaroos. Wallaroos are not a Kangaroo nor a Wallaby. In fact they are black and very heavy set..More like a rugby hooker in dimensions!
A wedge tailed eagle was spotted swooping into the goat population. Clearly chasing a meal, and using the thermals to glide effortlessly above them.
Heavy timbered areas.
Bird life abounds- Turquoise parrot, Eastern Rosella, as well as Wood Ducks and the usual Australian Magpies were abundant.
After a few km you reach the top and enter the park itself. Heavily timbered, it is like an oasis in the middle of farmland. Sulphur Crested Cockatoos screeched overhead in response to Black Kites also rising on thermals.
The nice thing about this park is the camping areas. An abundance of fireplaces and fire wood PLUS the fact that you can park your vehicle right were you camp makes it fantastic. Most national parks have fencing, preventing the vehicles being parked in the camping areas...
We chose Coxes Creek campsite, and we had it all to ourselves. But there are plenty of other campsites to chose from.
We soon had a fire started and David and I cooked a meal of baked beans, frankfurters and grated cheese- camp food at its best! For desert, plum pudding with a cup of tea.
Plenty of fire wood and a warm fire!
As the sun set wallabies began to graze around us, and sugar gliders leaped from tree to tree. Frankly the bush was very noisy!
By 8.30 the temperature plummeted and even though the fire was roaring, its was not long before we got into our accommodation.
Wallabies abound! (get it?? a-bound)
At dawn and awakened by the parrots, we had breakfast and set out on the mountain bikes north to the lookout. A pleasant easy grade ride through tall timber, and tall grass tree forests.. These seemed a reminder of years gone by.
After a few km, we are greeted by one of the best views. David certainly said he added it to his list of "Best Ever." On returning we spotted White Browed Tree creeper, Eastern Yellow Robin and Yellow Thornbill.
David and the incredible views to the north!
On the other side of the park is a superb water fall, again an easy walk to the viewing platforms, we spotted White Throated Tree Creeper and Hooded Robin as well as hearing the sounds of tree frogs.
One of the other nice things about this park is that it is a clear example of just how well managed our State Forest regions are. A distinct lack of weeds and pests, well maintained roads plus all the wildlife is proof to me that they are in better shape than many of the parks under lock and key of NSW National Parks. However, Mudgee National Parks office continues to maintian the park to a high standard. My only concern was the feral goats right up against the parks fence line.. I phoned the office and they admitted that some of the local farmers were a bit of a problem.
Incredible Grass trees.
Later that day we returned to the troopie, packed and drove home, reflecting on a great weekend. I cannot stress too highly just how enjoyable this park really is, for walking, riding, birding and reflecting...
Both bikes performed really well. Davids Giant Iguanna equipped with Judy front forks and the Cannondale Prophet were both reliable, fast and fun!
Birds spotted :- Australian Magpie, Kookaburra, Pee Wee, Pied Butcher Bird, Wedge Tailed Eagle, Wood Duck, Nankeen Kestrel, Grey Butcher Bird, Galah, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, White Winged Chuffs, Eastern Rosella, Turquoise Parrot, King Parrot, Crested Pidgeon, Eastern Yellow Robin, Brown Tree Creeper (black backed form), Yellow Rumped Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, White Throated Tree Creeper, Hooded Robin (female), Welcome Swallow, Black Kite, Black Shouldered Kite, Straw Necked Ibis, Australian Pelican, Willy Wagtail, Noisey Miner, Bell Miner, Common Starling, Black Currawong, Australian Raven.
Wildlife spotted:- Sugar Gliders, Red-backed Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Wallaroos, Red fox, Rabbits, Feral Goats, Feral sheep.
Road kill spotted:- Wombat, Kangaroo, Australian Magpie, Kookaburra, Rabbit, Fox, Hare, Sheep.