Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coolah Tops National Park

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...

Setting up!

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...

The falls.

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.


  1. I have to admit it was VERY cold!

  2. I love the stink swamp wallaby! Will be in tuch soon mate.

  3. great mate! how was the alps??

  4. RockShox 'Judy' is what John has just upgraded from with his new 'REBA'. Which, by the way, he has just provided a review of in the comments section of our post where you originally made your enquiries...

    I had Judy's too once upon a time but found the springs were shot to pieces after about 1 year's riding. Air-sprung forks are the way forward. The Iguanna looks very similar to my rigid Giant Cold Rock, which is still going strong!


  5. Yeah... I know about cold now too. And another storm is coming over from Tasmania. To think that I could be still lounging on a (busy) beach in Europe!

  6. W- The Giant is a beaut bike for David- and we can upgrade it as we go. Solid and reliable! Will get over and have a look at TCA

    Kiwi- I bet you are still there!

  7. I would have liked to see the Turquoise Parrot! Those are ancient looking grasstrees in your photograph! With the falls close by, it appears this park would be a good one to visit in all seasons? You had a REAL campfire!!!

  8. I love those grass trees. Are they native to Oz?

    Do you feel the same way about feral goats as you do feral cats?

  9. Anon:- the park is good all year. Very Alpine like Barrington tops IMO. YES! A real fire which is SO rare now. :o)

    Lorenzo:- yes they are native and they used tobe called Black boys because the seed pod is like a tall spear. The first settlers mistook the trees for aboriginals ( from a distance). To see them this big is rare.

    feral goats? yes the same as feral cat- BANG!

  10. Can I please add 'pet' (as opposed to 'working') dogs to your BANG LIST?


  11. Thanks for sharing your trip!
    I enjoyed the "Best Ever" view to the north very much and I've never seen these grass trees before!

  12. MAria- thanks! yes the grass trees are amazing!

  13. w. How dare you shoot pet dogs!! I thought you liked Badger?

  14. Mate, your birds lists are getting to be amazing! Can you imagine that a couple of years ago?

    I think you should write something for my CBC Magazine!

  15. thanks mate! yes I am learning and enjoying and YES i could write something!

  16. Just wondering where you have been wandering this past weekend! :-)

  17. um- really boring... worked saturday, sunday- cleaned the gutters, trimmed the garden and went to the tip....

  18. I'm sure you could spin an interesting story out of it!
    Wondering about Australian tips ....


  19. It sounds wonderful, and great pics, but my husband would never find a 3 or 4 hour drive a pleasurable experience.

  20. Elle- I used too.In fact next week I will drive 9 hours to melbourne... But alas I am getting old and worn out!

    Merisi- I will blog about AUSTRALIAN TIPS FOR YOU!