Tenterfield Shire in the north of New England High Country is surrounded by an elevated, rugged and scenic landscape of well-watered forests and woodlands.
The region has two World Heritage National Parks, Tooloom National Park and Koreelah National Park, both of which boast some of the oldest vegetation types in Australia. The World Heritage listing bestowed on these parks is testimony to their significance as places of great natural and cultural value.
Below are six of the best national parks in the Tenterfield region, all offering their own unique experiences.
Bald Rock National Park – The largest exposed granite monolith in the southern hemisphere!
Located 30km from Tenterfield on the New South Wales and Queensland border, Bald Rock National Park is home to an abundance of wildlife (including the rare spotted tailed quoll), native plants and wildflowers. Its most famous resident, however, is the mighty Bald Rock, which rises above the horizon at almost 1300 metres above sea level.
Rising 260m above the surrounding bushland, Bald Rock is a massive granite dome 750m long and 500m wide, making it the largest exposed granite rock in the southern hemisphere.
Enjoy one of the scenic walks to the top of the rock and bask in the breathtaking views across a boulder-studded landscape.
For many thousands of years, Bald Rock served as neutral ground for the three Aboriginal nations of the region: the Jukembal, Bundjalung and Kamilaroi. Bald Rock was considered a boundary by the nations, so meetings and trade could occur on the site without each nation having to journey through the other territories.
Boonoo Boonoo National Park
Pronounced ‘bunna boo-noo’ the Boonoo Boonoo National Park is a woodland park with spectacular river and gorge scenery and plenty of historic interest.
The park is perhaps most famous for the spectacular Boonoo Boonoo Falls that cascade over the eastern escarpment of the New England Tableland, crashing 210m into the rainforest and gorges below.
Story has it that the Boonoo Boonoo Falls lookout is the very spot where poet Banjo Patterson proposed to his wife Alice, and it’s not hard to see why when you take in the awe-inspiring view.
Visitors can also stop at Morgan’s Gully, an old goldfield from the 1890s, or relax and enjoy a swim in the refreshing river.
Basket Swamp National Park
Basket Swamp National Park is a waterlogged 200ha of heath and sedges located south of Boonoo Boonoo. The park cleans, stores and slowly releases water throughout the year into local creeks, and eventually to the coastal Clarence River system.
Visitors to the park are provided with access to Timbarra Lookout, Basket Swamp Falls and Woollool Woolloolni Aboriginal Place.
Bald Rock, Boonoo Boonoo, and Basket Swamp National Parks are all located within close proximity of each other via Mount Lindesay Rd to the north of the Shire.
Torrington State Conservation Area
Situated on the Mole Tableland and covering nearly 30,000ha, Torrington State Conservation area sits on granite terrain and provides outstanding examples of New England granite flora, with more than 400 different plants, 37 of which are considered rare or threatened.
No visit is complete without a trip to both Thunderbolt’s Lookout and Mystery Face, the latter a human face-like weatherworn rock that is truly a must-see.
Camping, bushwalking, 4WDing and picnicking are popular in the area, owing no doubt to the incredible landscape of scenic rock outcrops, gorges, swamps and creeks.
Tooloom National Park
Extensive subtropical and forest red gum stands protected within Tooloom National Park and provides habitat for the most diverse kangaroo and wallaby population found in Australia.
A picnic area and two short walking tracks are located on the southern edge of the park, each of which provides superb views of this rich area.
The park is located 10km south west of Urbenville, via the Urbenville-Tooloom Rd.
Koreelah National Park
Pockets of World Heritage listed rainforest hug the steep slopes below Acacia Plateau and Mt Wilson in Koreelah National Park, while a small grassy area beside Koreelah Creek provides a pleasant camping spot.
You might even be lucky enough to see an endangered double-eyed fig parrot, eastern bristle bird or black-striped wallaby, who all call the park home.
The park is located 30km west of Woodenbong, on White Swamp Rd, off the Summerland Way at Old Koreelah.
For more information on Tenterfield’s national parks and other things to see and do, go to www.visittenterfield.com.au.