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INTRODUCTION:

The Coorabakh National Park protects an area of about 1 830 hectares of rugged wilderness to the north of Taree. Protected within it's boundaries are the landforms known as Big Nellie, Little Nellie and Flat Nellie, which dominate the surrounding wilderness.

Found within the park are the Spotted-tailed Quoll, Paradise Riflebird and the Rufous Scrub Bird, among many other animal and bird species.

The national park is accessed via the Pacific Highway and Moorland (as well as Coopernook and Johns River). The road (known as Forest Drive) is generally useable for 2WD vehicles, but 4WD only in the wet. National Parks advise that the route through the park is best travelled from south to north (returning to the Pacific Highway via Hannam Vale and the Hannam Vale Road), though I can see little reason why the route cannot be travlled from north to south.

As you travel along Forest Drive toward Coorabakh National Park from Coopernook or Moorland, there is a turn off on the left just after the Pipeclay Creek Road turn off. This road is signposted and leads to Vincent's Lookout - which is well worth a look. The lookout is a  very short drive up the mountain which is within the boundary of Coopernook State Forest.

 

ABOVE: View from Vincent's
Lookout

ABOVE: Wildflowers at Vincent's
Lookout

ABOVE: Wildflowers at Vincent's
Lookout

 

CAMPING:

There are no camping facilities within Coorabakh National Park, but there are in the nearby Coopernook State Forest at the Coopernook Forest Park. From here the national park's features are easily visited with a day trip. The Coopernook Forest Park is located a short drive from the Pacific Highway and Moorland (about 5 minutes) on the Forest Drive.

 

WALKING:

Newby's Creek Walk and Caves:

By following Newby Creek from Newby's Creek Road (part of the Forest Drive) you can reach Newby's Cave. There is a small amount of room to park before the bridge that crosses Newby's Creek, with the walk itself beginning on the other side of the bridge.

Newby's Cave is actually a number of caves or rock overhangs that have been formed by the erosive action of Newby's Creek. The first cave is reached with a minute or two of very easy walking. The walk then continues past the cave and through the rainforest along Newby's Creek, reaching further caves along the way.

 

ABOVE: Beginning of Walk

 

ABOVE: Newby's Creek

 

ABOVE: Newby's Cave

 

ABOVE: Newby's Creek

 

ABOVE: Native Fern

 

ABOVE: Newby's Cave

 

ABOVE: Newby's Creek

 

ABOVE: Newby's Cave

 

ABOVE: Newby's Cave

 

ABOVE: Newby's Cave

 

ABOVE: Newby's Cave

 

ABOVE: Newby's Creek

 

ABOVE: Hibbertia

 

ABOVE: Wildflower

 

ABOVE: Newby's Cave

 

ABOVE: Native Orchid

 

 

 

Newby's Lookout:

Newby's Lookout is a very short distance further along Forest Drive and provides a picnic area that is wheelchair accessible, with great views over the Manning Valley. The lookout is a very short stroll from the car park.

 

ABOVE: Newby's Lookout

 

ABOVE: Newby's Lookout

 

ABOVE: Newby's Lookout

 

ABOVE: Newby's Lookout

ABOVE: On Forest Drive


 

ABOVE: Little Nellie


 

 

Starrs Creek Picnic Area:

As you travel further along Forest Drive toward Starrs Creek Picnic Area, keep a look out for the impressive landform on the right of the road known as 'Little Nellie.'

The Starrs Creek Picnic Area is situated right on the Forest Drive and provides a beautiful little shaded picnic area right in the rainforest. A walking track with boardwalk leads of right from the picnic area into the rainforest alongside Starrs Creek. This is a very short stroll through the rainforest and is wheelchair friendly. Toilets are also located at Starrs Creek Picnic Area.

 

ABOVE: Starrs Creek

ABOVE: Starrs Creek

ABOVE: Starrs Creek Picnic Area

 

Big Nellie:

The Big Nellie Picnic Area is accessed via a short drive off the Forest Drive. Here there is a viewing platform at the base of Big Nellie (542m), along with a small picnic area. Experienced and fit walkers will be able to make the difficult climb to the top of Big Nellie after following a track from the picnic area. The walk to Big Nellie itself is about 10 minutes, with the return walk to the summit and back (from the picnic area), being able to be completed in about 1 hour (fit and experienced walkers only). There is n o real track to the summit itself.

 

ABOVE: Big Nellie

 

ABOVE: The Climb up Big Nellie

 

ABOVE: The Climb up Big Nellie

 

ABOVE: View from Big Nellie

 

 

 

Flat Rock Lookout:

The spectacular Flat Rock Lookout is accessed by continuing to follow the Forest Drive toward the Comboyne State Forest. Again the lookout is easily accessed from the car park and is located close to the road. There is a 500m drop from the lookout to the valley floor.

 

ABOVE: Wildflowers

 

ABOVE: Wildflowers

 

ABOVE: Wildflowers

 

ABOVE: View from Flat Rock Lookout

ABOVE: View from Flat Rock Lookout


 

ABOVE: View from Flat Rock Lookout
 

 

ABOVE: Wildflowers

 

 

 

 

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20/11/2010