WHAT'S ON THIS PAGE:
Mt Kaputar National Park is located in northern New South Wales (location and regional map), some 50km east of the town of Narrabri along the Nandewar Range. The park ranges in altitude from 400 to 1510m above sea level.
The park area was once home to the Kamilaroi Aboriginal people. The name given to the mountain range of which Mt Kaputar is part is the Aboriginal name for it, the Nandewar Range. It was also home for various bushrangers (outlaws) over a century ago. The area around Mt Kaputar (approx. 800 hectares) was first set aside for preservation in 1925. There are now some 38 million hectares preserved in the park.
A large percentage of the Mt Kaputar National Park is now a declared wilderness area. It is a park of contrasts, with winter bringing frost and snow to the peaks (where there are snow gums and other Australian alpine plants), while rainforests adorn many of the gullies. The mountain peaks receive double the rain of the lower regions of the park, receiving most of its precipitation in summer. The highest peak is Mt Kaputar itself at 1510m.
The park is home to a great variety of birds and animals. The birdlife includes Rosellas, Galahs, Parrots, Cockatoos, Kookaburras, Brush Turkeys and even the Wedge-tailed Eagle. You will see a number of kangaroos and wallabies in the park, including the Eastern Grey Kangaroo and the Walleroo, the Swamp Wallaby and the Red-necked Wallaby. There are Possums, Gliders, Koalas, Goannas, Echidnas and even Quolls to be found here.
If you are travelling from Sydney, the park is about 570km north-west from it. All cars are able to be driven to Dawsons Spring from Narrabri (mostly gravel), however caravans are not allowed due to the gradient and narrowness of the road. Caravans can be taken to Sawn Rocks from Narrabri.
Camping areas are found at Bark Hut and Dawsons Spring. There are no powered sites. Fees are applicable via an 'honesty box' system. There are also two self-contained cabins (own linen required for bedding - 1 double and 2 singles) located at the Dawsons Spring camping area (bookings up to six months in advance).
Campers should bring their own firewood or use an appropriate fuel stove.
The following topographic maps should be consulted for serious bush walking throughout the park:
- Kaputar 8937 - III - N (1:25 000)
- Coryah 8937 - IV - S (1:25 000)
- Grattai 8937 - IV - N (1:25 000)
Dawsons Springs Nature Trail:
This track provides something of an introduction to the park's landscape. It begins from the camping ground as a 1.5km circuit.
A number of trails can be joined to the trail to create a much larger walk. These trails include the Mt Kaputar Summit Walk, Lindsay Rock Tops and Bundabulla Circuit. It is best to tackle them in this order.
Mount Kaputar Summit Walk:
This is a 2km return walk beginning from the Dawsons Spring campsite. Good views are seen from the summit. The walk is reasonably easy.
Lindsay Rock Tops:
You start this walk from near the Bundabulla Circuit and is an easy 2km return walk. There are great views to be had from this walk also.
Bundabulla Circuit is regarded as a medium grade walk, but I found it to be fairly easy. It is a 3km return walk. Great views are to be had from a number of lookouts, including Eckfords Lookout above the Scutt's Hut and Horsearm Creek area.
The Governor is a medium grade track (including stairs and ladders) which is best taken at sunrise for wonderful views over the mountains. It is a 2km return walk to the top of Corrunbral Borawah.
Kaputar Plateau Walk:
This is a 6km hard walk and can be joined up with the Scutt's Hut fire trail for a longer walk into the wilderness. Good views are to be had from Ranger's Lookout and Laird's Lookout.
Scutt's Hut Fire Trail (Joker's Spring Fire Trail):
The trail begins at the locked gate near the Bark Hut turnoff. The trail leads to Scutt's Hut and Karrawonga Falls. It is a hard 19km walk, especially the return.
Euglah Rock Track:
The walk begins at the southern end of the Bark Hut camping area. It is a 1km return walk.
This is a medium grade 4km return walk. The walk was closed for maintenance during my visit in April 2002.
Yulludunida Crater Walk:
This is a hard 4km return walk from Green Camp Picnic Area. This is quite a challenging walk, but can be completed by a relatively fit person in a couple of hours. Fantastic views are to be had for the effort.
Sawn Rocks is located just off the Bingara Road (37km north of Narrabri) in the northern section of the park. There is an easy 1.5km walk to the base of the rock formation.
There is a picnic area with toilets here.
Access to Waa Gorge is off the Terry Hie Hie Road, one and a half hours drive north of Narrabri. It seems as though you will never get there at times as you drive along the road (I turned around at least once, thinking I must have missed the turnoff).
This is a fairly easy walk to the Mill-Bullah Waterholes at the beginning of Waa Gorge. After this there is no track, with the walk becoming far more difficult (you follow the creek).
There is a picnic area with toilets here.
APRIL 2002 JOURNEY
This holiday was planned only the week before the holiday was actually taken. The reason for this was that I had a back injury as a result of an accident at work. With the OK having been given for the trip, I began to plan it in earnest.
The following account gives not only my journal of the trip. You will also find important pieces of information regarding the park as at the time of the visit and photos that I took on the holiday. Please feel free to use any of the photos that I post in my albums (but please let me know how you have used them). Hope you enjoy the account.
DAY ONE: MONDAY APRIL 8, 2002 - Newcastle to Mount Kaputar National Park (391km)
I will be travelling to Narrabri via The New England Highway from Newcastle, and then the Mt Kaputar road from Narrabri. Apparently you leave Narrabri from near the Post Office along Maitland Street. The turn off is 3.7km out of Narrabri, left past the airport.
My journey to Kaputar will take me past Mount Yulludunida, Green Camp, Coryah Gap, Bark Hut Camping Area and the Doug Sky Lookout (where I will stop for a look). Soon after this a T in the road is met, with Dawsons to the right (Kaputar is to the left).
On arrival at Dawson Spring I will seek to do the Dawson Spring Nature Trail (1.5km return). This is an introductory walk to the park, providing something of an overview of what can be experienced at Mt Kaputar National Park. The walk begins at the bottom of the campsite. There are views of Mt Kaputar and Dawsons Spring Waterfall.
My journey actually began early (1.00am), travelling via the New England Highway. When I reached Muswellbrook I decided to have a couple of hours sleep - so I pulled into a rest area. I got another hour's sleep 50km before Gunnedah.
Eventually I reached Mt Kaputar N.P. To my surprise camp fees were only $3.00 a night, including full use of electric BBQ's, hot showers, etc. This was at the Dawson Springs Camp Area.
Having set up camp by 12pm, I decided to do a few walks. I combined the Dawson Springs Nature Trail (1.4km return), Mt Kaputar Summit Walk (2km return), the Bundabulla Circuit (3km return) and the Lindsay Rock Tops Walk (2 km return) into a 9km circuit walk which took 2.66 hours to complete. The walk also took in Eckford's Lookout, Bundabulla Lookout, Horsearm Creek Lookout and Mt Dove.
I was impressed by the many boardwalk and bridge sections on these walks. The section from Eckford's Lookout to Mt Dove included a large number of steps. To do the walk in the sequence mentioned above is probably best, as there are less mountain climbs than there would be the other way round.
DAY TWO: TUESDAY APRIL 9, 2002 - Mount Kaputar National Park (58km)
I got up fairly early and when the car eventually started I headed down the mountain a little to reach a few of the walks further down. On the way down I stopped at a number of the lookouts, including West Kaputar and Rock Lookouts.
The Governor Walk (2 km return) was my first walk today. This walk begins some 3.8km from Dawson Springs. The walk includes some great views, but many steps. The walk was well worth the effort, especially during sunrise - probably the best time to do the walk.
Following the Governor Walk I did the Kaputar Plateau Walk. At Rangers Lookout there were great views and would also make a good little bush camp site. A camp site is probably also possible at Laird's Lookout, a little past Rangers. At Laird's I came across a Brown Snake, just managing to avoid walking on it. The walk took 2.5 hours to complete.
DAY THREE: WEDNESDAY APRIL 10,2002 - Mount Kaputar National Park (344km)
Today I travelled to Sawn Rock and Waa Gorge. The road to Waa Gorge was terrible, passing through four gates. The trip to both these places and back to camp was some 344 km.
DAY FOUR: THURSDAY APRIL 11, 2002 - Mount Kaputar National Park to Newcastle (378km).
My plan for today is to leave early and complete the Crater Walk toward the entrance of the park. The walk gave some fantastic views of the Crater area and the surrounding national park. At the end of the walk I stood and watched a marsupial mouse getting about some fallen trees. The walk was 1.5 hours return.
I then travelled home.
Gallery 1: Mount Kaputar National Park
LINKS TO USEFUL INFORMATION
Cabins at Dawsons Spring:
Two huts are available (bookings required) at Dawsons Spring. A second camping area (away from cars) is located at Bark Hut (camping fees apply). Here there are amenities provided also, including hot showers.
More information can be gathered at:
NPWS Narrabri Area
PO Box 72 (1/100 Maitland Street - open 8.30 - 4.30pm Monday to Friday)
Narrabri NSW 2390
(02) 6799 1740
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