Barrington Tops loop walk
Danny Yee, Camilla Ip
(thumbnails link to larger images)
Heading north from Sydney, we took the slower back road through Kulnura.
We had a minor drama when my glass frames broke while I was driving,
but I managed to stop without hitting anything. We passed by the Bulgoa
mine and stopped in Singleton, where an optometrist put a new arm on
my glasses for $20 and we had lunch. A reject shop provided chocolate
peanuts, a spoon for Camilla, and the notebook I wrote this journal in.
Pol Blue loop track
In Muswellbrook we stopped for petrol and a visit to the information
centre. On the way into Barrington Tops we saw straw-necked ibis,
brown falcon, and wedge-tailed eagles. The drive up onto the
plateau was complicated by some eight or so "driver under instruction"
army trucks going the other way.
The Pol Blue campsite could fit several hundred people, but our only
company was one couple in a campervan and it was very peaceful. A group
of grey kangaroos bounded by soon after we arrived and we saw some swamp
wallabies when we did the short loop walk around the Pol Blue swamp.
A brief night wander didn't reveal anything too exciting: a fox,
There were wallabies wandering around a few metres from our tent when
we got up. We ate bacon and muesli, packed, then headed off to the
Barrington Tops trail.
We left the car where it said "only four wheel drives beyond this point",
though the weather being so good we could probably have got it a fair
bit further. We'd just done a last minute repack of Camilla's bag —
lost a kilogram! — when the couple from Pol Blue drove up in their 4WD,
so we scored a lift to Junction Hole. They'd spent 18 months driving
As we walked along the Edwards Creek trail there were brumbies in the
distance and lots of yellow-winged grasshoppers; it was hot but there was
some breeze. We had lunch near Saxby swamp, then went up to Carey's Peak.
A side-trip down to Wombat Creek was a disappointment, as the bulldozers
had been at work and it wasn't very attractive, but Camilla enjoyed the
spanking new toilet!
The mist came in for an hour or so, which was rather fun and pleasantly
cool, but cleared by the time we reached Black Swamp.
We found two leeches, which worried Camilla a bit as I'd convinced her we
only needed a fly! We were on unleechy grass, however, and I'd clearly
brought them back from the river on my shoes.
We went for a walk in the mist but didn't find any peripatus (or wombats),
but we were serenaded by black cockatoos and frogs.
We were up at 6.20 and had a leisurely breakfast but still got away
by 7.40. Going over Aeroplane Hill there were lots and lots of Crimson
Rosellas, feeding young, the usual whip bird calls, a rust-tailed fantail,
a pair of black cockatoos courting, and caterpillars, moths, butterflies,
skinks, and more.
bee going for a flower
We reached Junction Pools (close to where we'd started) around 9.40, had a
bit of a splash, and left at 11. There were lots of birds, lawyer vine,
and macropods, a brown falcon and two ducks, and a small brown snake.
I had a minor navigation confusion in the swamp and lost the track for
a while. At lunch, sitting on the road, there was a woodpecker right
in front of us.
We got water at Been Been creek, where there were
three horses (two adults and a foal).
We got to the Little Murray picnic area at around 4.45pm and decided to
stay there rather than walking out. There was a breeze but the evening
sun was hot, there were exploding seed capsules all around and black
cockatoos. Dinner was rice, and finally we got some shade.
On a short wander upstream we saw kangaroos on the other bank and bats.
I managed to convince Camilla to sleep out under the stars -- they were
the best I've ever seen, with a totally clear sky and a new moon -- and
we watched satellites and shooting stars. There were also microbats
flitting around just above our noses, and we woke in the night to the
sound of brumbies going up the road.
We walked upstream again after breakfast, with an assortment of kangaroos,
wattle birds, rosellas, currawongs, etc. Then it was an easy walk
along the road out; we passed four 4WDs coming in right near the end,
and there were some big tents back at the camping area.
We stopped at a picnic area in a pine plantation -- a scene of devastation
after logging, but there were still lyre birds in the wasteland.
Then we had a quick look at Pol Blue falls, where there's a
nice "swimming tub" and where we had hot soup.
Driving out, we saw a wedgetail eagle just 50m away. We stopped at
Moonan Flats for lunch
and got to Scone mid-afternoon.
In Scone we got ourselves a cabin in a caravan park and had a shower,
but the air conditioning wasn't coping -- it hit 43 degrees in Scone
that day -- and it was blistering hot. Nothing was open in town
except a supermarket, where we bought some provisions and enjoyed the
Once it started cooling down, we went out to Burning Mountain.
Nothing much was open in Muswellbrook at 8.30am, so we had breakfast
in Singleton. We stopped briefly at Wollombi, which was full of cars
and tour buses and very busy, bought some fruit near Kulnura on the way
into Sydney, and had lunch at Pie in the Sky.