Border Ranges National Park
World Heritage–listed rainforest clinging to the edges of an ancient volcano, waterfalls spilling into crystal-clear waterways, and seemingly limitless views are the highlights of the lush wilderness country that makes up Border Ranges National Park.
Sprawling across the very northern perimeter of New South Wales, and extending for 85 kilometres along the Queensland state border, this national park embraces three wilderness areas and has World Heritage status. It is an area of great biodiversity, an important haven for native fauna, with the border region said to have the highest concentration of marsupial, bird, snake and frog species in Australia.
From Kyogle via Summerland Way, Lions Rd, Simes Rd then Tweed Range Scenic Dr (latter winds 64 km through park); from Murwillumbah via Murwillumbah–Kyogle Rd then Creegan Rd to Tweed Range Scenic Dr (unsealed roads)
All year; waterfalls at their best December to May, but weather can be very wet; crowded in summer holidays
880 km north of Sydney; 27 km north of Kyogle; 40 km west of Murwillumbah
- NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
- NPWS Kyogle (02) 6632 0000
31 729 ha
Kyogle (02) 6632 2700
Murwillumbah (02) 6672 1340, 1800 674 414
Featured Activities in the National Park
Watch a breathtaking sunrise over Mount Warning
Marvel at 2000-year-old Antarctic beech trees
Listen to the throaty croaking of innumerable frogs
Take a dip in a crystal-clear mountain stream
A look at the past
Cedar-getters arrived in the 1840s to plunder the ‘red gold’, as the precious cedar timber was known. Farmers then graziers soon followed. Relics of settlement include the Long Creek Tramway, built to haul logs to the mill. Etched into the soft sandstone wall on the Palm Forest Walk are engravings by the cedar-getters dating back to the late 1800s. Extensive tracts of land were cleared in the name of progress, but the value of the rainforest remnants was ﬁnally recognised and protected when the park was declared in 1982.
The Galibal language group of the Bundjalung are the traditional custodians of this region but they were driven off their tribal lands at an early stage in European settlement.
The park contains part of the eroded remnants of the Mount Warning shield volcano, waterfalls and gorges, steep escarpments and rugged ridges. The declared wilderness areas are Warrazambil Wilderness Area in the south-east, Lost World Wilderness Area across the north-eastern section and Lever’s Wilderness Area in the western section of the park.
A colourful tapestry of vegetation species cloaks the terrain, including subtropical and other types of rainforest, wet and dry sclerophyll forests and mallee. Giant hoop pines, booyong trees with massive splayed buttresses, ancient Antarctic beech mottled with lichen, and bangalow palms are among the various rainforest trees.
The park’s wildlife is as diverse as its vegetation. Myriad frog species thrive in the moist environment, including the vulnerable (in New South Wales) pouched or hip-pocket frog. This unusual species raises its tadpoles in the skin pouches or ‘hips’ of the male. The 170-plus bird species include a large number of the rare and endangered eastern bristlebird, sometimes glimpsed scampering across an open space, and the ground-dwelling rufous scrub-bird. At night, brushtail and ringtail possums and around a dozen species of ﬂying-foxes and bats emerge to scavenge for food. Long-nosed bandicoots, antechinuses and red-necked wallabies are other mammals to watch for. You will often see and hear skinks scurrying through the leaf litter.
A network of excellent tracks crisscrosses the park. The Pinnacle Walk (200 metres, 20 minutes, easy) leads through rainforest to the edge of the escarpment and a lookout platform where you can gaze at Mount Warning, the Tweed Valley spread 1000 metres below and – on a clear day – as far as the coast. Sunrises here are renowned. On Red Cedar Loop (750 metres, 30 minutes, easy) you will see giant rainforest trees encrusted with orchids and staghorns, but the walk’s highlight is a grand old red cedar towering 48 metres high and said to be 1000 years old. For the more energetic, Booyong Walk (10.5 km one way, 5 hours, medium difficulty) is more demanding, linking Forest Tops and Sheepstation Creek camping areas (start from Forest Tops to avoid a steep climb). You will pass tumbling waterfalls and can even stop for a swim en route.
The park provides many opportunities for photography, with majestic waterfalls, craggy ridges wreathed in mist and magnificent old-growth rainforest trees. There are some excellent lookouts. Cycling is permitted on trails and roads and some cyclists ride the Tweed Scenic Drive. There are seven dedicated picnic areas; all except Brindle Creek have barbecues and most have shelters.
Tweed Scenic Drive (gravel road, suitable for 2WD except in the wet, may be slippery November to May) loops from Murwillumbah to Kyogle and Lismore and offers stunning views.
If you choose to cool off in the rocky streams or water pools, do not wear sunscreen or insect-repellent: these can contaminate the water for wildlife, including endangered frogs.
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