Barrington Tops..wilderness adventures.. mountain biking.. white water kayaking.. canoeing.. Gloucester
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The Rivers

The Barrington and Manning Rivers are only two of the many wild and scenic rivers and tributaries which offer fabulous canoeing for beginners and experienced paddlers alike.

The Barrington River originates at Edward's Swamp - a sphagnum moss swamp - within the spectacular sub-alpine area known as the Barrington Tops. From there it flows through scenic gorges, forming white water rapids in its upper section, and calm, tranquil pools in its lower section.

A little more off the beaten track, The Barnard River is a great touring river, a quiet wilderness which can be explored at leisure and which joins the Manning River at Bretti Reserve and eventually flows on down to Taree.

Depending on the individual stretches we explore, these rivers offer wonderful adventures for everyone - from the experienced enthusiasts looking for the thrill of white water rapids to the family looking for the opportunity to commune with nature.

Take a trip down the scenic Barrington River... and tell stories of your adventures in 'The Washing Machine', 'The Shoot'...!

A trip down the river

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Scenery and Wildlife

Wedge Tailed Eagle This world heritage listed area boasts a diverse ecosystem including Antarctic beech tree forests (cool temperate rainforests), snow gums and subtropical rainforest. Half of all the plant species found in Australia, and over a third of all Australia's mammals and birds live here!

The Barringtons are home to some unique plants and animals - here's just a glimpse of what you will find up here in amidst scenery that ranges from Sub tropical rainforests to sub-alpine Swamps:

Sub-tropical Rainforests - diverse vegetation such as vines, palms and red cedar shelter pademelons, scrub turkeys, bower birds, lyrebirds and brushtail possums Giant casurina and stinging trees
Check out the grass trees! Foothill Forests- home to a wide range of animals, such as koalas, wallabies, cockatoos, yellow bellied gliders, who live in these extensive eucalyptus forests
Cool Temperate Rainforests - here you'll find the ancient antarctic beech trees, green mosses and ferns - the enchanted mysterious beauty of Gondwanaland Mysterious Beauty
Snowgum Forest Mountain Forests - frequent frosts and snowfalls in winter, home of snowgums, wombats and possums...

Sub-alpine Swamps - sphagnum bogs, covered in snow and ice in winter

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Recreational Areas

As well as offering fantastic canoeing, kayaking and mountain biking, the Barringtons have National Parks and State Forests that are a famous area for bushwalking and camping. These magnificent areas have waterfalls, walking tracks, picnic and camping areas for you to enjoy. You can:

  • Take short walks at Gloucester Tops Falls
  • Stroll along the Antarctic beech tree walks
  • Camp at State Forest camping areas

You can find the Barrington Tops National Park and State Forests 60 kilometres west of Gloucester. They are reached via the Barrington Tops Forest Road and the Gloucester Tops Road.

Woko National Park is 32 kilometres north-west of Gloucester, just off the Curricbark Road.

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History

The Barringtons have a rich and varied history...

The Barringtons have had many visitors over the years, and its forests are still a living link with the ancient supercontinent - Gondwanaland - that dominated the southern hemisphere over 120 million years ago.

Thunderbolt One of the most famous old visitors to the Barringtons was a chap called "Thunderbolt" (1836-1870). The "gentleman" bushranger Fred Ward, alias Captain Thunderbolt, used to own the highways of New South Wales from the top of the state at Tenterfield, right down to Newcastle. The most famous of all the bushrangers, he committed the most crimes by one person in Australia's first hundred years of European settlement, evading capture for six years and six months from 1864, despite being hunted high and low by mounted police, enlisted Aboriginal trackers and bounty hunters.

Called "Thunderbolt" possibly because of his "tinderbox temper", he is reported to have said "they know when thunderbolt strikes".

The area attracted even more visitors in 1872 - with the discovery of Gold! The Copeland Gold rush led to the founding of Gold town, with over 70 mines in the area. None survive today, except for the Mountain Maid Gold mine, a tourist attraction, though they say there is still gold to be found...

There has been a gradual change in the area. Not only are there no more bushrangers (except possibly Dick), but the area has developed from timber country to cattle country. The timber industry has now all but gone from the Barringtons, which are now a big dairy area and a growing tourist destination, particularly for "eco-tourism".

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Gloucester - basecamp to the Barringtons

Gloucester- "Basecamp to the Barrington Tops", is the best place to access the Barringtons. It is a beautiful country area with all the attractions, activities and accommodation for anyone wanting to see the Barringtons. Gloucester is an easy three-and-a-half hour drive north from Sydney, and there are also daily XPT rail services to Gloucester from Sydney and Brisbane, via Countrylink.

Whether you're after camping or pampered luxury, Gloucester offers a wide range of accommodation, with: caravan parks, motels, hotels, charming Bed & Breakfasts, farm stays, self-contained cottages, and resorts. Contact the Gloucester Tourist Information Centre for more information.

You can also find out more about this part of NSW with some of these other links.

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