New England National Park - Gondwana Rainforest
Travel Update Summer 2020: Most destinations, sites and parks reopened with limitations. Check the official websites and read our crucial ‘BEST TIME TO GO' and ‘AVOIDING THE CROWDS’ tips:
Where there is rainforest, there is rain. The New England Gondwana rainforest is worth to visit throughout the year. Hiking and camping in such an ancient Antarctic beech forest is something very special and sensational. It may be 35°C hot at the Ebor Falls just 30 km north of the New England National Park, but in the forest, it’s cool with temps often around 16°C during spring and summer. Nights get pretty chilly. It’s a perfect example to experience the positive impact of forests for our environment and against climate change.
Weather New England National Park
First of all, precipitation can happen in abundance, and tents get flooded. On the other hand, dry and warm days can occur as well. Most important be prepared and check the weather forecast before visiting the park.
- Rainy Season
It frequently rains from November to March. Temps can be high on average 25°C and even more around 30°C is possible on a clear sunny day. If it’s misty and cloudy temps are on average around 15°C. Check the forecast before pitching your tent. The campground got already flooded a couple of times.
- Drier Season
In April the rain decreases and May to October are drier. May to August are the coldest months day temps on average are below 20° and night temps are around 7°C. However, be prepared if you plan to camp night temps can drop to 0°C with occasional snowfall.
If you like to experience nature without the crowds and awesome day hikes this is one of the rare places. The secluded Thungutti campground is very seldom fully booked. Usually, there are just four or five sites occupied. While hiking, we just met one family the entire day.
Camping New England and Dorrigo National Park
If you plan to visit the New England National Park make a stop at Dorrigo and its visitor center first. You can’t camp in Dorrigo, but there is one small campground called Thungutti at the entrance of the New England National Park. Just 20 sites are available, basic facilities and a picnic area with gas BBQ.
If you like to get close to mother nature and a digital detox this is the right place for you. Sugar gliders visit the campground during the night, and you can hear them in the kitchen/BBQ area searching for leftovers. The fee for two adults is $12 for one night. Nowadays booking online is essential. Map and campsite booking
There are three cabins to rent inside the National Park in the middle of the awesome rainforest. That's more comfortable during the rain. Toms Cabin is equipped with an oven, basic kitchen, and four bunk beds. Booking Toms Cabin and Booking the Chalet with an included balcony and The Residence for up to 10 people.
The Gondwana Rainforests can be found just in the north of NSW and south-east of Queensland. It’s two hours drive to the National Park entrance from Coffs Harbour. It feels like being in an utterly different world from the past in pristine wilderness. The rainforest is soaked with water, covered with moss and lichens.
The park is located within an altitude range from 100 m to 1.563 m — the reason for subtropical, warm temperate and cool temperate rainforests. Due to the remote location and view visitors, the park is full of wildlife. When you enter the park, there is an information board providing you with details for the available hikes and the three picnic areas as well which are accessible by car.
Why are Gondwana Rainforests Exceptional
It’s a journey through time; the supercontinent which was covered in rainforest. At this period, it was warmer and wetter. The dominated plant was the fern. The climate became drier and cooler. Life on earth experienced a mass extinction. Though life in the Gondwana rainforest persevered. Some of the most extraordinary plants and wildlife evolved in the Gondwana rainforest, and these forests still provide an incredible array of life. The impact of humans reduced Gondwana distribution. Today little pieces of the Gondwana treasure remain. Nowadays these rainforests are protected having a World Heritage Status.
Highlights and Hiking Trails
- Point Lookout; a 200 m long and wheelchair accessible walk. Come here for a spectacular sunrise during the colder and drier months.
- Eagles Nest; an outstanding more challenging steep trail, a journey into the past - millions of years ago. You pass along your hike impressive old Antarctic beech trees. The trail is just 2 km long but can be extended to Weeping Rock and the Beech forest. The path is slippery wet from the water trickling from the rocks. The trail takes a couple of hours due to the wet soil. You may be astonished by this beautiful nature and rest for a while. We spotted a lyrebird in the tree, and crimson rosellas occur here as well.
- The Lyrebird Walk is a longer loop trail 5.5 km long starts at the Banksia Point picnic area.
- The Tea Tree Falls Walk starts at the Thungutti camping area and continues to the Lyrebird Walk. It's a flat 4 km return walk.
- Wrights Lookout is a challenging 4 km, 2 hours long trail. The trailhead is at the Robinsons Knob Trail car park.
- Cascades Walk; a strenuous almost 6 km long trail for cold water lovers.
- The Robinson Knob Wilderness Trail is a multi-day hike of 33 km through the marvelous New England National Park.
- Rain gear; Where there is rainforest - there is rain!
- Waterproof hiking boots; the trails are soaked from the rain.
- Plenty of water and food; you can't buy anything nearby.
- Waterproof camera to capture this outstanding piece of nature during rain.