Nightcap National Park

Overview

Explore ancient World Heritage-listed rainforests of Nightcap National Park near Lismore in north-eastern NSW. Ideal for school excursions, you’ll find great campgrounds, picnic areas, walks and stunning views.

Read more about Nightcap National Park

Nightcap National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, is a dramatically beautiful park full of ancient rainforests, magical waterways and spectacular views. The lush rainforest provides a home for the newly discovered nightcap oak as well as a number of threatened animal species, including Albert's lyrebird and Fleay's barred frog which takes shelter under leaf litter and makes an 'ok-ok-ok-ok-ok' after rain.

With easy access from Lismore and Nimbin, you can enjoy a picnic, bushwalk or overnight camping trip amid the park's escarpments, waterfalls and crystal clear creeks and enjoy incredible views of the 20 million year-old Wollumbin shield volcano.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/nightcap-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

  • in the North Coast region
  • Nightcap National Park is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

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See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Nightcap National Park.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Lismore:

    • Drive 35km to the northern rivers area of NSW
    • Road access is from one of five roads from the Richmond Valley in the south, four of which are unsealed
    • Whian Whian Forest Drive is off the Lismore-Mullumbimby Road

    Park entry points

    Parking

    By bike

    Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Nightcap National Park. Here are some of the highlights: Weather in the northern rivers region is generally mild in winter ranging to hot in summer. It can be very wet (the park receives the highest annual rainfall in NSW) and misty so check local weather conditions and pack suitable clothes as well as a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    18°C and 29°C

    Highest recorded

    40°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    6°C and 19°C

    Lowest recorded

    -0.6°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    February

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    350mm

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Nimbin (11 km)

    Nimbin is the counter-culture capital of Australia. It's set in a beautiful green valley pierced with limestone spires.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Lismore (27 km)

    Lismore is a major North Coast commercial, cultural and administrative centre. It's set in undulating country on the north arm of the Richmond River.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Mullumbimby (32 km)

    Mullumbimby sits on the Brunswick River and is overshadowed by subtropical hills.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Nightcap National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Ancient rainforest

    Minyon Falls, Nightcap National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Nightcap National Park's rainforests are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, the largest area of subtropical rainforest in the world. They are a living link to the environment of ancient Australia and give us insight into the environment of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. This lush and diverse conservation area protects a number of vulnerable and threatened species such as the rufous scrub bird, red goshawk, sooty and masked owls and regent bowerbirds. It is also home to the recently discovered nightcap oak, which can grow up to 40m high.

    History buffs

    Goorgana walking track, Nightcap National Park

    Nightcap National Park contains a number of sites of historical interest, including a flying fox on the Googarna track. The flying fox was used to lower logs 500m down to the Kunghur mill during the 1940s and 1950s. The historic Nightcap track provided the first bridle track and telegraph line between the Richmond and Tweed valleys in the 1870s, and today you can explore this track on foot, camping overnight in the bush.

    Aboriginal heritage

    Rainforest creek flowing through Nightcap National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Nightcap National Park is the traditional land of the Bundjalung People, in particular the Widjabul People who have inhabited the area for thousands of years. The park contains many ancient sites of cultural significance, including ceremonial and sacred sites that are still used by local Aboriginal people today. The creeks, plants, animals and landscape of the park feature in the stories, teachings and practices of Aboriginal people that continue to be passed on today.

    Frogs galore

    Rainforest creek flowing through Nightcap National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    The rainforest creeks in Nightcap National Park are home to a number of threatened frogs, including Fleay's barred frog and the pouched frog. You might see Fleay's barred frogs hiding under leaf litter near streams or foraging for food on the rainforest floor, but you're more likely to hear their chorus, a distinctive 'arrrrrrk'. This rare frog feeds mainly on insects and invertebrates, so crickets, moths and beetles make a good meal. Keep your eyes open for this pale brown frog around Terania creek at the base of Protesters Falls.

    • Goorgana walking track Goorgana walking track is ideal for experienced bushwalkers keen to tackle the challenging iconic peaks in Nightcap National Park.
    • Terania Creek picnic area Terania Creek picnic area is a great place for a family picnic or barbecue. Close to the carpark, walking tracks and waterfalls, its home to birds and goannas.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Satin bowerbird. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)

      With vibrant blue-violet eyes and curious antics, the satin bowerbird is a favourite for bird watching and easy to spot as it forages for food in open forest. Relatively common across eastern Australia, in NSW they’re found in coastal rainforests and adjacent woodlands and mountain ranges.

    • Australian brush turkey, Sea Acres National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami)

      The Australian brush turkey, also known as bush or scrub turkey, can be found in rainforests along eastern NSW. With a striking red head, blue-black plumage and booming call, these distinctive Australian birds are easy to spot while bird watching in several NSW national parks.

    •  Lace monitor. Photo: Lucas Boyd

      Lace monitor (Varanus varius)

      One of Australia’s largest lizards, the carnivorous tree-dwelling lace monitor, or tree goanna, can grow to 2m in length and is found in forests and coastal tablelands across eastern Australia. These Australian animals are typically dark blue in colour with whitish spots or blotches.

    Plants

    • Coachwood flower. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum)

      Coachwood trees are Australian native plants that grow in warm temperate rainforests along coastal NSW. Also known as scented satinwood, the mottled grey bark of the coachwood has horizontal markings and a delicate fragrance.

    • Blueberry ash. Photo: Jaime Plaza

      Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

      The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together. It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Nightcap National Park has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Preserving biodiversity

    Nightcap National Park observes and supports the plant and animal species within its borders. Efforts to minimise the impacts of threats are ongoing within this park and include frequent monitoring and pest management. NPWS is committed to plant and animal conservation, and protects threatened, vulnerable and endangered species within all NSW national parks.

    Conservation program

    BioNet

    Uniting technology with the vast collection of information on biodiversity in NSW, BioNet is a valuable database open to any user. From individual plant sightings to detailed scientific surveys, it offers a wealth of knowledge about ecology and threatened species in NSW. 

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Nightcap National Park. NPWS carries out risk assesments for new and emerging weeds as well as cane toad and wild dog control to protect biodiversity in this park.

    Conservation program

    Wild dog control program

    Wild dogs can have significant impacts on other animals and are regarded as pests. Our wild dog control program operates in many NSW national parks and reserves. When carrying out such pest control, we aim to minimise the wild dogs’ effects on livestock and wildlife, while still maintaining dingo conservation in key areas.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    NPWS is committed to providing numerous high-quality facilities for visitors to enjoy in all its parks. Park visitors are well catered for, and the park’s recreational facilities are frequently reviewed, with opportunities examined for future amendments.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Conservation program

    Hazard reduction program

    Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a three-pronged approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to fuel like dead wood, NPWS conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and community.

    Minyon Falls, Nightcap National Park. Photo: Hamilton Lund