Hastings Forest Way touring route

Willi Willi National Park

Overview

See Gondwana rainforest, go camping, birdwatching and enjoy amazing scenery on a scenic drive through Hastings Forest Way touring route near Port Macquarie and Wauchope.

Where
Willi Willi National Park
Distance
122km
Time suggested
8hrs
Grade
Medium
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • Hastings Forest Way is routinely used by logging trucks. Drive to the conditions and move well out of the way to allow trucks to safely pass.
  • The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
  • There is limited mobile reception in this park
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch

Get away from everything and discover remote bushland on Hastings Forest Way touring route. This scenic drive is a fantastic way to explore the wilderness and falls country of Werrikimbe National Park. Make it a day trip or camp overnight at Brushy Mountain or Plateau Beech campground.

The 122km return touring route from Wauchope to Brushy Mountain climbs from 100m above sea level to 1,100m near Spokes Mountain. The journey takes you through the woodlands and heath, dotted with colourful wildflowers in spring and into ancient Gondwana rainforest.

For rewarding views, make a side-trip to Number 1 Tower picnic area or take your 4WD along the isolated Racecourse trail up the escarpment to Mooraback campground and continue on to Walcha.

Stop to enjoy a peaceful picnic and take advantage of the great birdwatching. You’ll see a range of forest birds such as eastern yellow robins, scarlet robins and rufous fantails.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

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 https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/4wd-touring-routes/hastings-forest-way-touring-route/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Hastings Forest Way touring route.

Getting there and parking

Hastings Forest Way is in the eastern part of Werrikimbe National Park and the southern part of Willi Willi National Park. It starts in Wauchope and continues up to Brushy Mountain. To get there:

  • From Wauchope, drive through town to the west along the Oxley Highway, turn right towards Beechwood on Beechwood Road, sign posted as Werrikimbe National Park 63kms.
  • At Beechwood, turn right onto Bellangry Road, signposted as Werrikimbe National Park 56km
  • After 17km the road changes from tar to gravel and becomes known as Hastings Forest Way
  • From the start of the gravel travel 37.7km to the intersection of Cockerawombeeba Road and bear right along Hastings Forest Way for 2km. The entrance for Brushy Mountain is on the right.

Road quality

Check the weather before you set out as Hastings Forest Way can become boggy when it rains.

Parking

Parking is available along the Hastings Forest Way touring route.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Werrikimbe National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Bathe in warm days and huddle around the campfire on cool nights at one of the remote campgrounds.

Spring

See the bushland burst with colour as the spring wildflowers attract a range of birds.

Summer

Escape the crowds and the coastal heat and enjoy walking in cool temperate rainforest.

Winter

Experience crystal clear days and crisp early morning frosts. Listen out for the night-time territorial calls of large forest owls from your tent.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

16°C and 29°C

Highest recorded

42.2°C

Winter temperature

Average

5°C and 20°C

Lowest recorded

-5.1°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

February

Driest month

July

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

706.8mm

Facilities

  • You'll need to bring your own drinking and cooking water
  • Firewood is not supplied and may not be collected from the park
  • You are encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves, especially in summer during the fire season.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

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 pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Kempsey (11 km)

Kempsey is a historic river town close to national parks and majestic beaches. Kempsey is a convenient place for an overnight stop for anyone driving between Sydney and the North Coast.

www.visitnsw.com

Port Macquarie (37 km)

Vibrant Port Macquarie is surrounded by beautiful waterways - the Hastings River, canals, creeks, bays and the Pacific Ocean. The city also has a five-star collection of golden-sand beaches stretching from Port Macquarie Beach to Town Beach and north along the 16-km swathe of North Beach.

www.visitnsw.com

Wauchope (2 km)

Wauchope is great base for exploring nearby national parks that are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Follow the Hastings Forest Way to Werrikimbe National Park, a rugged wilderness of outstanding beauty spread with short and long walks. Willi Willi National Park is a rainforest mountain park with three beautiful walking tracks that follow the river and lead to a sparkling waterfall. 

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Hastings Forest Way touring route is in Willi Willi National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

An ancient story

Palm Grove Walk, Willi Willi National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Today’s lush rainforests are direct relations of the ancient forests of Gondwana within the Antarctic Circle. Around 80 million years ago, the ancestral continent broke up and Australia started moving north, which eventually reduced most of the rainforests to a narrow strip along south-eastern Australia. As well as World Heritage-listed rainforests, the park protects a diversity of vegetation, including old growth eucalypt forests and open heath. This diverse vegetation provides food and shelter for a medley of creatures; small ground mammals and bats, the endangered Hastings River mouse, the yellow-bellied glider. Australia’s largest marsupial carnivore, the spotted-tailed quoll, also calls Willi Willi home.

  • Botanic walk A short stroll not far from Wauchope, Botanic walk heads through World Heritage rainforest and is great for birdwatching and relaxing with the family over a picnic.

Ground beneath our feet

Waterfall walk, Willi Willi National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The geology of Willi Willi National Park is for the most part mudstone, sandstone and conglomerate, making the terrain exceptionally steep and rugged. These rocks are more resistant to erosion than the sedimentary beds, making them the cause of such rippled landscapes and the spectacular angles of the park.

  • Hastings Forest Way touring route See Gondwana rainforest, go camping, birdwatching and enjoy amazing scenery on a scenic drive through Hastings Forest Way touring route near Port Macquarie and Wauchope.
  • Waterfall walk This medium-difficulty trail, not too far from Kempsey, walks you through flourishing World Heritage-listed rainforest of Willi Willi National Park. You can also picnic by waterfalls and swim in a natural pool.
  • Wilson River picnic area Wilson River picnic area near Wauchope is the ideal place to begin your driving or walking adventures. Bring a picnic, explore rainforests on a walking track and swim near the waterfall.

The land provides balance

Waterfall walk, Willi Willi National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The name Willi Willi National Park is derived from the local Dunghutti Aboriginal word 'willai' meaning possum. The repetition of the word indicates a plural form translating roughly as “many possums”. Dunghutti Aboriginal Nguloongooras (wise elders) would perform secret ‘increase rituals’ on sacred mountain tops such as Kemps Pinnacle, near the western boundary of the park, to extend their food supply. Placing limits on certain species during seasonal variations allowed for a natural increase in food resources. It was the wish of their great deity, Woormprahl, for them to create this balance with nature.

Education resources (1)

Hastings Forest Way touring route, Werrikimbe National Park. Photo: John Spencer