Caryapundy lookout loop drive

Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park

Affected by closures, check current alerts 

Overview

If you’re staying in Tibooburra and only have time for a day drive, try this return drive through Narriearra. Bring a picnic and set out on your journey through this extraordinary outback national park.

Accessibility
Hard
Distance
74km
Time suggested
5hrs
Grade
Easy
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, food supplies, first aid kit, personal locator beacon, binoculars
Please note
  • The roads from Tibooburra or Bourke and the roads within this park are unsealed gravel roads that may be closed in poor weather. Check the weather before you set out.
  • Please be mindful of wildlife. Stick to tracks to avoid trampling vegetation and look out for reptiles sunbathing in the middle of the road.
  • The best times to visit are autumn for the cooler weather or springtime after rain, when the park comes alive with wildflowers like spotted fuchsia bush, Sturts pigface and variable daisy. Note that if you visit within 1 to 3 months after good rainfall, roads may only be open to 4WD vehicles, and some roads in the northern part of the park may not be open at all.

This 74km drive gives you an overview of Narriearra’s beauty and uniqueness. Along the way, the landscape stretches endlessly in all directions. Notice how the environment changes from semi-arid shrublands and sand dunes to the impermanent creeks, swamps and lakes of the Channel country after rain.

From the park entrance, follow Narriearra Scenic Drive. Continue straight then turn left onto Caryapundy lookout north loop to get to the Caryapundy tank precinct.

Book in advance to stay at Caryapundy lookout campground. It’s a great place to enjoy your picnic or a barbecue. Relax at one of the picnic tables along the edge of the escarpment and take in the view over Caryapundy Swamp from Caryapundy lookout. After lunch, go on a short walk. 

Continue west and then stretch your legs at Caryapundy tank bird hide. See if you can spot any pink-eared ducks, grey teals, blue-billed ducks, hoary-headed grebes or Australasian grebes.

Back in the car, you'll need to return the same way, driving east along the Caryapundy lookout north loop. Turn right onto Narriearra Scenic Drive and return to the park entrance.

 

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

On the way

  • Blue-billed duck, Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park. Photo: Courtney Davies © DPIE

    Caryapundy tank bird hide

    If you’re a keen birdwatcher, don’t miss a visit to Caryapundy tank bird hide in Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park, near Tibooburra. It’s a great place to see some amazing bird species.

  • A picnic area at Caryapundy lookout campground, Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park. Photo: Dan Hough © DPIE

    Caryapundy lookout campground

    If you enjoy remote, self-sufficient camping in outback NSW, Caryapundy lookout campground is for you. Located east of Tibooburra, it has an incredible view, picnic area and a night sky perfect for stargazing.

  • Ceramic remains from the Whittabrinnah Hotel, Whittabrinnah Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park. Photo: Courtney Davies © DPIE

    Whittabrinnah heritage walk

    Step back in time when you do this short walk in Narriearra Carapundy Swamp National Park, near Tibooburra. It's an easy stroll around the Whittabrinnah Hotel ruins and great for all ages.

Map


Map legend

Map legend

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/driving-routes/caryapundy-lookout-loop-drive/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Caryapundy lookout loop drive.

Getting there and parking

Caryapundy lookout loop drive begins at the entrance of Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park. To get there from Tibooburra:

  • Travel 26km east of Tibooburra along Tibooburra Road, to where it becomes Narriearra Road.
  • Continue travelling straight onto Narriearra Road, and drive for another 19km. You'll pass through 2 gates to enter the park.
  • Whittabrinnah Hotel precinct is the first area you’ll reach after entering the park. It's 10km into the park, past the second gate and park entrance sign.
 

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • 4WD required in wet weather

Parking

Parking is available at the Whittabrinnah Hotel precinct, Caryapundy tank precinct and Caryapundy lookout precinct.

Facilities

  • There is no drinking water in this park. Bring plenty of water, petrol and supplies with you.
  • The closest non-flush toilets, picnic tables and gas barbecues are located at Caryapundy lookout
  • The closest carparks are located at Whittabrinnah Hotel precinct and Caryapundy lookout precinct

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

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).

There’s almost no mobile phone coverage within this park. Limited coverage may be available on the Telstra network with a Telstra Cel-fi signal booster.

Outback safety

Safety is of high priority in outback areas. In summer, temperatures can reach up to 50°C in some places. Food, water and fuel supplies can be scarce. Before you head off, check for road closures and use our contacts to stay safe in the outback.

Wildlife safety

Keep yourself and our wildlife safe by understanding the risks of wildlife encounters and how to avoid them.

Accessibility

Disability access level - hard

  • Whittabrinnah Hotel precinct: The walking track crosses an ephemeral creek where there is soft sand, steep edges and tree roots, rocks and other trip hazards. 
  • Caryapundy tank precinct: There’s a steep slope up to the bird hide with some obstacles such as loose rocks.
  • Caryapundy lookout precinct: Wheelchair-accessible with assistance.;

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

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.

Learn more

Caryapundy lookout loop drive is in Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Home to over 500 species

Grey grasswren. Photo: Jeff Hardy © DPIE

Although at first glance the outback may look like a barren landscape, you’ll find that this isn’t the case in Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park. Numerous endangered and threatened species live here, and some are found nowhere else in NSW. From the scurrying bearded dragon to a soaring wedge-tailed eagle, there are around 540 species recorded in the park (not including plant species). You may even be lucky enough to spot the endangered grey grasswren (pictured) flitting through the lignum surrounding Bartons tank bird hide.

  • Caryapundy lookout loop drive If you’re staying in Tibooburra and only have time for a day drive, try this return drive through Narriearra. Bring a picnic and set out on your journey through this extraordinary outback national park.
  • Caryapundy tank bird hide If you’re a keen birdwatcher, don’t miss a visit to Caryapundy tank bird hide in Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park, near Tibooburra. It’s a great place to see some amazing bird species.

The drovers' hotel

The old cattleyards at Narriearra Station, Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park. Photo: Joshua Smith ©DPIE

Whittabrinnah Hotel was once a bustling place where drovers stopped by on their way through the Adelaide Gate to the markets at Broken Hill and Adelaide. The hotel stood for around 25 years until it burnt down in the early 1890s, and was never rebuilt. You can still see the remaining stone material from the hotel’s buildings, hearths and foundations, and the stockyard across the road. There’s also galvanised iron material amongst a scatter of glass bottles and ceramic jars from daily life at the hotel. The heritage values of these objects are defined by the connection they have with the Whittabrinnah Hotel, so please don’t remove them from this location.

  • Caryapundy lookout loop drive If you’re staying in Tibooburra and only have time for a day drive, try this return drive through Narriearra. Bring a picnic and set out on your journey through this extraordinary outback national park.
  • Whittabrinnah heritage walk Step back in time when you do this short walk in Narriearra Carapundy Swamp National Park, near Tibooburra. It's an easy stroll around the Whittabrinnah Hotel ruins and great for all ages.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Australian pelican. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

    The curious pelican is Australia’s largest flying bird and has the longest bill of any bird in the world. These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands.

  • Emu, Paroo Darling National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

    The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years.

  • Red kangaroo, Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

    The red kangaroo is one of the most iconic Australian animals and the largest marsupial in the world. Large males have reddish fur and can reach a height of 2m, while females are considerably smaller and have blue-grey fur. Red kangaroos are herbivores and mainly eat grass.

  • Echidna. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

  • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

    Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

    With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

Plants

  • Mulga. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Mulga (Acacia aneura)

    Mulga are hardy Australian native plants found throughout inland Australia. With an unusually long tap root, the mulga is able to withstand long periods of drought.

  • River red gum, Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Photo: Paul Childs

    River red gum (Eucalpytus camaldulensis)

    Australian native plants, majestic river red gum trees are widespread across Australian inland river systems. The river red gum is a dominant tree species of the Murray-Darling basin which spans NSW, Queensland and Victoria. This iconic native eucalypt grows to a height of 30m and is thought to have a lifespan up to 500-1000 years.

  • Saltbush. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia)

    A hardy Australian native plant, the saltbush is a small spreading shrub that can withstand dry salty soils such as those found in the desert plains of western NSW. It is grey-white in colour and has small spear-shaped succulent leaves. It flowers from December to April.

Environments in this park