Kaputar scenic drive

Mount Kaputar National Park

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Overview

Kaputar scenic drive is a 20km driving route through dramatic landscapes, with access to lookouts, picnic spots and walking tracks.

Distance
20km one-way
Time suggested
30min
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • 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 go bird watching

Spectacular Nandewar volcanoes have left behind a landscape of dramatic shapes and atmospheric hideaways, tucked throughout Mount Kaputar National Park for the curious traveller.

A great way to take in all the area has to offer is by hitting the road and driving along Kaputar scenic drive, which ascends about 1,100m in altitude as it snakes up the mountainside. The beautiful plant life changes as you climb, with wildflowers like golden wattle in September and white tea tree in the warmer months. The drive finishes at the summit of Mount Kaputar – be sure to bring your binoculars if you want to enjoy a spot of birdwatching while you’re there or simply take in the wonderful views from above.

One of the best things about this driving route is it can reach the quieter corners of the park, like stunning Doug Sky lookout, or Bark Hut, which is a perfect place to picnic. You can find barbecues at Dawsons Spring and plenty of walking tracks along the way, meaning it’s easy to step out and stretch your legs to break up the drive and make a day of it.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


Map


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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/kaputar-scenic-drive/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Kaputar scenic drive .

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Kaputar scenic drive is in the Kaputar plateau precinct of Mount Kaputar National Park. To get there:

    • Head south from Narrabri on Old Gunnedah Road
    • Turn left after 2.5km onto Kaputar Road and follow it 31km to the park entrance
    • An information bay can be found approximately 1.5km further on the left

    Parking

    Parking is available at the information bay, Green Camp, Coryah Gap, Bark Hut, and Dawson Spring.

    Best times to visit

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

    Autumn

    This is one of the best times of year to visit the park, with ideal temperatures for bush walking, cycling and camping.

    Spring

    A beautiful time of year to enjoy the abundant wildflowers and birds.

    Summer

    Escape the heat of the plains by heading up into the park.

    Winter

    Experience the mist surrounding the high plateau area and enjoy the beauty of the occasional blanketing of snow. Be prepared for the temperatures about 10°C cooler than in the nearby town of Narrabri.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    21°C and 35°C

    Highest recorded

    43.4°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    7°C and 18°C

    Lowest recorded

    -5.6°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    January

    Driest month

    August

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    188mm

    Facilities

    • Drinking water is limited or not available in this area, so be sure to bring some.
    • Firewood is not supplied and may not be collected from the park

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    The road is narrow and winding so motorists need to exercise extreme caution and consider their own safety and the safety of other road users, as well as local wildlife.

    Cycling safety

    Hundreds of cyclists head to our national parks for fun and adventure. If you're riding your bike through a national park, read these mountain biking and cycling safety tips.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus 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.

    If you're travelling through a national park or reserve on a public road you can have pets inside your vehicle. However, you must keep them inside your vehicle while driving through national parks or reserves. You must also comply with any conditions in the park’s plan of management, and you cannot stop to visit the park or use park facilities (unless for safety reasons, or to use publicly accessible toilets).

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    Kaputar scenic drive is in Mount Kaputar National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A harsh lifestyle

    Scutts Hutt, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Ian Brown

    Several pioneering families lived in the Mount Kaputar area in extremely harsh conditions. Stockmen looked after sheep and cattle on the Kaputar Plateau, often going for months without seeing another person. Enjoy a walk to the historic Scutts Hut to experience the pioneers' harsh lifestyle. The Scutt family lived in the hut in the 1940s and 50s, and it has been carefully restored to its original condition. Most of the materials to build the hut and furniture were brought in by horse - even the rainwater tank.

    An ancient heritage

    Views from Eckfords lookout, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Mount Kaputar National Park is the traditional Country of the Gamilaroi Aboriginal people. The park provided a rich resource for food, medicines, shelter and weapons and the landscape is part of Dreaming stories. Reminders of the Gamilaroi's connection to this ancient landscape are evident in Aboriginal rock carvings, campsites, marks on trees and axe grinding grooves throughout the park.

    Colourful locals

    Pink Slug (Triboniophorus aff. graeffei), Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Mount Kaputar is famous for a very unusual, colourful local - a bright pink slug. It can be seen after rain on rocks, trees and amongst the leaf litter. With birds from both the east and west meeting together at Mount Kaputar, the park is also a wonderful place to go bird watching. More than 185 bird species live in the park, so don't forget your binoculars. A torch will also come in handy for seeing some of the other locals that come out at night, including possums and greater gliders. And watch out for the many kangaroos and wallabies, too.

    • Dawsons Spring nature trail Dawsons Spring nature trail is an easy walk from Dawsons Spring campground in Mount Kaputar National Park, near Narrabri. Great for families, you'll enjoy seasonal waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife spotting.
    • Euglah Rock walking track Ideal for walking with kids, Euglah Rock walking track in Mount Kaputar National Park leads to a lookout offering stunning scenic views of Euglah Rock and beyond.

    Action or relaxation

    Verandah of Logan cabin, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH

    Mount Kaputar National Park is packed with walks, cycling and 4WD trails, plus plenty of scenic spots for camping and picnicking. Test your mountain bike legs up the steep Mount Kaputar Road to the Kaputar Plateau, or the challenging Barraba track. Enjoy a bite to eat at a serene picnic area before walking it off as you take in the stunning scenery. Don't miss the incredible Sawn Rocks formation. There's so much to see, why not book a cabin or set up camp for a few days to make the most of your country getaway.

    • Sawn Rocks picnic area Sawn Rocks picnic area is located at the start of Sawn Rocks walking track in Mount Kaputar National Park. It’s ideal for barbecues and picnics with scenic views of North West NSW.
    • Waa Gorge picnic area Waa Gorge is one of Mount Kaputar National Park’s most stunning attractions, and this picnic area offers enough sights to enjoy the show over a long lunch.

    Over 20 million years in the making

    Mount Kaputar, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Ian Brown

    Two volcanos pushed Mount Kaputar high above the plains, and millions of years of erosion have carved a dramatic landscape of narrow valleys and steep ridges. Many of the mountains are ancient lava terraces. Experience ancient history for yourself by standing on Lindsay Rock Tops - an excellent example of a lava terrace. Or visit Sawn Rocks to see one of Australia's best examples of a spectacular rock formation called organ-piping - it really does look like a wall of giant organ pipes.

    • Bundabulla circuit walking track Bundabulla circuit walking track connects several walking tracks together. It offers a terrific bushwalking experience with places to picnic along the way and views of Mount Kaputar and surrounds.
    • Dawsons Spring nature trail Dawsons Spring nature trail is an easy walk from Dawsons Spring campground in Mount Kaputar National Park, near Narrabri. Great for families, you'll enjoy seasonal waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife spotting.
    • Doug Sky lookout Doug Sky lookout in Mount Kaputar National Park offers scenic views over north-west NSW and Warrumbungles.
    • Kaputar scenic drive Kaputar scenic drive is a 20km driving route through dramatic landscapes, with access to lookouts, picnic spots and walking tracks.
    • Sawn Rocks walking track This easy walk beside a shady creek bed leads you to a spectacular rock formation - the unique, organ-pipe cliff face of Sawn Rocks and scenic views.
    • The Governor lookout walking track Enjoy scenic mountain views over Grattai wilderness area from The Governor lookout walking track.
    Show more

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Southern boobook. Photo: David Cook

      Southern boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae)

      The southern boobook, also known as the mopoke, is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. With a musical 'boo-book' call that echoes through forests and woodlands, the southern boobook is a great one to look out for while bird watching.

    • 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.

    • Closeup of a laughing kookaburra's head and body. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

      Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

      Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.

    Plants

    • Wonga Wonga vine. Photo: Barry Collier

      Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)

      The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.

    • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

      An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)