Junior ranger: Copeland Tops

Copeland Tops State Conservation Area

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Overview

Step back in time this school holidays and uncover the hidden treasures of Mountain Maid gold mine at Copeland Tops.

When

Tuesday 10 January and 18 April 2023. Thursday 6 July 2023, 10am to 12pm.

Where
Copeland Tops State Conservation Area in North Coast
Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Grade
Medium. Suitable for adults and children 5 years and over. We’ll walk 2km and there are some steep staircase sections.
Price

Child $15 per person (5 to 16 years). All children must be accompanied by an adult. Maximum 1 adult per paid child. Accompanying adults free.

Meeting point
Copeland Tops State Conservation Area carpark
Bookings
For large organised groups and school tours contact the NPWS Newcastle Discovery Coordinator on 02 4927 3267.
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Join a Discovery Ranger to find out what plants and animals live here and how they survive in this magical park. Peek inside the Mountain Maid gold mine and discover some of the old machinery like a battery stamper, whirly-gig gold separator, air compressor and gold carts. You can even pan for gold.

Be amazed by the rainforest while you discover what our park rangers do to look after this beautiful park and its heritage.

It's going to be a busy morning, so remember to wear a hat, sunscreen and enclosed shoes, and bring along some insect repellent, drinking water and snacks. The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you're well-prepared for your visit.

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/guided-tours/junior-ranger-copeland-tops/local-alerts

Bookings

Operated by

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  • NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Junior ranger: Copeland Tops.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Gloucester:

    • Follow Thunderbolts Way northwest out through the village of Barrington and over the single-lane bridge
    • Continue west on Scone Road until you come to Copeland village
    • Turn left into Copeland Road and follow this road to the carpark at the end.

    Parking

    • Free parking available at the end of Copeland Road and at Hidden Treasure picnic area, at the end of Copeland Road after entering the park.
    • Bus parking is available
    • It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.

    Maps and downloads

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - no wheelchair access

    Not wheelchair-accessible.

    Learn more

    Junior ranger: Copeland Tops is in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    From little things big things grow

    Wildflowers in bloom in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

    From the delicate epiphytes, only one cell in width, to the gnarled sprawling branches of the ancient grey myrtles, each plant has its place within the ecosystem of the rare dry rainforest. The tract within Copeland Tops is the largest accessible section in the district of Gloucester. Take a walk through the green corridors overhung by strangler figs, shatterwood and grey myrtle. On the ground between mossy rocks and on the sides of trees grow birds nest ferns, staghorns, elkhorns and orchids. The rare stuttering frog is commonly heard around these parts, its call emitting from a preferred habitat of stream-side leaf litter. Its repetitive song is often joined by the screech of glossy black-cockatoos, the "wollack-wa-hoo" of the wompoo fruit-dove and the unpredictable calls of lyrebirds. At night, the masked, powerful and sooty owls come out to hunt and hoot.

    • Basin loop track Basin loop track continues from Hidden Treasure track to form a longer walk with scenic views of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area via historic Old Copeland Road.
    • Copeland Tops twilight tour Experience the magic of Copeland Tops at twilight. Explore Hidden Treasure track and the historic buildings of Mountain Maid gold mine on this evening tour near Gloucester.
    • Exploring the rainforest Join us and explore a unique rainforest environment on this Stage 2 (Years 3-4) geography excursion at Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Students will conduct field exercises and learn what makes rainforest areas so special.
    • Hidden Treasure track Take a walk through the rainforest along Hidden Treasure track in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area, near Gloucester. You'll pass remnants of the area's mining heritage, including a historic boiler and disused mine entrance.
    • Junior ranger: Copeland Tops Step back in time this school holidays and uncover the hidden treasures of Mountain Maid gold mine at Copeland Tops.

    Land of plenty

    Rolling hills of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

    This is the traditional lands of the Worimi and Biripi people who live in the area and previously moved around in response to the seasonal availability of food. Such a broad ecosystem would have provided many resources for medicinal, ceremonial and cultural purposes. It is very likely that people travelling from the coast to Barrington Tops area would have passed through Copeland Tops. Their history will forever be an integral part of this landscape.

    Striking it rich

    Abandoned gold mine relics, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: Brent Mail

    It was the red cedar cutters who, battling to log 'red gold' in this unforgiving terrain from the early 1800s, first discovered gold here in 1875. The area soon became known as Copeland and over the next 60 years more than 50 gold mines were dug in the area. According to the records, over 1800kg of the valuable metal were extracted during that time. Many relics of this mining heritage remain in the form of historic sites and derelict equipment. However, the bushland and rainforest now dominate once again.

    • Basin loop track Basin loop track continues from Hidden Treasure track to form a longer walk with scenic views of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area via historic Old Copeland Road.
    • Copeland Tops twilight tour Experience the magic of Copeland Tops at twilight. Explore Hidden Treasure track and the historic buildings of Mountain Maid gold mine on this evening tour near Gloucester.
    • Hidden Treasure track Take a walk through the rainforest along Hidden Treasure track in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area, near Gloucester. You'll pass remnants of the area's mining heritage, including a historic boiler and disused mine entrance.
    • It's gold! This excursion experience has been updated and is now being delivered in line with the new NSW Department of Education Curriculum. We will be revising this excursion's name and information online soon. Contact your local national parks office for more information about the updated excursion.
    • Junior ranger: Copeland Tops Step back in time this school holidays and uncover the hidden treasures of Mountain Maid gold mine at Copeland Tops.
    • Mountain Maid gold mine Guided tours through Mountain Maid gold mine are available for visitors to Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Walking tours start from Hidden Treasure picnic area.
    • Mountain Maid gold mine tour Step back in time and uncover the hidden treasures of Mountain Maid gold mine in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Discover historic buildings and pan for gold on this tour in the rainforest.
    • The Mountain Maid gold mine ghost hunt As night falls, head deep into the woods of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area on a ghost hunt with Newcastle Ghost Tours. Explore Gloucester Museum and the relics at Mountain Maid gold mine by torchlight.
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    Education resources (1)

    School excursions (3)