Border Loop lookout and picnic area

Border Ranges National Park

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Overview

Border Loop lookout and picnic area is a great picnic spot offering scenic views of Gradys Creek Valley within Border Ranges National Park, a World Heritage Area.

Type
Lookouts
Accessibility
Easy
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • It's a good idea to fill your fuel tank before heading out to the park as the closest service stations are in Kyogle, Woodenbong and Rathdowney.
  • The weather in the area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please be well-prepared for your visit

Border Loop lookout and picnic area provides a bird's-eye view south down Gradys Creek, with the historic spiral loop about 400m below the lookout. Scenic views of Border Ranges National Park and McPherson Range can be seen to the east and west.

Border Loop, also known as Spiral Loop, was the first standard gauge railway linking two capital cities in Australia. At the time, it was a significant nation-building project. Construction of the line between Sydney and Brisbane began after World War I, when there was a need to create employment as well as prepare the country for future conflict.

The lookout offers an easily accessible peek into this superb World Heritage national park, which you can explore further along its hiking tracks, or just relish the view. Enjoy a barbecue with friends and family at the picnic area beside the lookout, and the trailhead for Border Loop walk is also nearby.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

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/lookouts/border-loop-lookout-and-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Border Loop lookout and picnic area.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Border Loop lookout and picnic area is in the central precinct of Border Ranges National Park. To get there:

    • Travel north from Kyogle along Summerland Way for 14km until you reach Wiangaree
    • Continue past Wiangaree for another 4.5km, then turn right onto Gradys Creek Road.
    • Travel 21km along Gradys Creek Road until you see the signposted access road to Border loop lookout
    • Turn left onto this road and travel 500m to the picnic area carpark

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    Parking is available in a bitumen seal carpark at Border Loop picnic area, a short walk from Border Loop lookout.

    Best times to visit

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

    Autumn

    A picnic at Border Loop lookout and picnic area is a must during autumn. It's also a popular spot to see the historic Border Loop railway line.

    Spring

    The perfect time to get away from it all on a family camping trip. Sheepstation Creek campground is a great base for exploring Border Ranges National Park.

    Summer

    Watching the sunrise from Pinnacle lookout offers the best views of the crater escarpment, Wollumbin-Mount Warning and the coast. You're bound to find it a breathtaking experience.

    Winter

    Take in the park's scenery from the comfort of your car or motor home as you drive along the Tweed Range Scenic drive. Be sure to take some breaks along the way though – you don't want to miss the views.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    18°C and 30°C

    Highest recorded

    42.9°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    8°C and 22°C

    Lowest recorded

    -0.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    February

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    321mm

    Facilities

    • Facilities are located at the picnic area where this lookout is located
    • Drinking water is limited or not available in this area, so it's a good idea to bring your own.

    Toilets

    • Non-flush toilets

    Picnic tables

    Barbecue facilities

    • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)

    Carpark

    Step-free access

    The picnic area is flat and step-free, with paved pathways that lead to the to the picnic shelters, display shelter and the lookout.

    The lookout platform is flat, step-free and timber, with wooden handrails on all sides.

    • Step-free outdoor pathways

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Fire safety

    During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

    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).

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - easy

    Border Loop lookout and picnic area is flat and step-free, with the following accessible facilities:

    • A short, wheelchair-accessible paved path that leads from the carpark to the picnic area and lookout.
    • Accessible non-flush toilets that can be reached along a timber walkway from the carpark. The walkway has handrails on both sides.
    • Accessible picnic tables that are set on concrete slabs with paved pathways that lead to them. From the pathways, you may need to cross over a very short stretch of flat grass to reach some of the tables.
    • The lookout platform is flat, step-free and timber, with wooden handrails on all sides.

    Some assistance may be required to access the raised lookout platform at the end of the path.

    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.

    Learn more

    Border Loop lookout and picnic area is in Border Ranges National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Aboriginal heritage

    Pinnacle lookout, Border Ranges National Park. Photo: Murray Vanderveer

    The dramatic landscapes of the Border Ranges National Park echo the historical ties connecting the region's Aboriginal people to Country. The Githabul People trace their identity and spirituality to this Country and it is central to their Dreaming. The park protects many ancient sites and continues to be a place of great significance today.

    Abundant wildlife

    Peron's tree frog (Litoria peroni), Border Ranges. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Being part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, makes this park a truly special place to visit. This region has the highest concentration of marsupial, bird, snake and frog species in Australia, so you're bound to come across a cute creature or two during your visit. While you're in the heart of this remarkable rainforest make sure you listen out for the call of the Alberts lyrebird, and while you're picnicking, keep your eye out for the rare, local fauna that thrive in this lush, protected wilderness.

    • Border Loop walk Walk the short and easy Border Loop walk through World Heritage-listed rainforest. Enjoy spectacular views from the lookout and finish with a picnic at the end.
    • Border Ranges 360 experiences Discover some of the rare and remarkable animals, plants and habitats that make Border Ranges National Park special, with our interactive 360-degree images.

    Picture perfect

    Brindle Creek walking track, Border Ranges National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    A landscape photographer's dream, you'll be spoilt for choice in trying to capture the sheer scale and beauty of this epic rainforest from the many lookouts dotted throughout the park. Be sure to carry your camera up to the Pinnacle lookout at sunrise for a breathtaking birds-eye view of the crater escarpment all the way down to the NSW coastline. Don't forget to change your camera setting to panoramic for the perfect mantelpiece shot.

    World Heritage wonder

    Brindle Creek walking track, Border Ranges National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    The rainforests of the Border Ranges National Park are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. World Heritage Areas are irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration - places of such value that the international community has agreed they must be conserved for all time. You can explore this World Heritage-listed rainforest on one of the many walking tracks, like the short Pinnacle walk that provides spectacular views of Wollumbin and the Tweed Valley 1km below.

    • Bar Mountain circuit Take the short and easy Bar Mountain circuit walk to the lookout where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of World Heritage-listed rainforest.
    • Border Loop walk Walk the short and easy Border Loop walk through World Heritage-listed rainforest. Enjoy spectacular views from the lookout and finish with a picnic at the end.
    • Border Ranges 360 experiences Discover some of the rare and remarkable animals, plants and habitats that make Border Ranges National Park special, with our interactive 360-degree images.
    • Brindle Creek picnic area Pack up a picnic and set off along the Tweed Range Scenic drive to explore Border Ranges National Park. Stop off at Brindle Creek picnic area for a picnic and walk.

    Plants and animals protected in this park

    Animals

    • Profile view of an Albert's lyrebird looking for insects amongst leaf litter on the forest floor. Photo: Gavin Phillips © Gavin Phillips

      Albert's lyrebird (Menura alberti)

      The Albert’s lyrebird is much rarer than the superb lyrebird. Distinguished by its richer brown plumage and less elaborate tail feathers, it’s protected as a threatened species in NSW.

    • A spotted-tailed quoll walks across a moss-covered forest floor at night. Photo: Lachlan Hall © Lachlan Hall

      Spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

      The spotted-tailed quoll is the largest remaining carnivorous marsupial on the Australian mainland. It’s protected as a vulnerable species in NSW.

    • A male satin bowerbird with black plumage and blue eyes stands in a bower made of brown twigs. Photo: Peter Sherratt © Peter Sherratt

      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.

    • Profile view of a wompoo fruit-dove on a tree branch with red berries. Photo: John Turbill © John Turbill

      Wompoo fruit-dove (Ptilinopus magnificus)

      The wompoo fruit-dove is a marvellously multi-coloured pigeon that makes its home in rainforest along coastal ranges from mid-north NSW to southern Queensland. It’s protected as a vulnerable species in NSW.

    • Profile view of a rufous scrub-bird (Atrichornis rufescens) standing on a mossy rock. Glen Trelfo © Glen Trelfo

      Rufous scrub-bird (Atrichornis rufescens)

      The vulnerable rufous scrub-bird is a small, ground-foraging bird that lives only in isolated rainforest areas of south-eastern Australia.

    • Eastern common ringtail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)

      Commonly found in forests, woodlands and leafy gardens across eastern NSW, the Australian ringtail possum is a tree-dwelling marsupial. With a powerful tail perfectly adapted to grasp objects, it forages in trees for eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruit.

    • Long-nosed bandicoot, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: Narelle King

      Long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)

      A nocturnal marsupial and one of the smaller Australian native animals, the long-nosed bandicoot is found across eastern Australia. Populations in the Sydney region have dwindled since European settlement, leaving only endangered colonies in inner western Sydney and at North Head, near Manly. The long-nosed bandicoot has grey-brown fur and a pointed snout which it uses to forage for worms and insects.

    • Koala. Photo: Lucy Morrell

      Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

      One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.

    • Profile view of a Fleay's barred frog on a rock surrounded by leaf litter. Photo: Peter Higgins © DPE

      Fleay's barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi)

      The Fleay’s barred frog is an endangered species restricted to rainforest stream habitats in north-east NSW and south-east Queensland.

    • Profile view of an eastern bristlebird on the ground amongst grassy habitat, it's beak open during birdsong. Photo: Leo Berzins © Leo Berzins

      Eastern bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus)

      The endangered eastern bristlebird is a shy, ground-dwelling songbird. Less than 2,500 birds are left in the wild, restricted to 3 isolated areas in eastern NSW and southern Queensland.

    Plants

    • 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)