Gara Gorge lookout

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

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Overview

Gara Gorge lookout is accessed via an easy hike along Threlfall walking track, providing birdwatching, picnicking, and scenic views over the spectacular gorge country near Armidale.

Type
Lookouts
Where
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note

Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch.

If you like to combine an easy walk with a spectacular view then it’s time to pack the car and head to Gara Gorge lookout, accessed along Threlfall walking track. You’ll be rewarded with scenic views down the rugged gorge.

From the lookout, you’ll see gum-lined valleys and steep ravines that continue to the coast. Look for brush-tailed rock wallabies sunning themselves on the outlying stone as you breathe in clean, crisp mountain air. Bring your binoculars for birdwatching as peregrine falcons and wedge-tailed eagles can sometimes be seen in the skies above.

After all that fresh air and scenery, you’ll be ready for lunch, so head back to either Threlfall picnic area or the popular Blue Hole picnic area for a bush picnic or barbecue.

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/lookouts/gara-gorge-lookout/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

  • in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in the North Coast and Country NSW regions
  • Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • There are 3 areas in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park where you'll need day use vehicle permits: Halls Peak campground and picnic area, Riverside campground and picnic area, and Youdales Hut campground and picnic area. Day use vehicle permits can be bought online or by calling the National Parks Contact Centre on 1300 072 757. If camping, permit fees are included in the campground fee.

    Contact us for permits (/about-npws/contact-us).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Gara Gorge lookout.

Getting there and parking

Gara Gorge lookout is accessed via Threlfall walking track in the Gara Gorge precinct of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. To get there:

  • Drive from Armidale along Waterfall Way for approximately 2km
  • Turn right into Castledoyle Road and drive for approximately 15km
  • At Gara Gorge, follow the signs to Threlfall picnic area and walk along Threlfall walking track

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Threlfall picnic area.

Best times to visit

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

Autumn

A great time to tackle the Green Gully track when the days are not too hot and the nights not too cold.

Spring

The heathlands are a riot of colour when the flowers are out.

Summer

The waterfalls are likely to be at their most impressive after the summer rains.

Winter

Crisp, cool and clear days are good for a brisk half day bushwalk.

Facilities

  • Toilets and picnic facilities are available at Blue Hole picnic area and Threfall picnic area.
  • Drinking water is available at Blue Hole picnic area. There is water available at Threfall picnic area but will need to be treated before drinking. It’s a good idea to bring your own drinking water.

Toilets

Picnic tables

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

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).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

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

Armidale (17 km)

During autumn the parks and gardens around Armidale show their beautiful colours. Enjoy a drive along the Waterfall Way, stopping at waterfalls and craggy gorges in the rugged countryside.

www.visitnsw.com

Guyra (41 km)

Fishing in one of Guyra's numerous and beautiful streams is a great way to relax and get back to nature. You might land a big trout, too! If you're looking for more active pursuits, you're within easy reach of a number of scenic national parks, where rock climbing, kayaking horseriding and bushwalking are just some of your options.

www.visitnsw.com

Uralla (32 km)

Uralla offers fascinating insight into the gold-rush days of the 1850s. Stretch your legs on the Uralla Heritage Walk, which has 30 historic buildings along the route.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Gara Gorge lookout is in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A national first

Gara Gorge, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

John Oxley was the first European to visit the New England region, passing through the area that is now Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in September 1818. Following Oxley, cedar-getters penetrated the remote and inaccessible gorges followed by pioneer cattle grazers who braved the remote wilderness for a hundred years. Between 1893 and 1894 the first commercial hydro-electric scheme was constructed to power the town and gold mines of nearby Hillgrove. Today you can visit the remains of this historical site when you take a walk along the Threlfall Historic walk.

  • Threlfall walking track Threlfall walking track in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park takes in the spectacular Gara Gorge wilderness area, with scenic views and a chance to see the historic hydro-electric scheme.

Abundant wildlife

two brush tailed rock wallabies sitting on a rock. Photo: Piers Thomas/OEH

The varied plant communities of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park provide a home for over 350 animal species, including the largest confirmed population of brush-tailed rock wallabies. Even though there are roughly 10,000 of this endangered species in the park, you'll have to keep your eyes open to catch a glimpse of their bushy tail. The park also boasts over 173 bird species, including the majestic wedge-tailed eagle, peregrine falcon, square-tailed kite and sea eagle.

  • The Green Gully track Make a booking to experience fern-lined gullies, high elevation forests and wildlife along the Green Gully track. Stay in heritage huts for a break from this challenging multi-day hike.
  • Threlfall walking track Threlfall walking track in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park takes in the spectacular Gara Gorge wilderness area, with scenic views and a chance to see the historic hydro-electric scheme.

Ancient lands

Chandler view circuit walk, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The park contains some of the best examples of dry rainforest communities in Australia. When you are out exploring the wet and dry eucalypt forests, grassy woodlands and heathlands of the park, look for native olives, lacebarks, shiny-leaved and giant stinging trees, shatterwoods, scentless rosewoods and red kamalas.

  • Oxley Wild Rivers guided hiking adventures Explore one of Australia’s largest gorge systems on this multi-day guided trek with Primal Adventures. Experience lush gullies, waterfalls and stunning forests in World Heritage surrounds, near Armidale.

Jaw-dropping scenery

Wollomombi walk, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

With dramatic ridges and gorges, towering rock outcrops and beautiful rivers and waterfalls, there is something new around every corner and you'll be constantly amazed by the views. The sight of a majestic wedge-tailed eagle soaring high above the gorges looking for food is a truly spectacular sight to behold. Don't forget your camera, give yourself plenty of time and keep your eyes open.

  • Budds Mare lookout Enjoy a picnic lunch at Budds Mare lookout surrounded by World Heritage listed rainforest and looking out to spectacular views across the Apsley River.
  • The Green Gully track Make a booking to experience fern-lined gullies, high elevation forests and wildlife along the Green Gully track. Stay in heritage huts for a break from this challenging multi-day hike.
  • Tia Falls walk The short and easy Falls walk in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is great for children. It leads to spectacular views of Tia Falls and Gorge and the lookout picnic area.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

    The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

  • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

    The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

  • 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.

  • Tawny frogmouth. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

    Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. The ‘oom oom oom’ call of this native bird can be heard echoing throughout a range of habitats including heath, woodlands and urban areas.

  • Peron's tree frog. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Peron's tree frog (Litoria peroni)

    Peron’s tree frog is found right across NSW. These tree-climbing and ground-dwelling Australian animals can quickly change colour, ranging from pale green-grey by day, to a reddish brown with emerald green flecks at night. The male frog has a drill-like call, which has been described as a 'maniacal cackle’.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)