Thunderbolts lookout

Barrington Tops National Park

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Overview

The short and easy walking track to Thunderbolts lookout offers scenic mountain views across the plateau region of Barrington Tops National Park wilderness, between Scone and Gloucester.

Type
Lookouts
Where
Barrington Tops National Park
Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • Take extra care with small children near the lookout guard rail
  • Check the weather before you set out as the road to Thunderbolts lookout can be affected by snow and ice
  • Toilets and picnic facilities area located at nearby Devils Hole and Honeysuckle picnic areas

Once a popular spot for bushrangers, it’s now visitors to Barrington Tops National Park who benefit from magnificent views at Thunderbolts lookout, near Scone. This short and easy walk will delight the senses as you gaze across World Heritage Barrington wilderness. It’s a perfect introduction to the unique delights of the plateau country, on a car touring day trip or camping holiday.

Passing through a majestic stand of Antarctic beech trees, where moss carpets the forest floor, look for delicate orchids high in the branches as you make your way to the lookout. Soak in the spectacular vista of the deep valley leading to Moppy River below and Mount Carson beyond. Wedge-tailed eagles often circle in the skies above, looking for prey.

When you’re ready for a bite, head to Honeysuckle picnic area for a leisurely lunch. If you’re hankering for a night under the stars, try nearby Devils Hole campground and picnic area.

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/thunderbolts-lookout-attraction/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Thunderbolts lookout.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Thunderbolts lookout is in the Polblue and Devils Hole precinct of Barrington Tops National Park. To get there:

    • From Gloucester take Thunderbolts Way; this road becomes Scone Road and Barrington Tops Forest Road.
    • The lookout is located on the left after passing Honeysuckle picnic area
    • It is a short walk from the carpark to the lookout

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Unsealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    Parking is available at Thunderbolts lookout.

    Best times to visit

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

    Autumn

    Take to the park's walking tracks to make the most of cooler and drier daytime weather.

    Spring

    Look out for ground orchids and other wildflowers along the Polblue Swamp walking track.

    Summer

    Look out for the eastern water dragon basking on rocks around the streams.

    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).

    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

    Dungog (43 km)

    Dungog is a country town with character, backed by magnificent rolling hills, national parks and state forests. It's in the heart of dairy and beef cattle country.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Gloucester (42 km)

    Famous for gold deposits and the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt, Gloucester is located in the north Hunter region, east of Barrington Tops. The nearby state forests and national parks are ideal for walking, camping and outdoor adventure sports.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Murrurundi (73 km)

    Murrurundi has remained faithful to its pastoral roots and enjoys a fine legacy of historic houses and public buildings. In fact, the National Trust has declared the main street of Murrurundi an Urban Con servation Area. Today, you can explore the history of Murrurundi on a heritage walk that takes in churches, hotels and the original telegraph office.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Thunderbolts lookout is in Barrington Tops National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    World Heritage-listed rainforests

    Rocky crossing, Barrington Tops National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    The rainforests in Barrington Tops National Park are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area; the most extensive strip of diverse rainforest anywhere on earth. The World Heritage Area is a direct window into the past and the future, providing a link to the ancient pre-human world and a stunning and irreplaceable record of life on our planet. You can explore the rainforest on one of the park's many walking tracks, like the Honeysuckle Forest track, the Rocky Crossing walk or the Antarctic Beech Forest track. Listen out for the lyrebird whose mimicking calls ring out through the rainforest.

    • Antarctic Beech Forest walking track Antarctic Beech Forest walking track offers rainforest, cascades, scenic views, and birdwatching in Barrington Tops National Park, near Gloucester.
    • Best of Barrington Tops guided tours Explore Gondwana rainforests and see beautiful waterfalls on this tour with Barrington Outdoor Adventure Centre. With your experienced driver and guide, travel by 4WD to take in all the highlights of Barrington Tops National Park.
    • Careys Peak walking track Easy Careys Peak walking track offers picnicking, scenic views, birdwatching, and historic heritage in the sub-alpine region of Barrington National Park, near Scone.
    • Cobark Park picnic area Take a break at Cobark Park picnic area to plan your adventures in the plateau region of Barrington Tops National Park—1 hour from Gloucester.
    • Polblue Falls walk Polblue Falls walk sits on the plateau of World Heritage-listed Barrington Tops National Park, between Scone and Gloucester. It’s a short walk that offers views of the largest waterfall in the park.

    An ancient landscape

    Thunderbolts lookout, Barrington Tops National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Barrington Tops National Park and the adjoining State Conservation Area are the traditional land of several Aboriginal groups, including the Worimi and Biripi people, the Gringai clan of the Worimi people and Wonnarua people. The rainforests of Barrington Tops offered a wealth of resources for Aboriginal people, including many edible fruits, like the native cherry, lilly pilly and figs. Today, the history of Aboriginal people in Barrington Tops is recorded in oral history and in the presence of Aboriginal sites. Barrington Tops National Park protects ancient campsites, scarred trees and sacred ceremonial places.

    A dramatic wilderness

    Barrington Tops National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Most of Barrington Tops National Park is declared wilderness; large, natural areas of land that, together with their native plants and animal communities, remain essentially unchanged by modern human activity. Wilderness areas in NSW represent the largest, most pristine natural areas within NSW - the last of Australia's wild and untamed places. The edges of the wilderness area of Barrington Tops are easily accessible; some of the most spectacular views in the park are from Careys Peak and Devils Hole and Thunderbolts lookouts. You'll notice the varied textures of the forest below you, with the ranges of the Barrington Wilderness running east and south from the plateau like the fingers of an outstretched hand.

    • Barrington and Myall Lakes 4WD camping tour Embrace new challenges and explore stunning mountain and coastal scenery around Barrington Tops and Myall Lakes national parks with the safe and professional staff of Great Divide Tours.  
    • Barrington trail Take the challenge of the Barrington trail, a 4WD trail in Barrington Tops National Park. Open between October and May every year, plan your 4WD camping holiday now.
    • Gloucester Tops circuit Walk through snow gum woodland and ancient rainforest to lookouts and waterfalls, along the Gloucester Tops circuit. This 8km loop combines 3 popular and scenic walks in Barrington Tops National Park.
    • Majestic Barrington mountain bike tours Enjoy spectacular scenery as you cycle through Barrington Tops National Park and beyond on this supported mountain bike tour with Aussie Bike or Hike, near Gloucester.
    • Rocky Crossing walk Rocky Crossing walk along Williams River offers scenic rainforest views, wildlife and birdwatching on a long easy track in Barrington Tops National Park, near Dungog.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

      With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

    • 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.

    • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

      A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

    • Australian brush turkey, Dorrigo National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

      Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami)

      The Australian brush turkey, also known as bush or scrub turkey, can be found in rainforests along eastern NSW. With a striking red head, blue-black plumage and booming call, these distinctive Australian birds are easy to spot while bird watching in several NSW national parks.

    • 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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    View from Thunderbolt's lookout, Barrington Tops National Park. Photo: Hamilton Lund