Barrington Tops National Park
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.
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
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.
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
- National Parks Contact Centre
- 7am to 7pm daily
- 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) for the cost of a local call within Australia excluding mobiles
- in Barrington Tops National Park in the North Coast and Country NSW regions
Barrington Tops National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
All the practical information you need to know about Thunderbolts lookout.
Getting there and parking
Get driving directions
Thunderbolts lookout is in the Polblue and Devils Hole precinct of Barrington Tops National Park. To get there:
- 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
- Take the Hunter Road from Scone
- Turn right on to Moonan Brook Road, then turn left on Barrington Tops Forest Road.
- The lookout is on the right 2km past Devils Hole.
- It is a short walk from the carpark to the lookout.
- Unsealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
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.
Take to the park's walking tracks to make the most of cooler and drier daytime weather.
Look out for ground orchids and other wildflowers along the Polblue Swamp walking track.
Look out for the eastern water dragon basking on rocks around the streams.
Maps and downloads
Thunderbolts lookout is in Barrington Tops National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
World Heritage-listed rainforests
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.
- 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.
An ancient landscape
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
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 Tops and beyond tag-a-long 4WD tour Get off the beaten track with As the Crow Flies 4WD Tours for an exciting tag-along adventure in Barrington Tops National Park, near Gloucester.
- 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 protected in this park
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 (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.
Bare-nosed wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
A large, squat marsupial, the Australian bare-nosed 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 (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.
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.
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.