Coachwood picnic area
Washpool National Park
Enjoy a picnic surrounded by rainforest at Coachwood picnic area in Washpool National Park. It’s also the starting point for the Coombadjha nature stroll, a short walk.
- Picnic areas
- Washpool National Park
- Entry fees
- Park entry fees apply
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
- Please note
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch.
Coachwood picnic area is a scenic retreat in a rainforest clearing near the Coombadjha creek. Pack a picnic hamper and settle in with the sounds of the forest as your lunchtime soundtrack.
When the gourmet goodies have been devoured, why not savour the sensory treats of the Coombadjha nature stroll, which starts at the picnic area? This short walk through World Heritage-listed rainforest will lead you to a viewing platform and a shallow pool perfect for a splash on a warm day.
There’s also an information display at the picnic area and explanatory signs along the walking track offering insights into this pristine world.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/picnic-areas/coachwood-picnic-area/local-alerts
- in Washpool National Park in the North Coast and Country NSW regions
Washpool National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
Park entry fees:
$8 per vehicle per day applies only at attractions in the Glen Innes area. The park uses a self-registration fee collection system. Please bring the correct change and display your receipt.Buy annual pass.
All the practical information you need to know about the Coachwood picnic area.
Getting there and parking
Washpool National Park is located off the Gwydir Highway between Grafton and Glen Innes. To get to Coachwood Picnic Area:
- Take the Gwydir Highway from Glen Innes or Grafton
- Take the Coachwood Drive turnoff and follow to Coachwood picnic area
- Unsealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Parking is available at Coachwood picnic area
Best times to visit
Washpool National Park offers an exceptional visit all year round. You're sure to find a walk, tour, activity or attraction to appeal, regardless of the season. Here are some of the highlights.
Autumn offers good weather for exploring the park during the day and is cool enough during the evenings to sit by the campfire.
Mid-spring is a fantastic time to head out on the inspiring World Heritage walk. The temperature is perfect and the heathlands, swamps and woodlands erupt in a colourful display of wildflowers including the striking Gibraltar waratah.
Enjoy the shade of the rainforest with a picnic and walk, and then cool off with a dip in Coombajdha creek's natural pool.
The coldest time of the year means that you may likely have the park to yourself – enjoy the solitude.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
14°C and 26°C
2°C and 15°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
Water is available from the creek – however, you’ll need to boil or treat it before drinking.
- Non-flush toilets
- Gas/electric barbecues (free)
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - medium
Assistance may be required to access this area.
Glen Innes (64 km)
Set in the most prolific sapphire region of Country NSW, Glen Innes hosts the annual Minerama Fossicking and Gem Show and the annual Australian Celtic Festival, and is home to the Australian Standing Stones.
Grafton (65 km)
Grafton is a gracious, historic city in the Clarence Valley farming district. It's situated on the broad Clarence River and surrounded by river flats.
Tenterfield (51 km)
Sir Henry Parkes delivered his famous "birth of our nation" speech in the Tenterfield School of Arts in 1889. His rousing speech is credited with being the decisive moment that set the country on its path toward Federation in 1901.
Coachwood picnic area is in Washpool National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
An important legacy
Washpool National Park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, which includes forty parks and reserves stretching along the Great Escarpment from Barrington Tops in NSW to south east Queensland. The area has a long history of selective logging, dating back to the 1800s when the valuable red cedar trees drew timber cutters with bullocks, axes and crosscut saws. With the development of machinery, the increasing pressure to exploit these forests met strong protest action from conservation groups. Ultimately, the park was created in 1983 after a study found the area contained significant plant and animal populations that either weren't found anywhere else in the state or were not well protected in reserves.
The Bundjalung, Ngarrabul and Gumbaingirri people have a long connection with the lands here; the area was once used as a route between the coast and the tablelands, and as a place to gather a range of resources, such as rainforest fruits.
A huge range of threatened and endangered species enjoy the sanctuary of Washpool's diverse habitats. It's a refuge for mammals including koalas, spotted-tailed quolls, parma wallabies and long-nosed potoroos. Washpool and Gibraltar Range National Park are also brimming with birdlife. Look out for the rare rufous scrub bird in the rainforest undergrowth and, if you're extra vigilant, the even rarer powerful owl, which inhabits the hollows of trees in tall open forest. One of the most intriguing of the Washpool's residents is the pouched frog, a rainforest-dependent species whose male rears young tadpoles in pouches on his flanks.
- Coombadjha nature stroll Coombadjha nature stroll in Washpool National Park is a short yet inspiring walk through World Heritage listed rainforest, with a delightful swimming spot at the end.
Lush rainforest, tinkling streams, dramatic gorges and an impressive plateau environment at just over the edge of the Great Escarpment make Washpool a singularly spectacular walking destination. Stretch your legs on an expansive network of graded walking tracks, including the popular World Heritage walk (which links Gibraltar Range and Washpool National Parks) and part of the Bicentennial National trail. Nature strolls and the half-day Washpool walk commence from the creekside Coombadjha campground and take you on a meander through the lost world of the surrounding rainforest.
- Carrai and Coachwood trails Carrai and Coachwood trails combines 2 remote 4WD adventures in Carrai National Park and Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, between Kempsey and Armidale.
- Coachwood picnic area Enjoy a picnic surrounded by rainforest at Coachwood picnic area in Washpool National Park. It’s also the starting point for the Coombadjha nature stroll, a short walk.
- Granite picnic area Enjoy a picnic at Granite picnic area in Washpool National Park. Stretch your legs on an easy walk to Granite lookout for views over the World Heritage-listed landscape.
Plants and animals you may see
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 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.
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.
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.
Black sheoak (Allocasuarina littoralis)
The black sheoak is one of a number of casuarina species found across the east coast of Australia and nearby tablelands. Growing to a height of 5-15m, these hardy Australian native plants can survive in poor or sandy soils. The barrel-shaped cone of the black sheoak grows to 10-30mm long.