Vista Point picnic area
Mount Hyland Nature Reserve
For scenic views across spectacular wilderness, Vista Point picnic area offers birdwatching and World Heritage rainforest in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve, near Dorrigo.
- Picnic areas
- Mount Hyland Nature Reserve
- What to
- Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
- Please note
- The weather in the area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
- There is limited mobile reception in this park
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go bird watching
There’s no need to book ahead for this magnificent lunch spot with superb mountain views. Tucked away in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve, Vista Point picnic area boasts breathtaking scenic views across vast wilderness. Located between Dorrigo and Grafton, this wild and remote spot is a short detour off Chaelundi Road, ideal for those who love bushwalking and birdwatching, and nature-lovers on a 4WD tour.
Stop and inhale the pristine rainforest air and feel the tranquillity descend. As you unwrap your sandwiches, gaze across the million-dollar views of Chaelundi Wilderness to the incredible Gibraltar Range National Park over 70km away.
The crisp clear days of autumn and winter are perfect for taking in the 180-degree vista. Be sure to keep an eye on the sky as majestic wedge-tailed eagles are often seen surfing the updrafts near this sky-high picnic spot.
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/vista-point-picnic-area/local-alerts
- in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve in the North Coast region
Mount Hyland Nature Reserve 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 the Vista Point picnic area.
Getting there and parking
Vista Point picnic area is in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve. To get there:
- Turn off Armidale/Grafton Road at Dundurrabin
- Proceed along Sheepstation Road for 6.3km
- Turn left onto Chaelundi Road
- Vista Point turn-off is 10.5km along Chaelundi Road
- Turn off Armidale/Grafton Road at Hernani onto Marengo Road
- Proceed along Marengo Road for 11.4km
- Turn right onto Hardens Road and proceed for 12km
- Turn right onto Chaelundi Rd and proceed for 800m
Via Old Glen Innes/Grafton Road
- At Dalmorton, turn onto Chaelundi Road
- Proceed along Chaelundi Road for 46.5km
Check the weather before you set out as the road to Mount Hyland Nature Reserve can become boggy when it rains.
- Unsealed roads
- All roads require 4WD vehicle
- All weather
Parking is available at Vista Point picnic area.
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.
Walk to the top of the summit for spectacular views across world-class wilderness.
Take the binoculars for some excellent birdwatching as spring heralds the nesting season.
Escape the summer heat with a refreshing walk through temperate rainforest.
The crisp mornings are a great time for taking in the majestic views across the mountain ranges from the lookouts.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
13.8°C and 24°C
4.4°C and 16°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
- Drinking water is not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.
- You’re encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves, especially in summer during the fire season.
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - hard
- Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty.
Bellingen (51 km)
Bellingen is a laid-back, tree-lined town with a New Age vibe. It's set in a luxuriant valley beside the Bellinger River.
Dorrigo (41 km)
Dorrigo is a serene country town and the gateway to Dorrigo National Park. Its close to the edge of the escarpment above the Bellingen Valley.
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.
Vista Point picnic area is in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
Famous wildlife residents
One of the more famous animals that are protected within this isolated reserve is the Hastings River mouse. Once thought to be extinct in NSW, it was rediscovered in the early 1980s. Other threated animals found in the area include the long-nosed potoroo and spotted-tailed quoll. Another of the fascinating animals protected within this rainforest remnant is the threatened pouched frog. Only 2cm in length, the male frog has two pouches on either side, which are used to carry the baby tadpoles after they've hatched.
- Summit walking track A loop through World Heritage rainforest, Summit walking track offers spectacular scenic views, birdwatching and picnic opportunities in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve, near Dorrigo.
- Vista Point picnic area For scenic views across spectacular wilderness, Vista Point picnic area offers birdwatching and World Heritage rainforest in Mount Hyland Nature Reserve, near Dorrigo.
Mount Hyland Nature Reserve is located within the Traditional Lands of the Gumbaynggirr People. Aboriginal people in the area have a strong connection to their traditional lands and maintain connection through conservation and resource management. Sites of high cultural significance are located along the traditional walking routes between Boyd River and high country around the village of Ebor.
Mount Hyland was named after an early settler to the area who established a cattle station to the south of the mountain range. Hyland lived a basic existence in a slab shelter built from nearby stringybark trees. Although life was tough and he moved on, his name remains.
World Heritage rainforest
This unique patch of high altitude rainforest forms part of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. These cool temperate forests are only found at altitudes over 1,000m. Interestingly, Antarctic beech trees are absent from this patch of rainforest, possibly due to fire or drought.