Antarctic Beech Forest walking track
Barrington Tops National Park
Antarctic Beech Forest walking track offers rainforest, cascades, scenic views, and birdwatching in Barrington Tops National Park, near Gloucester.
- Barrington Tops National Park
- 2.5km loop
- Time suggested
- 1hr - 1hr 30min
- Grade 3
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
- Please note
- Check the weather before you set out as the road to Gloucester River and Gloucester Tops may be inaccessible during wet weather.
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch.
Step through a portal into the other-worldly charms of Antarctic Beech Forest walking track near Gloucester Tops in Barrington Tops National Park. You’ll wander the lush landscape of the prehistoric Gondwana era on this medium walk near Gloucester, offering some spectacular birdwatching and scenic views.
Forming part of Gloucester Tops circuit, this medium track leads through airy sub-alpine woodlands of snow gums, before entering the shaded world of cool, temperate rainforest. The dense canopy of Antarctic beech is high above, vibrant moss carpets the ground, and the sharp smell of humus fills the air. Tree ferns crowd the track leading to some delightful, mossy cascades.
Dipping between forests of beech and eucalypt, this section is a favourite haunt of the rufous scrub-bird, one of Australia's rarest birds. Descending into a rocky gorge you’ll see wild white water crashing over dramatic black rocks. After a steep climb out, you’ll be ready to enjoy a bite at Gloucester Tops picnic area or Gloucester Falls picnic area.
Take a virtual tour of Antarctic Beech Forest walking track captured with Google Street View Trekker.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/antarctic-beech-forest-walking-track/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
- 02 9585 6831
- 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 Antarctic Beech Forest walking track.
Grade 3Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
1hr - 1hr 30min
Quality of markings
Clearly sign posted
Short steep hills
Quality of path
Formed track, some obstacles
Some bushwalking experience recommended
Getting there and parking
Antarctic Beech Forest walking track starts at Antarctic Beech Forest carpark in the Gloucester Tops precinct of Barrington Tops National Park. To get there:
- From Bucketts Way, between Gloucester and Stroud.
- Turn into Gloucester Tops Road and continue to Gloucester River
- Continue past the river for approximately 40 minutes
- Take the left fork to Antarctic Beech Forest carpark
- Unsealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Parking is available opposite the track head, at Antarctic Beech Forest carpark.
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.
Non-flush toilets and picnic tables are available nearby at Gloucester Falls picnic area.
Maps and downloads
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.
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.
Just north of Singleton, at the foot of the Mount Royal Range, Lake St Clair makes a great nature lover's playground. Whether it's swimming, sailing, waterskiing, camping, fishing or picnicking you're after, you'll find it here.
Antarctic Beech Forest walking track 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.
- 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
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 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.
- 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
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.
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 (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.