Gloucester Tops circuit

Barrington Tops National Park

Overview

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.

Where
Barrington Tops National Park
Distance
8km loop
Time suggested
3 - 5hrs
Grade
Grade 4
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • Check the weather before setting 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

Gloucester Tops circuit is an excellent option for a shorter day walk, and is a great walk to get a sense of the astonishing diversity within the Gloucester Tops area of Barrington Tops National Park.

Set out from Gloucester Falls picnic area along Gloucester Falls walking track. You’ll walk through open snow gum woodland to Andrew Laurie lookout, on the edge of the escarpment, and on to Gloucester Falls lookout. Join River walking track, and wander amid sub-alpine woodland. Look out for swamp wallabies and grey kangaroos along this walk. In summer, bluebells, rice flowers and billy buttons are an extra treat. You'll then meet, Antarctic Beech Forest walking track, which features cool temperate rainforest with the canopy of Antarctic beech towering above the tree ferns and damp carpet of moss on the forest floor.

As you walk each track together or individually, keep in mind that you are walking through part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. This landscape is millions of years old and plays a critical role in protecting rare and threatened species and sustaining vital resources.

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/walking-tracks/gloucester-tops-circuit/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Gloucester Tops circuit.

Track grading

Grade 4

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    3 - 5hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    8km loop

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough track, many obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Gloucester Tops circuit starts at Gloucester Falls picnic area is 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 Gloucester Tops picnic area
  • Turn left here and continue to Gloucester Falls picnic area

Alternatively, the circuit can also be started from:

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Gloucester Falls picnic area.

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.

Facilities

Parking, non-flush toilets and picnic tables are available at Gloucester Falls picnic area.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable. Heavy rain, cold weather and snow can occur at any time of year. Please ensure you're well-prepared for your visit.

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

If you’re bushwalking in this park it’s a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass, or a GPS.

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).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

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 (35 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 (37 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

Singleton (64 km)

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.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Gloucester Tops circuit 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.
  • 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 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

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)

Yellow flower. Phtoo:John Spencer