Tommys Rock lookout and walking track

Mann River Nature Reserve

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Tommys Rock walking track offers scenic mountain views across the Great Dividing Ranges in Mann River Nature Reserve. You can choose to walk or 4WD along the trail to the summit.

Where
Mann River Nature Reserve
Distance
8km return
Time suggested
3hrs 30min - 4hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 5
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • If driving the trail, 4WD is essential due to steep rollovers and rugged terrain. Not suitable for trailers
  • 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

For unending scenic wilderness views over The Great Dividing Range, head for Tommys Rock lookout and walking track, in beautiful Mann River Nature Reserve, near Glen Innes. The imposing rocky knob is a short drive from Mann River campground and picnic area. Fit bushwalkers will love the challenge of the steep walking track to the summit. Whichever way you get there, the crisp mountain air and panoramic views will take your breath away.

Named after Tommy McPherson, a remarkable Aboriginal man who, legend suggests, was a skilled stockman, bushranger, escaped fugitive and gold digger. If you’re walking the steep track, pause to catch your breath and keep your eyes peeled for signs of Tommy’s secret gold mine.

Brush-tailed rock wallabies, with their distinct cheek stripe, live around the rocks near the lookout. You might also hear the raucous glossy black cockatoos feasting on the nearby she-oaks.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


Map legend

Map legend

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/tommys-rock-lookout-and-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Tommys Rock lookout and walking track.

Track grading

Grade 5

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

    3hrs 30min - 4hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    No directional signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    8km return

  • Steps

    No steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Tommys Rock lookout and walking track is in Mann River Nature Reserve. To get there:

    • Drive west of Grafton along Gwydir Highway for 125km or east from Glen Innes for 37km
    • Take the unsealed Old Grafton Road and drive for approximately 2km before descending 14km on sealed road to the base of Big Hill
    • Driving past Mann River campground continue along Old Grafton Road for about 6km
    • Park at the bottom of the track if you intend to take the steep 9km round trip, alternatively drive 4.5km to the lookout carpark.

    Road quality

    Check the weather before you set out as the road to Tommys Rock lookout can become boggy when it rains.

    Parking

    Parking is available at Tommy’s lookout carpark or along the road near the start of the walking track.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Mann River Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    A great time for bushwalking, birdwatching and photography.

    Spring

    A great time for birdwatching and bushwalking.

    Summer

    Enjoy fishing and swimming the majestic Mann River.

    Winter

    Winter is best for crisp, clear skies and excellent stargazing.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    12°C and 25°C

    Highest recorded

    34.5°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    0.7°C and 14°C

    Lowest recorded

    -8.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    December

    Driest month

    April

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    140mm

    Facilities

    • Drinking water is limited or 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

    Safety messages

    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.

    This park or attraction is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well-prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.

    The walking opportunities in this park are suitable for experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable undertaking self-reliant hiking

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus 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).

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dogs and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    Tommys Rock lookout and walking track is in Mann River Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Aboriginal gatherings

    Mann River Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    Due to its location at the bottom of the range leading to the coast, the reserve would have been a popular place for the Ngarabul People of the northern tablelands as well as the Gumbaynggir People to the south-east. It's believed the Ngarabul People travelled the mountains on a historic route that is known today as Old Grafton Road.

    • Tommys Rock lookout and walking track Tommys Rock walking track offers scenic mountain views across the Great Dividing Ranges in Mann River Nature Reserve. You can choose to walk or 4WD along the trail to the summit.

    Historic highways and bushranging country

    View of Mann River Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    With the discovery of gold and a regular Cobb and Co mail run, the lands of the reserve were once popular hunting grounds of renowned bushrangers such as 'Captain Thunderbolt' and 'Black Tommy' McPherson. Bordering the eastern edge of the reserve, Old Grafton Road was originally a timber getters track used to cart the valuable 'red gold' cedar trees in the 1840s. When the road was widened during the 1860s, Cobb and Co ran a weekly mail service along this road, linking Grafton and Glen Innes.

    • Tommys Rock lookout and walking track Tommys Rock walking track offers scenic mountain views across the Great Dividing Ranges in Mann River Nature Reserve. You can choose to walk or 4WD along the trail to the summit.

    Roving reptiles and birdlife

    Golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Mann River Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    This reserve protects a wide range of lizards from the mighty lace monitor, reaching up to 2m in length to the more diminutive blue-tongue lizard. Eastern water dragons are often seen sunning themselves on the riverbanks. With over 50 species of birdlife protected within the reserve, grab your binoculars for sightings of king parrots, yellow-faced honey-eaters and yellow-rumped thornbills. The magnificent raptor birds such as the peregrine falcon can often be seen surfing on mountain thermals. Native mammals you can see include grey kangaroos, wallaroos, pretty-faced wallabies and swamp wallabies.

    • Tommys Rock lookout and walking track Tommys Rock walking track offers scenic mountain views across the Great Dividing Ranges in Mann River Nature Reserve. You can choose to walk or 4WD along the trail to the summit.

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