Carrai National Park

Overview

Carrai National Park is located on a granite plateau off the North Coast of New South Wales, offering bushwalking, mountain biking, 4WD touring and camping for self-reliant campers.

Read more about Carrai National Park

Inland from Kempsey, Carrai National Park protects vast tracts of eucalypt groves and subtropical rainforest on Carrai plateau, a huge granite area with steep escarpments that drop dramatically to Kunderang Brook and Macleay River.

For those with a sense of adventure, a 4WD, and some good camping gear, this part of the New England Tablelands offers an excellent opportunity to get back to the bush; very little infrastructure exists in the park’s 11,397ha. Some basic huts offer shelter at Daisy Plains, and rough tracks traverse the thick forest. One of them is the only access to Marys View lookout in neighbouring Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, and all are great for mountain bikers.

Experienced bushwalkers can trek out through the forest and enjoy jaw-dropping views across the Macleay River valley. Keep your eyes peeled too, because Carrai is home to more than 125 different species of animals, from the endangered Hastings Rivers mouse to native carnivores such as quolls and dingoes. For those with good eyes and a pair of binoculars, several vulnerable species of owls and bats also live in the park.

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/visit-a-park/parks/carrai-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Carrai National Park.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Armidale, head to Walcha and take the Oxley Highway to Kangaroo Flat Road. Follow the signs to Werrikimbe National Park, then take the Racecourse Trail through to Coachwood Road to Kookaburra, then Carrai Road.

    Park entry points

    By bike

    Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

    By public transport

    For information about public transport options, visit the NSW country transport info website.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Carrai National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    During April, the days are still warm and there should be little rain which is perfect for 4WDing.

    Spring

    The eucalypts and other forest trees flower in spring, tempting foraging birds.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    16°C and 29°C

    Highest recorded

    35°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    6°C and 20°C

    Lowest recorded

    –5.1°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    January

    Driest month

    July

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    234.6mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    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).

    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

    Kempsey (100 km)

    Kempsey is a historic river town close to national parks and majestic beaches. Kempsey is a convenient place for an overnight stop for anyone driving between Sydney and the North Coast.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Armidale (200 km)

    During autumn the parks and gardens around Armidale show their beautiful colours. Enjoy a drive along the Waterfall Way, stopping at waterfalls and craggy gorges in the rugged countryside.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Carrai National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Traditional lands of Thunggutti People

    The view from Carrai National Park over the upper Macleay Valley. Photo: Piers Thomas/OEH

    The Carrai plateau is a special place for the Thunggutti People, with many ceremonial sites that have their origins in the dreamtime. It's believed that Aboriginal people moved from the coastal hinterlands to the New England Tablelands, including parts of what is now Carrai National Park, during the summer months. In the early to mid-1800s, the rugged country at the head of Macleay River also provided refuge for many Aboriginal people.

    Protecting Carrai's wilderness

    Rock outcrop in Carrai National Park. Photo: Piers Thomas/OEH

    An area of 3,530ha within Carrai National Park has been declared wilderness under the Wilderness Act 1987. Although much of Carrai's forested area has been affected in some way by human habitation - logging and grazing, for example - it's now protected, allowing it to recover. There are three old-growth forest ecosystems in the park, including groves of white mahogany, dry redgum, bloodwood, native apple, and tallowwood. Look for the endangered Guthrie's grevillea, with its green and maroon flowers, as well as epiphytic orchids attached to the trunks of trees.

    A safe haven for native animals

    Hastings River mouse (Pseudomys oralis), Carrai National Park. Photo: OEH

    Maintaining vast tracts of remote forest, like those at Carrai, is essential for protecting biodiversity and keeping the populations of native animals at high levels. Carrai is known to harbour endangered species like the Hastings River mouse, a rodent that likes damp habitats, and the giant barred frog, which grows to a size of about 12cm and lays its eggs on banks overhanging rivers. Listen for its deep grunt when you stop by a creek.

    From the 1800s

    Daisy Plains Huts, an old forestry camp on Carrai Road, Carrai National Park. Photo: Shane Ruming/OEH

    In many ways, Carrai’s remote location has protected it from extensive grazing and mining. In 1818, John Oxley was the first European to visit the New England Tablelands, closely followed by cedar loggers. Graziers eventually moved their stock up river valleys onto the tablelands. Both tin and gold were mined in the area until the 1960s, and forestry ceased in the early 90s.

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Carrai National Park has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents.

    4WD, Carrai National Park. Photo: Piers Thomas/NSW Government