Copeland Tops State Conservation Area

Overview

In the foothills of Barrington Tops, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area offers rainforest walking tracks, picnic areas, birdwatching and guided tours at a historic mine that are great for school excursions.

Read more about Copeland Tops State Conservation Area

Two types of gold have been discovered within the New South Wales area now known as Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. The first was ‘red gold’, which was red cedar highly sought after by Australia’s European settlers. It was the early explorers who came to log along these mountain ridges who then discovered the shiny type, and goldmining took off too. Although conditions would have been tough back then in this rugged and remote area, you’ll discover that it’s actually a beautiful place to have worked in.

Copeland Tops, home to the most accessible tract of rare dry rainforest in the Gloucester district, is simply gorgeous. Hike along old logging tracks beneath a canopy of towering trees on one of the park’s scenic walking trails. There are plenty of great places to picnic. To learn more about the area’s mining heritage, join one of our Discovery tours of Mountain Maid gold mine.

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/copeland-tops-state-conservation-area/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Copeland Tops State Conservation Area.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Gloucester:

    • Follow Thunderbolts Way northwest out through the village of Barrington and over the single-lane bridge
    • Continue west on Barrington Tops Forest Road until you come to Copeland village
    • Turn left into Copeland Road and follow this road to the carpark at the end

    Park entry points

    Parking

    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 Copeland Tops State Conservation Area.

    Spring

    This season offers mild walking conditions as well as the chance to witness bird migration. For instance, the wompoo fruit-dove – Australia's largest fruit dove – migrates from lower elevations in winter to upland forests in the warmer months.

    Summer

    There's nothing like rainforest to keep you cool; it's always several degrees less beneath the protective canopy, so enjoy following the park's walking tracks and finding shady places to picnic during the hotter months. The park's raised elevation also contributes to these milder conditions.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    17°C and 26°C

    Highest recorded

    28°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    6.7°C and 14.5°C

    Lowest recorded

    7°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    February

    Driest month

    July

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    261.6mm

    Facilities

    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.

    Please be aware that because of past mining activity, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area contains deep mine shafts, holes and adits (entry points) with concealed entrances which may cause injury. To avoid any accidents, please be sure to stay within walking tracks and access roads whilst visiting the area.

    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

    Gloucester (18 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

    Dungog (80 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

    Taree (93 km)

    Taree is a major mid North Coast city, ringed by superb beaches. It's situated on the Manning River and set against rolling hills.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Copeland Tops State Conservation Area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Striking it rich

    Abandoned gold mine relics, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: Brent Mail

    It was the red cedar cutters who, battling to log 'red gold' in this unforgiving terrain from the early 1800s, first discovered gold here in 1875. The area soon became known as Copeland and over the next 60 years more than 50 gold mines were dug in the area. According to the records, over 1800kg of the valuable metal were extracted during that time. Many relics of this mining heritage remain in the form of historic sites and derelict equipment. However, the bushland and rainforest now dominate once again.

    • Basin loop track Basin loop track continues from Hidden Treasure track to form a longer walk with scenic views of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area via historic Old Copeland Road.
    • Hidden Treasure track Hidden Treasure track is a walking route through rainforest that takes in remnants of the area's mining heritage, including a historic boiler and disused mine entrance.
    • It's gold! This excursion experience has been updated and is now being delivered in line with the new NSW Department of Education Curriculum. We will be revising this excursion's name and information online soon. Contact your local national parks office for more information about the updated excursion.
    • Mountain Maid gold mine Guided tours through Mountain Maid gold mine are available for visitors to Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Walking tours start from Hidden Treasure picnic area.

    Land of plenty

    Rolling hills of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

    This is the traditional lands of the Worimi and Biripi people who live in the area and previously moved around in response to the seasonal availability of food. Such a broad ecosystem would have provided many resources for medicinal, ceremonial and cultural purposes. It is very likely that people travelling from the coast to Barrington Tops area would have passed through Copeland Tops. Their history will forever be an integral part of this landscape.

    From little things big things grow

    Wildflowers in bloom in Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

    From the delicate epiphytes, only one cell in width, to the gnarled sprawling branches of the ancient grey myrtles, each plant has its place within the ecosystem of the rare dry rainforest. The tract within Copeland Tops is the largest accessible section in the district of Gloucester. Take a walk through the green corridors overhung by strangler figs, shatterwood and grey myrtle. On the ground between mossy rocks and on the sides of trees grow birds nest ferns, staghorns, elkhorns and orchids. The rare stuttering frog is commonly heard around these parts, its call emitting from a preferred habitat of stream-side leaf litter. Its repetitive song is often joined by the screech of glossy black-cockatoos, the "wollack-wa-hoo" of the wompoo fruit-dove and the unpredictable calls of lyrebirds. At night, the masked, powerful and sooty owls come out to hunt and hoot.

    • Basin loop track Basin loop track continues from Hidden Treasure track to form a longer walk with scenic views of Copeland Tops State Conservation Area via historic Old Copeland Road.
    • Hidden Treasure track Hidden Treasure track is a walking route through rainforest that takes in remnants of the area's mining heritage, including a historic boiler and disused mine entrance.

    Education resources (1)

    School excursions (1)

    What we're doing

    Copeland Tops State Conservation Area 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.

    Basin Loop walking track, Copeland Tops State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer.