Upper Hunter Country

Upper Hunter Country

Attractions (6)

Thursday, 01 October 2015 00:00

National Parks fee increase announcement

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There will be an increase to entry and camping fees for NSW national parks.

The new fees will commence on 6 October 2015.

In the Upper Hunter NPWS reserves, this increase will affect camping fees at Washpools Camping Area in Towarri National Park, and a number of camping areas in Barrington Tops National Park and State Conservation Area.

The new camping fees for these sites are available on the NPWS website

Further information about the fee increases can be found at on the NPWS website at

National Parks Campsite Fees

Per night

Towarri National Park

• Washpools: $11.50 per adult & $6 per child

Barrington Tops National Park

• Black Swamp: Free

• Wombat Creek: Free

• Devils Hole: $6 per adult & $3.50 per child

• Gloucester River: $11.50 per adult & $6 per child

• Gummi Falls: $6 per adult & $3.50 per child

• Horse Swamp: $6 per adult & $3.50 per child

• Junction Pools: $6 per adult & $3.50 per child

• Little Murray: $6 per adult & $3.50 per child

• Polblue: $11.50 per adult & $ 6 per child

Visit Devil Ark for a Devils in the wild tour!

The tour is fully escorted and runs for 2.5 hours and starts off with a tour of the Devil Centre and the informational displays. The tour will then take on same devil enrichment; a special form of feeding which encourages wild behaviour, interaction with joeys born at Devil Ark earlier on in the year and a rare chance to become immersed in the devil's natural habitat by entering huge free range enclosures to witness wild devils in truly wild conditions.

Devil Ark is a 2 hour drive from Scone, 4 hours from Newcastle and 6 hours from Sydney. There is plenty of accommodation options in Scone and surrounding towns for you to spend a night or two.

Tour costs are $150 for adults and $100 for children (8-15 years). Tours are capped at 12 people.

Tour Dates:

Saturday 1 August 2015 10am

Saturday 5 September 2015 10am

Saturday 3 October 2015 10am

Saturday 7 November 2015 10am

Saturday 5 December 2015 10am

Saturday 2 January 2016 10am

Saturday 5 March 2016 10am

Saturday 2 April 2016 10am

Saturday 7 May 2016 10am

Saturday 11 June 2016 10am


Visit the Devil Ark wwebsite for more details and booking:

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Historical Highlights

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For those who delight in history, heritage abounds in the Upper Hunter. Discover the histories of the early settlers, the roaming bushrangers as well as the aboriginal tribes that wandered this lush countryside long before the arrival of white men.


  • Museums, old world charm and 19th century heritage sites tell the story of early life in Upper Hunter Country

  • Spend the night in a 19th Century homestead such a Belltrees, Kerrabee and Segenhoe Inn

  • Pay respect to the 12th Light Horse Regiment in Murrurundi

  • View old relics of yesteryear in the Historical Museums of Merriwa, Muswellbrook and Scone

  • Track the exploits of our own Australian Stock Horse in the memorabilia section of the Australian Stock Horse Society Head Office in Scone

  • Following the town walks will reveal many of the historic buildings dating back to the 1850's onwards that were built as the towns grew and and prospered. The whole village of Cassilis is heritage listed.


Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Leisure Pursuits

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Bike Hire

The very best way to explore Scone is by bike. The Scone Visitor Information Centre offers bike hire to visitors and locals who are keen to discover the town on two wheels. There are several loops to suit road cyclists from beginners through to seasoned professionals. Adults and children's bikes are available for hire 7 days a week. Pop into the centre or call (02) 6540 1300 for more information about hiring a bike.



Upper Hunter Country has many golf courses - one in each town almost. Muswellbrook has a fantatic 18 hole course and many of the motels in the area provide golf packages with accommodation included.

There are tennis courts and football fields so make sure you bring your sporting equipment along with you on your holiday so you can hire a tennis court or go down to the local football park for a fun game with friends.


Bush Walking

Bushwalkers will love Upper Hunter Country. Try these trails for some hiking adventures.

  • Burning Mountain Reserve - see the geological effects of the naturally burning coal seam.
  • Hike through Paradise Park and be rewarded with spectacular views overlooking Murrurundi.
  • The James Estate Ridge Walk showcases the natural beauty of the region overlooking Jame Estate Winery.
  • Visit Barrington Tops National Park has plenty of great bush walks, pick up at map at the Scone Visitor Centre.


Water Activities

Cool off in the waters of Lake Glenbawn. Boat ramps are available at the lake. Bring the power boat, sailboard or Jet Ski and enjoy a family day out.

Hire a canoe at Lake Glenbawn or bring your Kayak to use in the Hunter River or up in the streams of the Barrington Tops. Bring the Fishing gear – an abundance of fish is available at Lakes Glenbawn . You’ll find top Australian Bass, Golden Perch, Murray Cod, Trout and Catfish hiding in the depths of the waters.



There is plenty of fresh local produce for you to enjoy and buy. There are many places to purchase home made honey or jams. Maybe you would like to pick your own fresh fruit or olives from an assortment of orchids or taste some of the famous fetta belle cheese from Hunter Belle Cheese. There are many boutique restaurants available for a nice night out or you can drive along our farm gate trails to purchase some fresh produce.



There are no shortage of gift shops located in each town - small or large - for the visitor to browse. Muswellbrook major market places with well known stores, however, the littler towns scattered throughout the area have fantastic and interesting gift stores ranging from country gifts, antiques and artistic crafts. Murrurundi is well known for it's shops, galleries and eateries along Mayne St and is popular for weekend visitors to find hidden gems.



Upper Hunter Country is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. See Tasmanian Devils in Barrington Tops National Park at Devil Ark. Discover how Devil Ark is helping save the endangered Tassie Devil. Tours are held every weekend and need to booked well in advance to avoid disappointment. Surrounded by National Parks, it houses many threatened species including the Rufous Scrub Bird, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Davies Tree Frog, Yellow Bellied Glider and Hasting River Mouse. It is also home to kangaroo's, koala's, goanna's, wallabie's, echidna's and wombat's. Come and view all these amazing animals and enjoy a stay in the Upper Hunter Country.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Self Drive Tours

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Upper Hunter Country Self Drive ToursFour self drive touring routes, based around Murrurundi, Muswellbrook, Sandy Hollow & Scone, (but travelling through a number of other towns and villages) have been have been designed to let you explore the rich variety of delights that Upper Hunter Country has to offer you, no matter where you are staying in Upper Hunter Country.

Upper Hunter Country ia a big area.  It is approximately 18000 km2 of rich farming land, mountains and National Parks. There is magnificent scenery; many brooks and streams, starting in the surrounding ring of mountains, winding through their valleys into the Hunter River. Native flora and fauna abound in the many different ecosystems to be found throughout to region. Historic country towns, villages and hamlets are scattered throughout Upper Hunter Country.

Each Drive is outlined below.

An A3 copy of all drives and a map showing all 4 drives is available at all Upper Hunter Visitor Information Centres. You can also download a pdf file of the drive available at the end of each drives description below.


Drive 1

Scone - Gundy - Belltrees - Moonan Flat - Barrington Tops Circuit - Moonan flat - Belltrees - Scone

  • Barrington Tops National Park & World Heritage Wilderness Area  
  • Magnificent Forests       
  • Wildlife     
  • Spectacular Sweeping Vistas
  • Picturesque Rivers
  • Historic Homesteads 
  • Pastoral Views       
  • Horse Studs 
  • Tiny Hamlets 
  • Delightful Picnic Areas
  • Diverse Walks

210 Kms (104 kms gravel road, suitable for all vehicles)
Driving Time : 3.5 hours

Download PDF of complete drive

Note: In  winter, some roads within  Barrington Tops National Park maybe closed temporarily by snow. Check with Scone VIC, NPWS or  police if in doubt.


Drive 2

Murrurundi - Timor - Gundy - Scone - Towarri National Park - Wingen - Burning Mountain - Murrurundi

  • Historic rural towns, Villages and Homesteads  
  • Horse Studs    
  • Pastoral Scenery 
  • Picturesque river valleys
  • National Parks,  

  • Burning Mountain  

  • Wildlife (sightings possible along much of the drive)

136 Kms (30 kms gravel road, suitable for all vehicles)
Driving Time : 2 hours and 20 minutes

Download PDF of complete drive


Drive 3

Muswellbrook - Jerrys Plains - Denman - Wybong - Muswellbrook

  • Spectacular Scenery
  • Picturesque farming countryside
  • Historic country towns and villages
  • Open cut mines
  • Wineries      
  • Olive Grove
  • Fish Farm
  • Horse Studs

150 Kms (all the roads are sealed (blacktop) and all weather)
Driving Time : 1 hour and 50 minutes

Download PDF of complete drive


Drive 4

Sandy Hollow - Baerami - Wollemi & Goulburn River National Parks - Merriwa - Sandy Hollow

  • Spectacular scenery 
  • Sandstone Escarpments     
  • Goulburn River & Wollemi National Parks    
  • Wineries
  • Country Towns       
  • Rural Villages 
  • Wildlife sightings possible along much of the drive
  • Horse studs

150 kms (some 30km of gravel roads between Honeysuckle Creek picnic area and the Merriwa side of Goulburn River National Park, but suitable for all vehicles)
Driving Time : 3 hours

Download PDF of complete drive

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Walk the Walk

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It's time to explore your adventurous side... 20 great walks just perfect for everyone. Explore Upper Hunter Country by foot and take in magnificent scenery and historic buildings.  

1. Aberdeen Town Walk

Historic Aberdeen was one of the first settlements in the Upper Hunter Valley. By 1840 there was a mill and an inn near the banks of the river (both still exist today). By 1866 the town had a post office, a school, 3 inns, some shops, a mill and 2 churches. Today you can still see much of the earlier Aberdeen in a walk around the town. Plaques set in the footpaths and on the buildings identify these historic places from Aberdeen's past. Sixteen are listed in the brochure and map available at Visitor Information Centres.  
Class 1. Distance: Variable


2. Denman Town Walk

There are 41 different items of interest on this very interesting walk through the history of Denman. The walk is relatively flat, wandering through both residential and business sections of this classic country town….a town that has prospered despite drought, serious fires and floods bursting from the mighty Hunter River along its eastern boundary. A map and brief summary of the Walk is available at Denman Visitor Information Centre in Ogilvie Street. Phone: 65 47 2799 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Class 5. Distance: Variable


3. Merriwa Historical Town

Walk Early settlers in search of good grazing land arrived in the Merriwa district in the late 1820s. The first land sales of town lots were held on the 10th and 15th October 1840. The first church was built in 1850; the first school (private) in 1849; state 1850; the hospital in 1883; the railway line came to Merriwa in 1917 and electricity in 1937. Twenty-six points of historic interest and map can be obtained from the Merriwa Visitor Centre in Vennacher Street. Phone: 02 6548 2607
Class 5. Distance: Variable


4. Murrurundi Town Walk

Murrurundi Township was set out by the Government in 1840. Murrurundi Race Club and racecourse were formed during 1841 and the town’s first church, St Joseph’s Catholic Church, was built in that year. The first private school in this area was built in 1843 and the seventh national school in Australia was built in 1849. Murrurundi, in 1867, had a population of around 350 people. A number of its buildings are now listed by the National Trust. Twenty-six points of historic interest and map can be obtained from the Murrurundi Visitor Centre in Mayne Street. Phone: 02 6546 6466
Class 5. Distance: Variable


5. Muswellbrook Heritage Town Walk

This 4.5k walk throughout Muswellbrook CBD includes 40 different items of historical significance. You can start and stop at any point and pick up again at another time where you left off. Fine old buildings dating back to the mid-1800s, grand residences, community precincts – testimony to the good times and hard times; all of great importance to the development of Muswellbrook - Roads, Rail, Bureaucracy, Arts and Culture, Entertainment, Business and Community. A copy of the Muswellbrook Heritage Town Walk can be downloaded from the web or a copy can be obtained from Muswellbrook Visitor Information Centre 87 Hill Street Muswellbrook. Phone: (02) 65 414 050; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Web:
Class 5. Distance: Variable


6. Scone Town Walk

The town of Scone was laid out in 1837, in the area between the Kingdon Ponds and the Great North Road - now the New England Highway. Thirty-six points of historic interest and map can be obtained from the Scone Visitor Centre in Kelly Street (New England Highway) Phone: 02 6545 1526
Class 5. Distance: Variable


7. Burning Mountain (Wingen)

Start at Burning Mountain Rest Area carpark and follow a well-constructed track to the active vent. Panels along the track give information about the area, and there are conveniently placed seats to rest or look at the views. See the geological effects of the naturally burning coal seam and its effect on the local plant communities. The seam is currently burning 30 metres below the surface and moving south at just over one metre each year.
Class 3. Distance: 4.6k return


8. Careys Peak (Barrington Tops NP)

Carey's Peak is one of the highest points on the Barrington Tops plateau (1544m). It overlooks the Allyn River Valley and ranges of the Barrington wilderness that run to the south. The plains of the Hunter Valley and high peaks of the Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Area, and even the sand dunes on the coast north of Newcastle are visible on a clear day! The track is clearly marked. However, it is a serious walk because of the altitude, distance and risk of rain, snow, cold and fog. Start from Junction Pools on Barrington Trail. Vehicles can only drive to Junction Pools. Please note that Barrington Trail is seasonally closed to vehicles. To walk the extra distance along Barrington Trail, starting from the Barrington Tops Forest Road, add 16.5k, or 5 hours.
Class 4.
1. Junction Pools - Carey's Peak 8k; 2.5 hours one way
2. Forest Rd - Junction Pools 16.5k; 5 hours one way


9. Glants Leap (Sandy Hollow)

The imposing sandstone cliffs that form Giant's Leap, offer an exhilarating and rewarding climb. A return trip to the top takes 11/2 hrs or if you’re not feeling too energetic, a 10 min walk still gives fine views over the valley. The walk is not signposted but there are a number of trodden trails to follow. Keep the village of Sandy Hollow in your sights to keep your bearings. The summit has views to Mt Dangar, Goulburn River National Park, the Bylong Valley Way, vineyards, farmland and untouched woodland. The area is of significant interest because of it’s biodiversity and hence is frequented by nature lovers and adventurers.
Class 6. Distance: 2k


10. Honeysuckle Forest Trail (Barrington Tops NP)

From the Honeysuckle Day Use Area on the Barrington Tops Forest Road, this sheltered circuit walk loops through magnificent Antarctic Beech forest and thickets of soft tree fern. It's a special delight in the misty rain so common on the Tops. The abrupt boundary of the beech forest, which here hugs the moister southern slope of the plateau, is probably the result of bushfire burning up to its edge. The surrounding open forest has an understorey of tall mountain banksia, also called honeysuckle, hence the picnic area's name.
Class 2. Distance: 1k; 30mins


11. Lake Foreshores (Lake Glenbawn)

An easy walk in short sections, or kilometres, of waterfront hiking in natural bushland – the home of a host of kangaroos and birds of every size, tiny wrens, brilliant parrots of every colour and wedge tail eagles. Add some reasonably strenuous scrambles to surrounding hilltops to enjoy the vista of crystal clear lake waters that tumble down from the mile high Barrington Top. Take the fishing rod along – you might just hook a huge golden perch. Kiosk and toilet facilities on the eastern foreshore. Call at the Park office for more details Ph: (02) 65 43 7193 (refer also the Glenbawn Wall Walk).
Class 6. Distance: Variable


12. Lees Pinch (Goulburn River NP)

The Lees Pinch Lookout walking track is a well marked and constructed 500 metre loop with three lookouts providing extensive views over the rugged sandstone country of the park to the east and south. A second well-marked 800m loop walking track with three lookouts provides exhilarating, extensive views over the park.
Class 2. Distance: 1. 500m 2. 800m


13. Paradise Park - Eye of the Needle (Murrurundi)

The walk starts at a signboard at the far end of Paradise Park (on Paradise Rd, approximately 1k past Murrurundi Golf Club). It is a constant uphill climb, through a jumble of massive granite boulders and on into the ‘Eye of the Needle’, a deep narrow crack in the cliff, almost so tight you can barely turn around. Continue upwards where you can choose to head either left or right to a rocky outcrop, overlooking the town below.
Class 3-4. Distance: 2.5k; 1.5 hours


14. Phipps Cutting (Wollemi NP)

A well marked trail starts on the northern side of the picnic area and crosses the dry watercourse to climb up some steps onto the old coach road with its drystone walls. About 200m from the picnic area, a wooden bench overlooks the road and Goulburn River below, with the hills of Goulburn River National Park beyond. Walk several hundred metres further east above the River until the old road descends into the next valley where it leaves Wollemi National Park and enters a Travelling Stock Reserve, before rejoining the Bylong Valley Way.
Class 3 Distance: 1. 800m same track out and back to Phipps Lookout; or 2. 2k same track out to TSR and back to Phipps Lookout; no side tracks or alternative options.


15. Polblue Fall (Barrington Top NP)

A short walk through the bush from the Polblue Falls Picnic Area on Tubrabucca Road gives views of the cascades which run with pure clear water that forms some of the headwaters of the Hunter River. After heavy rain the Falls roar with extensive flows as they run off the Barrington Plateau to the valley below. You can also access the Falls from Horse Swamp Camping Area via a short 150m walk.
Class 3. Distance: 250m one way; return the same way


16. Polblue Swamp (Barrington Tops NP)

A circuit walk around the Polblue Swamp provides an enjoyable introduction to the wetlands and high altitude forests of the Barrington Tops Plateau. Start from either Polblue camping area or Polblue day use area on the Barrington Tops Forest Road and walk in either direction. A timber walkway across Polblue Creek connects the camping area to the picnic area. The track is narrow and soft underfoot, and often wet as it winds in and out of the forest to the edge of the swamp. Please keep to the track as the swamp edge is vulnerable to trampling. From the forest edge, grasses give way to a dense growth of sedges crowding the sphagnum moss of the swamp. You may see rare ground orchids along the track in spring and summer. This is a good walk for spotting grey kangaroos and perhaps a wombat - or certainly their square-shaped droppings!
Class 2. Distance: 2k; 1 hour


17. The Drip/Hands on Rock (Goulburn River)

Take the Ulan/Mudgee Rd 9km west of Cassilis on the Golden Highway
1. Hands on Rock - approx 18km from turn off turn, right at the sign - 400 metres to a clearing alongside large rock formations. Leave your car at the parking area and walk approximately 500 metres along the track to the overhanging rocks where you can see the stencilled hands painted by aborigines hundreds of years ago.
2. The Drip Picnic Area - 2.3 km further south on the Ulan Rd, just past the Goluburn River , turn left at small signpost. Leave the car. The single file track follows the river along the bottom side of the ridge that leads to The Drip with its fern covered rock formations and water dripping from the rock face, next to the Goulburn River. Hopping stones/blocks are in place through a few shallow gullies and overall the walk is fairly flat with shade patches. The walk is picturesque with rock formations developing the closer you get to The Drip.
Class 2. Distance: 1. 1k return; 2. 4km return


18. The Firs (Stewarts Brook SF)

The Walk starts at The Firs Picnic Area on Barrington Tops Forest Way. It leads through a 1960s trial planting of pine species including Radiata pine, Mexican pine, Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. The Firs has become a haven for lyrebirds who feed on insects found in the pine litter. This is an exotic, dark place with very little light reaching the forest floor, even on sunny days.
Class 2. Distance 250m; 20 mintues


19. Wash Pools (Towarri NP)

From the Washpools Picnic Area take the steps down to Middle Brook. Follow the edge of the creek upstream for about 250m until you come to a natural square-shaped cutting in the rocks. Sheep graziers used to wash their sheep here prior to shearing, hence the name. Take care as the rocks can get slippery if wet. The water is usually crystal clear and you can see little fish and tadpoles. There are a number of pools big enough to have a dip in hot weather and children always love splashing about in the shallow sections. A variety of birds can be heard as you walk along.
Class 3. Distance: 250m one; return the same way; 10 minutes


20. JAMES ESTATE RIDGE WALK Currently Closed

The Ridge Walk showcases the natural beauty of the region with commanding views in all directions, overlooking James Estate winery, Wollemi National Park, Goulburn River National Park and Mount Dangar. Try it in the early morning and you will be rewarded with an amazing sunrise and glistening landscape while the afternoon will see burst of colour contrasts across the view.
Class 3. Distance 1.5km return; 1.5 hours


Class 1: All access path with a hard, broad surface suitable for wheelchair access.
Class 2: Graded path (generally a hardened surface) suitable for inexperienced bushwalkers.
Class 3: Walking track suitable for inexperienced bushwalkers. May include steep slopes and unstable surfaces.
Class 4: Hiking track (unmodified surface, limited facilities) suitable for moderate skill level bushwalkers)
Class 5: Marked route
Class 6: Unmarked route