Exploring Northern NSW is the perfect way to take a short break. This is especially true if you live in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast. From the Gold Coast a nice route to take is through the small village of Rathdowney and then on into NSW, popping out in Woodenbong. If you are looking for a great spot to stop on the way then Bigriggen Camp Ground is just a few k’s from Rathdowney.
A lovely spot to explore is Tooloom Falls. The falls are located in the Tooloom National Park which is just six kilometres south of Urbenville. What we found there was a fantastic camping area in a beautiful setting. The camp area itself was mostly flat and the road to it was good. It would be suitable for camper trailers (of course), tents or caravans. The campground has toilets but no showers. And of course the falls are just stunning.
BEAN CREEK FALLS
The two small villages of Old Bonalbo and Bonalbo are great little places located on the edge of the Richmond National Park. Along the way we spotted a sign to Bean Creek Falls Reserve so a quick u-turn was made and again we discovered an amazing waterfall tucked down in the bush. There was a little flat area there where we could have easily set up camp for the night if we had wanted to. It was one of those little hidden spots that you really need to keep an eye out for when travelling.
PEACOCK CREEK RESERVE
We chose to camp at Peacock Creek Reserve in the Richmond Range National Park. It was an awesome spot to camp. We found a lovely flat camp area beside the creek. Fires are allowed in the constructed BBQ/fireplaces. There were long-drop toilets there as well.
The park charges $6.00 per night (in 2012), per adult. Bookings must now be made on line. As it is a National Park pets are not allowed and you cannot collect any firewood. There are also no bins provided so you will need to take all your rubbish with you.
A word of caution – the road in is an unsealed gravel road but it was in good condition. A car would be able to negotiate it easily in the dry but in the wet it may well be a different story. Check with the National Parks and Wildlife Service first if in doubt. If you do not have a 4WD I would advise that you go back out the same way you come in as the other roads out are steep, windy and narrow.
Leaving our camp spot we decided to take the road less travelled and headed down Iron Pot Creek Road towards Toonumbar Dam. Iron Pot Creek Road is definitely suitable only for 4WD vehicles as it was single lane all the way.
There were limited spots where you could pull over to allow another vehicle to pass. We only encountered one other vehicle and we were able to pass each other safely without the need for either of us to reverse. The scenery along the way was really beautiful and well worth the drive.
Toonumbar Dam is an ideal spot to camp, fish or kayak. There are also cabins and a conference centre there. The camp area at Bells Bay has only smallish sites and some weren’t level so may not be suitable for larger camp trailers.
However there were several camp spots set up on the opposite side of the dam which were large, flat and grassy. There were also plenty of picnic spots with tables and BBQ’s. There is even a small Golf Course there!
There is so much to see when exploring northern NSW and from there you can branch out and explore some other great areas like Tenterfield and then cross back into Queensland to the beautiful Stanthorpe.