Our travels took a different turn as we ventured into the wild side of campervan travels at Barringtop Tops National Park , part of Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, a world heritage listed rainforest! It was a completely different experience staying in the middle of nowhere in native bush, as opposed to the seaside family friendly campervan parks we had been staying at previously on this 2 month Australia Road Trip.
We had been following the coast since we left Narooma along the Sapphire Coast – a special place which we absolutely loved – and made our way to Sydney and onwards to Port Stephens which was another one of our favourite locations – can you tell yet that we are really loving our epic travels around Australia 🙂 Ashique and I had discussed leaving the coast every now and then and heading inland to visit some of the national parks such as Barrington Tops and Lamington National Park, and possibly a little bit into the outback. Being in our Britz campervan allows us that flexibility and freedom to make such detours as we pleased. The other thing we really like about travelling in a campervan is the wide range in accommodation from big brand name sites such as Big4 – with swimming pools and play areas – to smaller caravan sites run by the council, most with hot showers and laundry facilities, to free roadside overnight stay spots with basic toilets. We have done the whole spectrum of campervan accommodation!
We left Port Stephens where we had stayed at Halifax Caravan Park just across the beach, and headed for Gloucester River Campground located on the eastern side of Barrington Tops National Park, next to the Gloucester River. Barrington tops is located in the Hunter Valley, around 200 kilometres north of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. It is the largest temperate rainforests in mainland Australia and even though we got to explore a tiny part of it, I can highly recommend going here if you love wildlife and nature.
The drive to the campsite itself was stunning, passing through beautiful temperate rainforests and crossing several streams, first time we had to do that with our campervan! We saw red-necked pademelons hanging around the campervan site just before our one!
Why we love these campervan experiences that bring us so close to nature:
Collecting wood and building a fire -This is by far the kids favourite part of campervan travels and they have both learnt so much about starting a fire (which is a lot harder than it looks), collecting the right type of fire wood, keeping the fire going and best of all roasting marshmallows around the fire 🙂
We saw our first snake in Australia during this part of our trip! We saw a carpet snake, not too far from our campervan and once we found out that it was harmless, we all got super excited at seeing this beautiful creature basking in the sun. We also saw several brush turkies, kookaburra, heard owls during the night and lyrebirds during the day and creepy crawls which I tried my best to ignore when we used the compostable toilets in the middle of the forest.
Bush walk through the forest
We did a relatively short bush walk near the campervan site – Gloucester River Wallung Track 1 hour 15 minute return – where we heard the lyrebird making all kinds of sounds. They are famous for their superb ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. At one point during the hike we had to cross the stream which was quite deep in some places. The weather was cool which always helps when hiking with kids! As with all the previous national parks we had visited in Australia, we loved seeing and learning about the native vegetation, in particular the white gum trees.
Feeling of solitude and just getting away from it all!
We had no internet or phone reception for two days…and to be honest we were a little worried initially, not so much for us being alone in the middle of nowhere, but more so thinking of our family back home and just being worried (for no reason really.) But overall, it was really refreshing to get away from it all. We met two other travellers who were camping at the same site and that was about it for the 2 days! It was a fun bonding experience with the kids, cooking over the fire, Ashique and the kids trying their first kangaroo meat – Shahaar liked it a lot – and just being immersed in nature so fully. There were several places here you could go wild swimming as well but it was too cold to do so at this time of the year.
We left Barrington Tops National Park and started heading up north towards the coast again. As always, we wish we had more time to explore other parts of this stunningly beautiful national park but we have to head on towards Cairns. We have another 2.5 weeks left on our campervan journey and look forward to many more adventures ahead!