Situated just 30km east of the town of Coolah, the scenic Coolah Tops National Park occupies a high narrow isolated plateau concealing lofty stands of eucalyptus, tumbling waterfalls after rain, abundant wildlife and sub alpine vegetation varying form large Snow Gums to lush green ferns that carpet the forest floor.
Take the Pandora Road turnoff and follow in the 1823 footsteps of explorer and botanist Allan Cunningham who, when searching for a crossing over the Great Dividing Range to the Liverpool Plains, discovered a pass, that he named Pandora Pass after the mythical Pandora’s Box.
The rugged plateau is wedged between the Great Dividing and Warrumbungle Ranges and is surrounded by grazing country. At sub-alpine heights, the Park contains snow gums that grow tall and straight and reach heights unknown in other parts of the state.
The views from Pinnacle lookout are stunning and on a clear day you can easily see the Warrumbungles to the north west. If you are a keen birdwatcher, this is the place to spot a wedge-tailed eagle as it searches for its next meal.
Waterfalls are at Norfolk Creek, Bald Creek and Rocky Creek and are all easily accessible in fine weather. There are many hidden treasures in this natural wonderland. The polygonal basalt columns are evidence of the ancient violent upheaval that shaped the basalt plateau tipping to the west to the Liverpool Plains and the eastern extremity flowing into the Hunter Valley.
The history of the Coolah Tops lies in stories of old forestry camps and sawmilling operations of the 1940s, when timber was in demand for railway tracks and infrastructure. If you look closely, you can still find remnants and evidence of this today.
One of the most outstanding features in the Park is a cluster of towering ancient grass trees, some of the largest of their kind found anywhere in Australia. Walk amongst these gentle giants and feel like you’ve been transported back to pre-historic times.
Ideally situated for people who like to get off the beaten track, try some of its scenic drives (4WD tracks marked), year round walks, bush camping, mountain bike riding, or choose a spot for a picnic and relax in peaceful surroundings.
The Park, at approximately 12,000 hectares, contains plentiful wildlife including the largest population of Australia’s biggest possum, the Greater Glider, as well as kangaroos, frogs, snakes, wombats and over 120 species of birds.
See these links for more information on things to see and do in the Park:
If you are looking for a wonderful photo essay on Coolah Tops, see this page
Reach the park by heading east out of town on Vinegaroy Road, turn left on to Coolah Creek Road, then right onto State Forest Road which winds its way up the hill taking you to the park’s main entrance.