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bushwalking Bushwalking Index

bushwalking The walk from Boundary Creek to Grassy Creek via Duffers Falls and the Haystack

bushwalking The walk from Mulligans Hut to Boundary Creek via Surveyors Creek and Dandahra Crags

Grassy Creek to Mulligans Hut, World Heritage Walk, Gibraltar Range - Washpool National Park



A one hundred kilometre network of walking tracks forms the Gibraltar - Washpool World Heritage Walk. The route links the Gibraltar Range and Washpool National Parks in rugged mountainous country, high above the Clarence Valley on the edge of the Northern Tablelands. Dramatic and diverse changes in the landscape are typical along the walk. Dry eucalypt sclerophyll forests, set amidst a broken collection of ridges and granite tors, surround a mosaic of sub-alpine swamps. In more dense country, lush rainforests safeguard the largest area of coachwood in the world. Within these ancient pockets of wilderness, waterfalls plummet from a lacework of streams and wild rivers. They offer refuge to a rich variety of wildlife including many rare and endangered species. In spring and summer the heathlands, swamps and open woodlands erupt in a colourful display of wildflowers.

Text above: 'A Walk on the Edge of Wilderness, The Gibraltar - Washpool World Heritage Walk', free booklet from NPWS.

heritage walk

This is a great map from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), showing the entire circuit. You can pick one up free from the Glen Innes NPWS office, as well as an excellent free booklet on the walks of the circuit, 'A Walk on the Edge of Wilderness, The Gibraltar - Washpool World Heritage Walk'. This booklet contains detailed track notes as well as flora and fauna lists.

I got the 1:25 000 topographic maps, but they are almost too detailed. I found this map to be all I needed to complete the entire circuit, and left the topo maps in the car. The track is very well signposted, with occasional 'You are here' maps on display boards.

This whole World Heritage Walk has been superbly set up, it is a credit to all concerned. The complete circuit without side trips is about 60 km, and can be done in three days if you are fit and well prepared, though the track notes recommend five days to allow for extended side trips. The tracks are excellent.

Here is the map as a pdf, which should print on one page from the free program Adobe Reader:

Map as a pdf for printing

Photo: Free handout from NPWS.




world heritage walk

Grassy Creek, looking ahead to the track to O'Hara's Pass and Mulligans Hut.

It is a beautiful little stream, and there are campsites nearby, as well as a picnic table.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Grassy Creek Mining Relics track.

At the end of the track stay close to the fence line on the left to the top of the rise and walk down through the clearing. A boiler and the remains of a stamping battery of an unusual circular design used for crushing ore, are rust-covered reminders of bygone days. The date 1860 is clearly visible on the battery.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011
Text: 'A Walk on the Edge of Wilderness, The Gibraltar - Washpool World Heritage Walk', free booklet from NPWS.




world heritage walk

The crest of O'Hara's Pass, and the top of the Gibraltar Range, after climbing up from Grassy Creek. This also marks the approximate boundary between Gibraltar Range National Park and Washpool National Park.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

500 metres from the crest, O'Hara's Rock marks the spot where O'Hara, a grazier, camped with his stock in 1873 when he tried to find a way over the Gibraltar Range to the Ramornie meatworks on the Orara River. He discovered signs of tin ore in the bed of Grassy Creek which subsequently led to mining operations being carried out in the area.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Twenty minutes later, the vegetation changes from dry sclerophyll bushland to wet sclerophyll with tree ferns, and the ground becomes moist underfoot.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

By the time you get to this junction with the Moogem Fire Trail, the first rainforest species are starting to appear.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

The Moogem Fire Trail becomes more like a bushwalker's super highway carved through thick rainforest, broad and level, and a delight to use, walking on a steadily descending incline.

I can make good time on a track like this - smooth, straight, and down hill!

As my father used to say of his old Vauxhall, "She's a Rolls-and-can-Hardly - Rolls down one hill and can hardly get up the next!"

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Finally the bridge over Coombadjha Creek is reached. If coming the other way, this is your last chance to fill up water bottles before Grassy Creek.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

The 'You are Here' maps were good to have. Though this one is showing signs of age and a very wet position in the rainforest, it is still legible.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Looking back at the bridge from the Gwydir Highway side.

From here it is a steep and long uphill road bash to the Gwydir Highway, with the next leg of the walking track to Mulligans Hut a hundred metres or so down the highway towards Glen Innes, on the other side of the highway.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Entry to the next section of track, on the other side of the highway, variously called Tree Fern Fire Trail and Pidcocks Trail. It is a little bit uphill for a while, then there is a long downhill slope to Mulligans Hut.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Walking Stick Palm, Linospadix monostachya, shown here with pale yellow immature fruit (or flowers?) that turn red when ripe, is a small palm growing in rainforest understorey in eastern Australia. It usually grows to 2 or 3 metres tall.

It occurs in very wet areas of the ranges, in rainforest at moderate altitudes up to 1200 metres. They grow as an understorey plant, and are usually found in dense shade, never receiving any direct sunlight. The microclimate in these positions is cool and humid due to the deep shade provided by the canopy.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011
Text: Adapted from Wikipedia and http://www.pacsoa.org.au/palms/Linospadix/monostachya.html




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This huge tree toppled over the track some time ago at a time of very high winds.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

There is a complex network of creeks in the region of Twin Bridges, and there are twenty identified species of ferns in the area.



Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Olearia gravis, or Large Daisy Bush, a shrub to 1.6 metres high, which flowers from August to November.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

There is another 'you are here' map at the junction of the Tree Fern Fire Trail which then heads towards Mulligans Hut, and the side track to the Needles.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Looking towards the junction of the Tree Fern Fire Trail and the continuation to Mulligans Hut from the Needles track.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Bridge over Dandahra Creek.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




world heritage walk

Mulligan's Hut. This is a replica, built in the 1960s after the original was damaged in a bushfire, used as a daytime shelter for picnickers. A stone fireplace was added to the original design. There is plenty of camping in this area. The hut is located in Mulligans Hut Picnic Area next to Dandahra Creek, which is suitable for swimming.

Photo: Hirsute Harry via Panoramio




world heritage walk world heritage walk

The Barra Nulla Cascades are not far down this track, which itself is not far from Mulligan's Hut above. The Cascades would be a good place to cool off on a hot day.

Photo: Don Hitchcock, November 2011




bushwalking Bushwalking Index

bushwalking The walk from Boundary Creek to Grassy Creek via Duffers Falls and the Haystack

bushwalking The walk from Mulligans Hut to Boundary Creek via Surveyors Creek and Dandahra Crags



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