Gibraltar Range National Park and Washpool National Park are on Bundjalung, Ngarrabul and Gumbaingirri Country. I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this area and their connection to Country, and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.
Gibraltar Range National Park isn’t a huge national park as far as national parks go but it’s a really neat spot for a few days of camping, relaxing and going on short hikes.
I enjoyed our five days here far more than I’d expected.
Located in northern New South Wales along the Gwydir Highway (some 70km east of Glen Innes), Gibraltar Range is easily accessible by conventional car so you don’t really need a 4WD vehicle to get out and about here.
Since Gibraltar Range is next to Washpool National Park, you’ve actually got a few options for camping in this neck of the woods. We ended up at Mulligans Campground in Gibraltar Range, and couldn’t have been happier about our choice.
CAMPING AT GIBRALTAR RANGE NATIONAL PARK
Both Gibraltar Range and Washpool National Park belong to the huge Gondwana Rainforests of Australia so you’re never far from trees and bird life here. I love waking up to the chatter of birds, and being surrounded by trees meant shade and bearable temperatures during the hot summer days in mid-January.
There are four campgrounds – two in each national park – with three of the camping areas set up for vehicle-based camping.
I like having the car on the actual campsite, and not a short walk away, so any time there are defined camping bays, I’m in. We went to Bellbird Campground first, and then Mulligans, which I liked much better.
All campgrounds need to be pre-booked and at $12 per site per day, camping here ends up being a pretty cheap holiday.
Mulligans Campground is the larger of the two camping areas in Gibraltar Range though there’s still only about 15 sites so it’s not exactly huge. Bonus!
From the turnoff on the Gwydir Highway, it’s 10km of unsealed, relatively rough road (but still ok in 2WDs) to the campground and picnic area.
Driving in and out of the campground to do a few walks seemed to take forever. I’m not sure if we were just impatient to get to the walks or if it was simply a slow road but I reckon it was a good 15-20 min drive.
The campground itself is fantastic: a dry bush setting with a number of clearly defined, individual sites (plus a large grassy area for hikers), squeaky clean toilets, a few walks nearby and a gorgeous creek a couple of minutes from the campground.
Instead of the usual compost toilets, there’s an amenities block with flush toilets, showers and a sink outside. Being there at the height of summer, I thought I’d definitely be jumping in the shower to wash some post-hike stickiness off.
But we discovered gorgeous Little Dandarah Creek snaking past the campground. The water was so clear and beautiful, we just jumped in the creek to cool down and wash off any sweat and dust.
At the height of summer (= middle of school holidays), we expected the campground to be fairly full but it wasn’t. We had a couple of neighbours but unlike in Queensland, camping in New South Wales tends to be relaxing without loud music blaring across the campground.
Instead, I just heard birds – my kind of camping.
In a nutshell, this is a real gem of a camping spot, and having the creek nearby was perfect for those hot summer days!
MULLIGANS CAMPGROUND AT A GLANCE
PROS: Easily accessible (2WD); lovely bush setting; a couple of minutes to the creek for cool dips; walks within easy distance from the campground; clean, flush toilets and showers; vehicle-based camping and a few sites suitable for camper trailers or caravans; a number of sites have shady areas; most sites have picnic tables
CONS: Some sites are a bit uneven and on the smaller side of things (i.e. only a few spots suitable for caravans or large camper trailers); sandflies; additional $8 parks entry fee per day
COSTS: $12 (2023) per site/per night; pre-booking required
Not sure what the tents and mozzies mean? Check out my tents and mozzies guide.
MORE CAMPING OPTIONS IN GIBRALTAR RANGE AND WASHPOOL
As mentioned, there are a couple of alternatives for camping at Gibraltar Range and/or Washpool National Park.
BOUNDARY FALLS CAMPGROUND (GIBRALTAR RANGE)
Boundary Falls, also in Gibraltar Range but on the north side of the Gwydir Highway, offers 8 (unmarked) campsites but I can’t say that this spot looked that inspiring.
It’s probably alright for a night or so but it doesn’t offer the lovely setting that Mulligans has. A couple of short walks are nearby, and there’s BBQs in the picnic area (where, in fact, we ended up having breakfast on the last day).
BELLBIRD CAMPGROUND (WASHPOOL)
Near the start of the Washpool Walk Circuit in Washpool National Park is Bellbird Campground with 17 sites available. This would probably be my second choice after Mulligans.
It’s in a rainforest setting so felt much more humid than Mulligans but you can get a relatively secluded site here if you’re after privacy.
COMMBADJHA CAMPGROUND (WASHPOOL)
Coombadjha is just around the corner from Bellbird but it’s really only a hikers camp (3 small sites) for those doing the multi-day World Heritage Walk.
You’ll have to cross a stream on foot and carry all your gear from the not-very-big carpark so I’d definitely give this one a miss unless you’re desperate (or hiking – then it’d be great!).
GIBRALTAR HOUSE (GIBRALTAR RANGE)
And if you don’t want to camp at all, there’s also a hut available at Gibraltar Range.
Gibraltar House sleeps seven people and it looks pretty cosy on the inside. But it’s also located right on the Gwydir Highway and there’s a NSW Parks depot behind the house so you don’t exactly feel secluded.
In addition to your camping fees, you’ll also need to pay a daily parks entry fee ($8) unless you’ve organised an annual NSW parks pass. I’m not sure if you can still pay these in cash (or cheque) at the campground registration station or whether you need to organise this beforehand as well.
Wherever you decide to camp, make sure you do it responsibly.
Find more information about camping in the Gibraltar Ranges on NSW Parks & Wildlife Service.
MORE POSTS ON CAMPING AND HIKING IN NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES
I’ve got a detailed guide for both Gibraltar Range and Washpool National Park that includes hiking options and lookout spots.
Of if you want to do just one walk: The Washpool Walk Circuit is a relatively easy half-day walk in Washpool National Park. Find some photos and details for the Washpool Walk here.
We also really enjoyed camping along the Severn River in Kwiambal National Park. A small but quiet spot for a few days of relaxing.