Sundown National Park, located on the Queensland/New South Wales border near Tenterfield, is an exhibition of dramatic landscapes, from the sheer-sided gorges, tree-lined ridges, and dominating peaks that rise more than 1,000m above the Severn River.
Choose your own adventure on one of the many walking, mountain biking, cycling and 4WD trails that will take you to the best spots in the park, or hit the water at Severn River or The Broadwater and explore by kayak or canoe. Keep your eyes peeled for one of the many bird, mammal or reptile species that call the park home.
Wet a line in the river and waterholes to see if you can catch a Yellowbelly or Eel-tailed Catfish, or find a secluded spot to take a dip as you relax to the sound of nature that follows you everywhere you go in Sundown.
After good rainfall, Nundubbermere Falls comes alive as the Severn River tumbles over broad rocky slabs into pools below. Rock-hop to the riverbed to explore the traprock gorges and freshwater pools.
Take in the park from above as you admire the views from Rats Castle, Red Rock Gorge Lookout, or the western circuit ridge, and be sure to explore the relics and abandoned mines from the 1870s mining boom.
When one day is not enough, camping is available at Burrows Waterhole, Nundubbermere Falls, Red Rock Gorge, The Broadwater or Reedy Waterhole, where you can wake to the sounds of the park coming to life before you head out for another adventure-filled day.
Sundown National Park requires a 4WD to access Red Rock Gorge, Reedy Waterhole and Burrows Waterhole Camping Area from Ballandean. The Broadwater Camping Area and some walks can be accessed with a 2WD via Mingoola.
Burrows Waterhole to Rats Castle track
Distance: 6km return
Time suggested: 3 hours
Venture through stands of silver-leaved ironbark and white cypress pine on this scenic walk starting at Burrows Waterhole camping area.
Meander downstream along the Severn River to Sundown Creek then climb the steep, rocky track up the distinctive granite outcrop known as Rats Castle. Marvel at spectacular views of the river valley from this vantage point.
Don’t rush—take some time at the picturesque Severn River and its creeks. Bring your bathers and take a refreshing dip in some of the waterholes. If you’ve brought your rod along, why not have a go at catching yourself some dinner!
Ooline Creek Track
Distance: 4km return
Time suggested: 3 to 4 hours
Trace your fingers across steep rock faces, through a sheltered gorge with rock pools and vine scrub, where vulnerable ooline trees (a medium to large tree with bright green leaves and rough, tile-patterned bark) grow.
Imagine a time dating back 1.6 million years, when this now-vulnerable tree flourished in rainforests found across a much wetter Australia.
As you venture along this picturesque creek-side trail, you’ll also encounter figs and pittosporums.
Watch for skinks and lizards scurrying into cracks and crevices of the rocks as you walk along Ooline Creek. Catch your breath at the cool rock pool before scrambling around the waterhole to explore more of the gorge.
Permanent Waterhole Track
Distance: 2km return
Time suggested: 1 hour
Take in the serene beauty at this waterhole, where deep reflective water gives way to lichen-encrusted rocks and sculptured hills blanketed by forest.
Venture upstream on this gently-sloping track to picturesque Permanent Waterhole on Ooline Creek. As its name suggests, this waterhole is always present, even in the driest of times.
Escape the dry surrounding mountain ranges to swim in the 5m deep water—the perfect retreat on a hot day. Keep watch for tiny Azure Kingfishers near the mouth of Ooline Creek. Look for ripples on the surface at dawn or dusk as platypus feed on crayfish and small fish.
Let the sights and sounds of the surrounding bush enchant you. Listen to honeyeaters snacking in the colourful bottlebrush along the creek and wallabies lapping at the cool waters.
Red Rock Gorge Lookout Track
Distance: 500 m return
Time suggested: 15 minutes
Gaze across a deep gorge with cliffs stained red by lichen, and the rugged ranges stretching out to the south.
Starting from the Red Rock Gorge camping area, this short walk climbs to a lookout with spectacular views across the Queensland and New South Wales border. Marvel at the vivid red hues of the rock surface as sunlight dances on Red Rock Gorge’s granite cliffs.
Delight in glimpses of peregrine falcons and other birds of prey soaring along the cliffs of the gorge. Listen out for the refreshing sound of water tumbling over Red Rock falls, and in winter, the fluid calls of lyrebirds sheltering in the dry rainforest far below.
Enjoy the picturesque show of granite-belt wildflowers during spring, including the distinctive blooms of the Sago Flower.
Distance: 4.5 km circuit
Time suggested: 1.5 hours
Leave the river for higher ground to take in expansive views over the valley and spot colourful woodland birds.
Take a journey away from the river flats into high open ground on this scenic bushwalk. Delight in spying Spiny-cheeked, Yellow-faced and Fuscous Honeyeaters, as well as Golden Whistlers feeding in the flats near The Broadwater camping area.
Climb the ridge on the western boundary and enjoy sweeping vistas to the south and west from the bench seat provided. Keep your eyes peeled for the vivid plumage of turquoise parrots and diamond firetails flitting through the scrub.
Travel back past steep-sided hills, through ironbark woodland and broad open grasslands where grey kangaroos graze.
Visit the National Parks page for more walking, hiking and cycling trails available in Tenterfield Shire.
For more information on Sundown National Park, visit the QLD National Parks Website.