Willi Willi National Park
This rainforest mountain park lies along a section of the Great Escarpment to the east of Oxley Wild Rivers and Werrikimbe national parks. The park is between the Macleay and Hastings River valleys and includes Kemps Pinnacle and Mount Banda Banda, both over 1100 metres above sea level.
The main visitor area is located on the picturesque Wilson River, with picnic shelters, barbecues and toilets. There is a choice of three delightful rainforest walking tracks a long the river to a sparkling waterfall.
Wilson River is 52 kilometres from Wauchope along the Hastings Forest Way. From the west, access is via the Oxley Highway and Cockerwombeeba Road, or Racecourse Trail if driving a 4WD vehicle.
Facilities & things to do
>>Palm Grove Walk
>>Banda Banda Forest Loop
>>Wilson River picnic area
Palm Grove Walk, 1 km return, easy
This leads from the Wilson River picnic area through sub-tropical rainforest and blue gums to the Glade picnic area beside the Wilson River. Return through the rainforest or along the road.
Botanic Walk, 300m loop, easy
Learn the names of some rainforest trees and ferns on this short stroll across the Wilson River from the picnic area.
Waterfall Walk, 3.6 km return, moderate
This track passes close to a magnificent strangler fig, then through sub-tropical and warm temperate rainforest, to a waterfall and pool.
Banda Banda Forest Loop, 3.7km, moderate
It is possible to walk around the management trail at this World Heritage site, to see the Antarctic Beech forest, however there are no visitor facilities.
Wilson River picnic area
Cedar getters came to this secluded site beside the river in the 1890s. Although much of the red cedar was felled, a few of these iconic trees remain. The forest here is very high quality and was set aside by the Forestry Commission in 1953 as a Forest Preserve Primitive Area. Picnic facilities were installed in the 1960s and it became a popular destination for visitors and school groups. There are two picnic shelters, barbecues, toilets and three walking tracks.
World Heritage Rainforests
Willi Willi and Werrikimbe national parks form an extensive mountain wilderness on a spectacular section of the Great Divide and the Eastern Escarpment, high in the mountains, just 60 km west of the mid north coast of New South Wales. The parks protect some of the best sub-tropical, warm temperate and cool temperate rainforests in Australia and most of Werrikimbe, and the Banda Banda section of Willi Willi, is included as part of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia (CERRA), one of Australia's sixteen World Heritage properties.
Today's rainforests are direct relations of the ancient forests of Gondwana, when parts of what is now Australia lay to the south, within the Antarctic Circle. About 80 million years ago, the ancestral continent broke up and Australia started moving north, which eventually reduced most of the cool-adapted Gondwanan rainforests to a narrow strip along the escarpment of south-eastern Australia. These are places with high conservation and landscape values, an outstanding array of biodiversity and magnificent scenery.
The park protects a diversity of vegetation communities, including sub-alpine woodland, upland heaths and old growth eucalypt forests. This diverse vegetation supports a wide range of fauna, with small ground mammals and bats, the endangered Hastings River mouse, the yellow-bellied glider, as well as Australia's largest marsupial carnivore, the spotted-tailed quoll.
The Great Escarpment
The grandeur of this park comes from its location along part of the Great Eastern Escarpment, which runs the length of eastern Australia, from Victoria to north Queensland. The escarpment is the name given to the steep drop at the eastern edge of the Great Divide (the watershed separating drainage to the Pacific Ocean from that going west). The escarpment began to be formed after Gondwana broke up and ancient seabeds were up-lifted to create the mountainous high country of the Dividing Range.
Erosion by wind, rain, storms and local winter ice over millions of years carved out the undulating plateau, while rivers cut back the edge of the plateau, creating deep gorges that merged to form one continuous escarpment, now seen as a maze of cliffs, gorges, waterfalls, ridges, spurs, hills and valleys. The scarp is slowly moving west and this can be seen in the active erosion of steep cliffs at places like Apsley and Tia Gorges, just off the Oxley Highway east of Walcha.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service