A true Aussie bush camping experience awaits the traveller who is willing to venture into the heart of Nymboi-Binderay National Park, a stone’s throw from the New South Wales coast. Awe-inspiring, near-vertical gorges rise out of the spectacular Nymboida River, while the rainforest-clad ranges beg to be explored. The rugged mountain stream is a popular destination for white water rafters, delivering grade 4/5 rapids and offering the adventurous at heart an exceptional way of experiencing the stunning scenery.
THINGS TO DO
We decided to enjoy the crystal clear water from the comfort of our tent at the Platypus Flat Campground, which is – as you rightly guessed – the perfect location to spot the elusive Australian creature. In fact, the Nymboida River protects one of the largest platypus communities along the state’s north coast. The platypus makes its home in the streams, rivers and lakes of eastern Australia, where it spends most of its time in the water. In fact, this water-loving monotreme can spend up to 10 hours in the water at one time. This extraordinary animal is best spotted during the early morning and late evening.
The several walking tracks in the park provide an opportunity to enjoy the area’s beautiful landscape. The 800m Coachwood circuit starts from the Norman Jolly Memorial Grove and meanders through the rainforest past several impressive tallowwoods, soaring up to 55m. The grove is dedicated to Norman Jolly, a 19th century professional forester, whose contribution to the teaching and practice of professional forestry is highly regarded. Some of the giant trees are thought to be 800 years old, with trunks of 2m in diameter.
The park abounds with wildlife, both in and out of the water. The river turtle can be easily spotted and there are plenty around. Wallabies are at home on the forested ridges and goannas are sometimes seen wandering around the campground. The endangered giant barred frog likes to nest along the river bank, whereas the scaly, angle-headed dragon prefers the moist rainforest.
On the second morning of our stay, the quiet campground came to life when a minivan rocked up not long after breakfast. A group of eight white water rafting enthusiasts jumped out, seemingly eager to experience what the wild Nymboida River had to offer. The participants kitted up with waterproof jackets, life vests and helmets before the two guides explained what was about to come. The eight adventurers were divided into two groups and 10 minutes later two large rafts were taken down to the water’s edge. It was quite an undertaking for everyone to climb into the inflatable boats and – judging by the looks on people’s faces – not everyone was necessarily looking forward to the adventure.
For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the picturesque Nymboida River is a great place for a swim, even with little ones. The shallow rock pools upstream from Platypus Flat provide a wonderful place to cool down on a hot day.
On a cold day, lighting a campfire is the way to go – firewood is provided to discourage campers from collecting wood in the park.
Really, Nymboi-Binderay National Park is the perfect place for a weekend of camping, bushwalking, swimming and relaxing. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is a beautiful spot to experience the Aussie bush.
Platypus Flat Campground is around 65km west of Coffs Harbour or around 30km north of Dorrigo. Turn on to Moonpar Road from Tyringham Road, then turn left on to Mills Road. These unsealed forest roads are not suitable for caravans.
- Explore on foot and check out the bush walking tracks or jump in the car for the Moonpar Forest Drive.
- If you’re keen to experience the river’s rapids, check out Liquid Assets Adventure Tours: www.surfrafting.com
Platypus Flat Campground has non-flush toilets, picnic tables, gas barbecues and fire places. Fees are $5 per adult and $3 per child, per night (children under five are free). Generators are not permitted.
Alternatively, explore the park while based at the Dorrigo Mountain Resort and Caravan Park, (02) 6171 3345.
Dorrigo NPWS: (02) 6657 2309
An annual pass or $7 daily vehicle entry fee is required. Passes can be purchased online at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/annualpass or by phone, 1300 072 757
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #539, July 2015.