Monday, December 22, 2014

Mt Barrington & Careys Peak, NSW, Australia

2014 December: One day climb to Mt Barrington & Careys Peak from Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area, NSW, Australia


Mt Barrington & Careys Peak in the Barrington Tops National Park have been on my to-climb list for some time. So I am glad to tick them off today. It is a long day, almost 12 hrs - 34km with a steep climb in the early part of the trail to Careys Peak.

After having tramped around Tasmania recently, hiking in the Sydney region just doesn't have the WOW factor. But still, the flora and fauna in the Barrington Tops are interesting. And it is good to get in touch again with Matthew, Will, Tom and Thea.

Mt Barrington & Careys Peak

Both are in the Barrington Tops National Park.
- Mt Barrington, 1556 m;  unfortunately no view from the summit, too many trees there
- Careys Peak, 1545 m;  a marvelous 180 degree view there

We climb them from Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area - Careys Peak first, then Mt Barrington.

Highest peaks in Barrington Tops Plateau

For reference, here are the 3 highest peaks:
#1 : 1586 m  Brumlow Top
#2 : 1577 m  Mt Polblue
#3 : 1556 m  Mt Barrington - this climb

A month later, I climb both Brumlow Top and Mt Polblue as a day-trip. Photos and write up on the climb are in my blog:
However I didn't reach the true summit of Mt Polblue in that trip.

3 more months later, I have another go at Mt Polblue and reach its true summit. Photos and write up on the climb are in my blog:


•  Paper map - 1:25,000 scaled Barrington Tops 9133-1N

•  Online -

To get to Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area

The start of the walk is at Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area. To get there:
- First, get to the town of Dungog.
- Then drive on Chichester Dam Road and head for Chichester Dam.
- About 10 km from Dungog, turn left into Salisbury Road.
- About 30.2 km from the above turn off, you'll reach Williams River Picnic Area.
- Turn left into Williams Top Road.
- Follow the road to Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area. (This road is unsealed. But its condition is good and suitable to 2-wheel drive cars.)

From Sydney to Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area is about 3 hrs 30 mins by car non-stop.


There are many camping spots in the Barrington Tops area. I stayed overnight in a small camping area called Bandon Grove Reserve.  It is quite good in that it has a flush toilet.

To get to Bandon Grove Reserve ... at the junction of Chichester Dam Road and Salisbury Road, keep going north along Chichester Dam Road for 12 km. The camping area is on the left side of the road under the bridge crossing the Williams River. If you go pass the bridge you've overshot the camping area.

From Bandon Grove Reserve to Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area is just under 1 hour.

GPS files & Route

The GPX files of our walk can be download from:
- From Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area to Mt Barrington:

- Return trip from Mt Barrington to Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area:

In summary:
•  Start at Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area.
•  Take The Corker Track.
•  Detour to Wombat Creek for morning tea (by taking The Link Trail).
•  After morning tea, back on The Corker Track to Careys Peak.
•  Take Careys Peak Trail to Mt Barrington.

•  Return trip is to retrace the steps back to Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area.

Timeline & Distance

07:25   0.0 km  Start at Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area
10:01   7.7 km  at junction of The Corker Track & The Link Trail
10:09   8.2 km  at Wombat Creek

Morning Tea

10:31   8.3 km  leave Wombat Creak
10:38   8.7 km  at junction of The Link Trail & The Corker Track
11:16  10.5 km  at Careys Peak

11:38  10.6 km  leave Careys Peak
13:32  17.5 km  at Mt Barrington summit


14:22  17.7 km  leave Mt Barrington summit
16:22  24.4 km  at Careys Peak turn off
16:48  25.9 km  at junction of The Corker Track & The Link Trail
19:08  33.7 km  End at Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area

Total: 11 hrs 43 mins;  33.7 km  at leisurely pace  (Distance is from Google Earth.)

Pictures - Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area

1)  The Start of the climb is here at Lagoon Pinch Picnic Area.

Corker Track to Careys Peak

2)  First, we walk on The Corker Track to Careys Peak. Scenery is typically subtropical rain forest.

3)  Matthew having fun

Detour to Wombat Creek

4)  We made a short detour to Wombat Creek.  (On The Corker Track, turn right into The Link Trail. Then follow signs to Wombat Creek.)
It is a steep climb from Lagoon Pinch to here. So we are glad to take a rest and have morning tea. Then it is back on The Corker Track to Careys Peak.

Flora on the Corker Track

5)  Occasionally there are patches of clearing where these small ferns grow.

6)  Is there a name for the giant moss?

7)  There are plenty of this Rubus parvifolius (Native Raspberry) along the trail. They are edible and very sweet.

8)  Tasmannia purpurascens, known as the Broad-leaved Pepperbush is a shrub that grows only in the Barrington Tops and Ben Halls Gap region of Australia.

9)  Does anyone know the name of these pretty flowers?

10)  Does anyone know the name of this?

11)  Stylidium graminifolium (Grass Triggerplant)

12)  This one looks like Senecio linearifolius (Fireweed Groundsel), but the number of petals per flower doesn't look right. If you know its name, please let me know.

13)  Wahlenbergia stricta (Australian Bluebell or Native Bluebell)

At Careys Peak

14)  At Careys Peak, 1545m ~~~
Left to right: Tom, Thea, Will

15)  Scenery at Careys Peak, nice view ~~~
From what I can gather from the internet, most hikers turn back from here. We continue on for another 6.8 km to Mt Barrington (the trail to there is called Careys Peak Trail) . But there will be no view there, too many trees  :-(
No wonder most people turn back now - the above view is as good as you'll get.

16)  (Found around Careys Peak) Does anyone know the name of this beetle?

17)  Around Careys Peak are these Chauliognathus lugubris (Plague Soldier Beetle). They congregate and fly in swarms. Fortunately they don't bite.

Near Mt Barrington

18)  We are near Mt Barrington. The vegetation turns to sub-alpine.

At Mt Barrington

19)  At Mt Barrington summit 1556m, 3rd highest peak in the Barrington Tops Plateau ~~~
No wonder I can't find any useful info on the internet of anyone climbing up here ...well, now I know why ... there is no view here - too many trees  :-(

20)  There is a tall tower, perhaps for monitoring the weather??? It is fenced off.
Australia has a big pineapple at Nambour, a big merino at Goulburn, a big banana at Coffs Harbour; well, maybe we can market this big weather tower at Mt Barrington as a tourist attraction too  :-)

21)  We are all plotting on how to break inside the fence to climb up the tower ... then ...

22)  ... then we notice this "Caution Risk of Radiation" tank ... perhaps it is better to stay outside the fence. But this is a National Park. Why is there a radiation tank in a National Park?

23)  At Mt Barrington summit ~~~
Boring place or not, we still need to take a photo: Left to right - me, Will, Tom, Thea, Matthew.

Then it is lunch in the shadow of the radiation tank ... we've walked for more than 6 hrs, we are hungry and can't wait, radiation or no radiation  :-)

Afterwards, it is retracing our steps to trudge back down the mountain.


  1. By radiation they mean electro-magnetic. I expect that it is some sort of relay for somebodies communications.

    The mountains on the southern side of Barrington are excellent. Mt Royal is relatively short, Mt Carrow is more moderate and Cockcrow is a long day and requires navigational skills. Mt Cabre Bald has fantastic grass trees, but without a 4wd could be a long walk to the start.

    1. Thank you Ken, one day, I'll climb the mountains you suggested.

    2. You must have walked all over Australia !!!


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