Home to the largest granite monolith in the Southern Hemisphere, Bald Rock National Park is an underrated highlight of northern New South Wales. The beautiful and unique area is a great weekend camping and walking destination, with a chance to enjoy some panoramic views in a peaceful bush setting.
On my recent visit to the Granite Belt region, I spent a night camping in Bald Rock National Park, just half an hour away from Tenterfield in New South Wales. During my visit, I hiked up to Bald Rock Summit for sunset and enjoyed an amble to Little Bald Rock too.
It was such a quiet place to spend 24 hours switched off from my phone and immersed in nature. I highly recommend visiting Bald Rock for a weekend, so you too can admire the stunning views from the top of the huge rock and enjoy a cosy campfire with friends. Here’s my guide to the national park so you can plan your own trip.
About Bald Rock National Park
Bald Rock National Park is the southern half of the Granite Belt region, which stretches across northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. Bald Rock sits on the NSW side, while the QLD side is Girraween National Park. Both parks are characterised by incredibly unique boulder-strewn landscapes and beautiful vistas.
While Girraween has more walks and bigger campgrounds, Bald Rock is equally a worthwhile place to visit. It’s home to the largest granite monolith in the Southern Hemisphere, which offers a spectacular panoramic view from its summit across the surrounding area all the way to the Scenic Rim in Queensland.
Bald Rock served as a neutral meeting ground for three Aboriginal nations of the area; Jukambal, Bundgalung and Kamilleroi. It served as a designated middle ground, so that meetings, trade and travel could peacefully occur.
Bald Rock National Park is part of the Granite Belt region on the New South Wales-Queensland border. The area can be reached on New England Highway from the north or the south, depending on which state you reside in.
To reach Bald Rock, turn off the highway onto Mount Lindesay Road which will take you to both Bald Rock and Boonoo Boonoo National Parks. It’s 29km from Tenterfield to Bald Rock Campground and Day Visitor Car Park, which is the nearest major town. It’s a sealed road all the way to the car park.
Camping in Bald Rock National Park
There is a beautiful campground at Bald Rock National Park. Just off to the right of the day visitor car park, you’ll find a bush camp with 14 unpowered sites. Suitable for all different set ups including tents, camper trailers, vans and caravans, you can turn up and select the most suitable spot on arrival.
However, you must book and pay for a site before arriving as phone reception is very limited in the park. You can book a site here. It’s currently $24.60 per night per site (as of 2022).
There are a couple of drop toilets, drinking water and some firewood available.
Remember! You must have a Parks Pass for Bald Rock National Park. It’s either $8 per day per vehicle or you can get an annual pass for $65 (exc. Kosciuszko NP). Purchase it here.
Walks in Bald Rock National Park
The centrepiece of Bald Rock National Park is of course Bald Rock. This is the main attraction so a walk up to the summit is a must. However, if you have extra time, it’s worth doing the Little Bald Rock Walk too.
The best part about visiting Bald Rock National Park is that you can easily knock out both walks within a day or a 24 hour visit. Otherwise, you can extend the Little Bald Rock Walk into a much longer 15km loop via the border walking track, which can also be biked if you prefer. However, you don’t get a lot out of walking the extra kilometres, with the highlights being the views from both Little Bald Rock and Bald Rock.
Bald Rock Summit Walk
Distance: 4.4 km | Time: 1.5 hours | Ascent: 224 m
The highlight of a visit to Bald Rock National Park is obviously climbing to the top of Bald Rock itself. The huge monolith is the largest granite rock in the country. It stands 250 metres high, 750 metres long and 500 metres wide.
There are two walking tracks to reach the top of the rock: the Rockface Walk and Bungoona Walk. The former is the steep trail up the rock face, as the name suggests. It’s the shortest and most direct option but you’ll need good shoes to grip to the rock. The latter walk is much more gradual and winds through the forest to the left of the rock face walk.
Either way, both trails join near the top as you walk the last easier section along the summit to the highest point. You’ll see white painted stripes along the rock face sections showing you the way past the balancing boulders near the top.
I recommend taking the Rockface Walk on the way up and then the Bungoona Walk on the way down. Together this is just under 4.5 kilometres and provides a varied walk with stunning vistas and interesting rock formations to admire.
I decided to do this loop for sunset. This was such a magical time to be at the top, with some of the most incredible colours I’d seen in a while. I then took the Bungoona Walking Track back down as it was getting dark. I had the summit all to myself as well, so I’d highly recommend a sunset or sunrise walk if you’re camping the night down below.
Little Bald Rock Walk
Distance: 8 km | Time: 2.5 hours | Ascent: 314 m
If you have more time and want to head off on a peaceful walk away from the crowds, Little Bald Rock is a nice addition. This longer trail is relatively easy-moderate for the most part, except the section as you walk along Little Bald Rock itself. However, the views are beautiful, which includes looking across to Girraween National Park in Queensland.
The walk starts from the day visitor car park at Bald Rock. It follows a fire trail around the base of Bald Rock through mountain gum trees. You’ll then need to turn left onto the Border Fire Trail and follow that towards Little Bald Rock. There are signs showing you the way at each intersection.
However, once you hit the base of Little Bald Rock, the signs stop for some reason and it can be difficult to know where to go. I recommend having Maps.Me downloaded as this was the only way I knew exactly where to go, but I will do my best to describe it here too.
At the base of Little Bald Rock, this is where you can do a loop up and over and back along the outer side. It doesn’t matter which way you do the loop, but I’m describing it in a clockwise direction. There’s no marker or sign except a small rock cairn showing where you need to go (see photo below).
Walk past the rock cairn and through the scrub, there’s not a clear path. You’ll climb through and over some rocks and past some trees. You’ll then climb up and onto the top of Little Bald Rock. There’s no white stripes like you’ll find on other walks in the region, but you simply need to just walk straight down the rock face towards the bottom.
I only passed one rock cairn along the top there, but you may find others. Once you reach the bottom of the rock, turn right and you’ll finally pass a signpost. From there, turn right again back onto the fire trail and follow that along the base and back to where you started the loop.
Then, follow the border fire trail all the way back the same way to the car park again. It’s a peaceful walk, and you’ll likely only see a handful of other people the whole way.
Essential camping and hiking gear
Things to do nearby
If you have more time and want to explore more of the Granite Belt region, I highly recommend driving around to the Queensland side, which is called Girraween National Park.
Girraween National Park
Girraween National Park is the extension of the granite boulder strewn landscape north of Bald Rock. The beautiful park area is home to more walks and a couple of bush camps to spend extra days in nature. It’s the perfect place to extend your weekend trip, with a few more challenging climbs and rocks to conquer.
Read my guide to the best walks in Girraween National Park if you’re planning your trip.