Snow in Barrington Tops? For those watching the snowfall forecasts, don’t miss this essential advice before you leave home.
(Photo at Polblue by Kourtney Deacon 19 June 2018.)
** Travel advice for snowfall event 9-13 June 2021 (updated 8 June 2021) **
Authorities have issued a safety reminder to visitors ahead of forecast possible snow and strong winds across Barrington Tops this week from . Access to the Barrington Tops is currently closed from the Gloucester side due a dangerously unstable section of road in Barrington Tops State Forest, damaged during the March 2021 rain event.
Upper Hunter Shire Council Acting Director Infrastructure Services Phillip Hood said that “While access to the Barrington Tops from the Scone side is currently available, the unsealed road section is steep, narrow and winding, and ice and snow can make driving here extremely dangerous, even for 4WDs.”
“The road is not designed for large amounts of traffic, even at the best of times” Mr Hood said. “People who wish to see the snow are advised that the Northern Tablelands is a better choice, with the snow forecast being widespread from Nowendoc/Nundle to Walcha/Armidale.”
“With strong winds, there is also potential for trees and branches to fall, posing a direct risk to visitors, and possibly blocking access into and out of the area.”
Mr Hood said NSW Police may close roads at any time to ensure visitor safety. “During extreme weather, the status of roads on Barrington Tops can change at short notice, including during your visit. This could prevent access to or from snow covered areas and visitors may either have to turn back after long periods of travel, or even become stuck in sub-zero temperatures.”
Where can I see snow?
It all depends on the intensity and the lowest altitude of the snowfall event. The highest part of the Barrington Tops parkland is around Polblue Campground and Picnic Area, so usually this is the best place to see snow. But you may also see snow at The Firs or at Honeysuckle Picnic Area, depending on the snowfall event.
Polblue camping area (1450m), Thunderbolts Lookout (1440m) and Devils Hole Lookout (1400m) on Barrington Tops Forest Road are good places to start.
If snow falls to lower altitudes, snow on the ground can often be seen at these places around Barrington Tops:
- Thunderbolts Way near Topdale Road (bitumen road)
- Nowendoc vicinity (bitumen road)
- Nundle vicinity (mixed bitumen & gravel roads)
- Walcha (bitumen road)
Barrington Tops is the highest point of the Barrington Coast.
It’s also the highest sub-alpine region in the country outside the Australian alps and it gets a regular dusting of snow each winter. The high altitude ancient rainforests, tree fern groves, snow gums & mountain views are even more beautiful with a fresh snow blanket!
Barrington Tops snowfall events vary according to weather conditions and only affect certain altitudes each year. So make sure you check the list below before your leave home to avoid disappointment of turning up in an area in the Tops without snow.
All visitors must ensure they follow the latest rules that will keep us all safe. Check the latest health precautions issued by NSW Health, especially if you are from any of the latest virus hot spots. Click here for the latest news and updates.
When will it snow?
Snowfall is most likely in Barrington Tops from May to August and are usually of very short duration. Tracking the Barrington Tops weather reports at the Bureau of Meteorology will keep you up-to-date with changing weather conditions, which may indicate a snow event. Bureau of Meteorology Barrington Tops forecasts
Can I take my dog to the snow?
Parts of Barrington Tops are National Park and other parts are State Forest. Dogs are not allowed in National Parks but they are welcome in State Forest areas. Get a good map of the area from Gloucester Visitor Information Centre that shows the boundaries. Snow can fall in Stewarts Brook State Forest and Barrington Tops State Forest but wherever you go please beware of the possible use of 1080 bait.
Be prepared! Snow = very cold
- Overnight temps drop below zero.
- Wear warm clothes and enclosed shoes.
- Pack extra warm clothes, blankets, extra food and water (especially if you’re travelling with children).
Before leaving home
- Before you leave home check the weather forecast with the Bureau of Meteorology.
- Before you leave home check whether the road is open, call Gloucester Visitor Information Centre 6538 5252
- And before you leave Gloucester always check the weather and road conditions before you leave town and head up to the Tops.
- NSW Police can close the road at short notice or during your visit. Access to snow covered areas can be closed or you may have to turn back after a long journey.
- Delay non-essential travel in extreme weather and poor road conditions.
Barrington Tops is a remote location
- Mobile phone reception is limited, confined to a few small sites and even where present, only available to limited service providers. Reception may be possible on ridge lines.
- GPS devices can be misleading in this region & phone coverage is intermittent at best. We recommend a real map & the latest advice from a local visitor information centre.
- Maps can be picked up at the Gloucester Visitor Information Centre 1800 802 692
- Beyond Barrington village there are no shops or service stations with limited visitor facilities and shelter. Be prepared for rapidly changing extreme weather including rain, wind, and sub-zero temperatures.
Drive to the conditions, for your safety & others on the road
- Barrington Tops Forest Road is mostly unsealed road in variable condition. It can be corrugated with pot holes. It’s not a race!
- The roads leading up to the plateau on both sides are steep, narrow and winding. The road is now bitumen sealed on the Gloucester side all the way to the park boundary.
- Ice and snow can make driving on Barrington Tops roads extremely dangerous, even for 4WDs.
- 4WDs are better suited for driving in snow and ice conditions, so leave the two-wheel drive at home.
- The distance from Gloucester to Polblue is 68km of which 23km is unsealed road. Travel time is up to 1.5 hours depending on conditions.
Road closures (see update at top of this page for current closure)
Barrington Tops Forest Road can be closed at short notice to all vehicles by the Local Emergency Management Committee and local police. For up-to-date information about closures go to www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/alerts/Alerts-list
Annual winter closure of 4WD trails: The following 4WD trails on Barrington Tops are closed to all vehicles each year from 1 June to 30 September:
- Barrington Trail (south and north)
- Paddys Ridge Trail
- Butchers Swamp Trail
- Bullock Brush Trail
- Tugalow Trail
- Thunderbolts Trail
When the above trails are closed there is no vehicle access to Little Murray, Junction Pools and Gummi Falls campgrounds.