About the Hunter Branch

We undertake a variety of outdoor and conservation activities throughout the Hunter Region and surrounding areas. Activities are open to all members and visitors.

The Hunter Region includes an incredible variety of scenery and habitats, and some of Australia’s finest natural areas. Community pressure for their protection, particularly Barrington Tops and Myall Lakes, was a major factor in the early establishment of NPA as a State-wide organisation. An important milestone was the formation of the Hunter-Manning National Parks Association in November 1956.

Download: Proposed additions to Barrington Tops National Park

The Hunter Region

The Hunter Region contains some of Australia’s finest natural areas, but is also one of the nation’s most important centres for economic activity. Consequently, there are significant pressures on the region’s natural areas from a variety of sources, including urban expansion, infrastructure corridors, resource extraction, invasive species and intensive recreational use. 


President/Newsletter Editor
Ian Donovan - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Liz Kilpinen - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Walks Coordinator
John Simpson - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mailing address
PO Box 107, Adamstown 2289

Outdoor activities

Our walks and activities are a great way to meet like-minded people, and to explore the natural wonders of the Hunter Region. We regularly visit well-known national parks, as well as other interesting but lesser known places that are not readily accessible to the general public. There is generally at least one walk each month, usually more.

Trips range in difficulty from easy to hard, and will suit people of all ages with a reasonable level of fitness. Both day and overnight walks are featured. We also hold introductory weekends for beginners, whilst many trips are suitable for families. The highlight of the year is our annual trip to Broughton Island, but places are very limited, so you need to book early.

Coming activities are listed in our monthly email newsletter. Not yet a member? You’re welcome to come on a few trips before joining. For all enquiries about activities, or if you would like to lead a walk, please email our Activities Coordinator, John Simpson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


We hold a committee meeting every two months to plan and coordinate conservation and outdoor activities. All members and visitors welcome. Email the Secretary, Liz Kilpinen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to check future meeting dates.

Our Annual Barbeque and AGM is usually held on a Sunday in late October. Each year we choose a scenic bushland venue. There is usually an easy morning walk before the barbeque. Details are provided in our September email newsletter.

Awabakal Wildflower Walk

Held annually in early September, the Awabakal Wildflower Walk is NPA Hunter Region's major community event. Join us in a morning guided walk with botanical experts, nature photographers and ecologists, exploring the spring wildflowers of the Awabakal Nature Reserve, near Dudley. All members of the public of any age are welcome. Easy walk along sandy tracks. For details, contact our Activities Coordinator, John Simpson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Nature News Hunter Region

Keep up-to-date with current conservation issues, events and outdoor activities through our monthly email newsletter Nature News Hunter Region. To subscribe, or to include notices, trip reports, photos, articles, book reviews or similar, please contact the Editor on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Our conservation activities seek to protect the Region’s natural values by influencing decisions made government agencies, local councils and others. This may involve written submissions, meetings with local MPs, letter and email campaigns. Matters dealt with include government policies, regional plans, major development proposals, and national park plans of management.

If you would like to assist with this work, please contact our President, Ian Donovan, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Parks within the region

Barrington Tops National Park

Booti Booti National Park

Copeland Tops State Conservation Area

Glenrock State Conservation Area

Karuah Nature Reserve

Little Broughton Island Nature Reserve

Mount Royal National Park

Myall Lakes National Park

Nowendoc National Park

Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve

The Glen Nature Reserve

Tomaree National Park

Wallingat National Park

Woko National Park

Wollemi National Park

Yengo National Park

Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park


Basalt country

The north-western margin of the Upper Hunter is a spectacular range resulting from the erosion of extensive lava flows. Steep ranges, distant views, huge grass trees, volcanic features and the State’s most inland rainforests are some of the features that can be experienced.

Towarri and Coolah Tops National Parks and Cedar Brush, Wallabadah and Ben Halls Gap Nature Reserves protect many of these features, though access to some reserves can be difficult.

Other nearby reserves include Scone Mountain National Park and Brushy Hill, Woolooma, Wingen Maid and Burning Mountain Nature Reserves. The latter reserve contains a coal seam that has been on fire naturally for many hundreds of years.

Barrington Tops

Reaching an altitude just shy of 1,600 metres, Barrington Tops and nearby ranges provide an incredible range of diversity. Within the space of a day it’s possible to walk through lowland subtropical rainforest, moist eucalypt forests, temperate rainforests, and subalpine woodland and fens. Sudden weather changes and snow on the tops are common, so visitors need to be well prepared at all times of the year.

The cool subalpine plateau is a great place to escape from the summer heat, and is a popular camping venue. Many rare terrestrial orchids occur in the boggy subalpine soils.

Waterfalls and canyons in the upper Williams, Gloucester, Allyn, Paterson and Chichester Rivers provide exciting summer recreational opportunities. The rainforests are of particular interest, and are included in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. They can be readily accessed within Barrington Tops and Mount Royal National Parks, Mount Allyn Flora Reserve and Chichester State Forest.

Sandstone country

The rugged sandstone plateaus and gorges to the south and west of the Hunter River are largely protected within Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, and comprise the State’s largest wilderness areas. These form part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Spring wildflower displays and a diversity of eucalypt species are notable features.

The drier western extremities act as a transition between coastal and inland ecosystems, which makes them particularly interesting for bird watchers and native plant enthusiasts. Goulburn River National Park and Lees Pinch and Durridgere Nature Reserves are great places to experience these latter environments.

The sandstone country is also notable for its incredible heritage of indigenous rock art.

Gloucester country

Centred on the Gloucester-Nowendoc district, this sparsely populated area comprises a mosaic of different geological, ecological and land tenure units. Important features include the widespread occurrence of small ‘dry rainforest’ patches, usually in locations protected from fire by rocky screes and outcrops, and healthy populations of the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby.

There is an emerging network of reserves to protect the natural values of this area, including Woko, Curracabundi, Barakee and Nowendoc National Parks; Bretti, Camels Hump, Khatambuhl, Mernot, Monkeycot, Tuggolo Creek, Watchimbark, Running Creek, Monkerai, Killarney and The Glen Nature Reserves; and Coneac, Copeland Tops and Black Bulga State Conservation Areas. However, many of these reserves currently have restricted or no access.

The most accessible location to sample this country is the popular walking track to the top of the Gloucester Bucketts, just outside of Gloucester. Visitors in early spring are rewarded by a spectacular floral display of the pink rock orchid.

Myall coast

Placid coastal lakes, fringing paperbark forests, spring wildflowers on the coastal sand masses, and open ocean beaches are characteristic features of the Myall coast. Myall Lakes and Booti Booti National Parks provide outstanding recreational opportunities, whilst Darawank Nature Reserve also protects a significant coastal corridor.

There are numerous restricted-access offshore and estuarine island reserves that provide important breeding habitat for seabird and other species. These include Seal Rocks, John Gould, Stormpetrel, Little Broughton Island, Boondelbah, Corrie Island, Wallis Island, Regatta Island, Yahoo Island, Bandicoot Island and Mills Island Nature Reserves.

Also to be found in the adjoining coastal foothills are moist eucalypt forests with some of the State’s tallest trees. Examples can be found in the Bulahdelah and Myall River State Forests, Myall Lakes, Wallingat and Ghin-doo-ee National Parks, and the Wallamba Nature Reserve. Some of these forests contain the remains of historic timber tramways and trestle bridges dating from forestry activities in the early 20th Century.