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Cocoparra National Park

Rock faces draped in Wonga Vine at Jack's Creek

Cocoparra National Park is about 35 kms from Griffith on all (mostly)weather roads. There are numerous picnic areas for day visits and you can camp at Woolshed Flat. You should try the Day In The Hills scenic drive to get to Cocoparra and make a full day of it.

I must admit to taking a long time to warm to Cocoparra. My impressions of early visists to the park are of an unkempt dryness infested with exotic weeds. I avoided it for many years.

Recently, though, I have returned to it and have a renewed appreciation of its beauty. Years of drought have had an impact on the weeds - as have programs by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. I think that part of my change in appreciation has come from a better knowledge of the area in general and the biodiversity in particular. Marketing and promotional material touts 'natural beauty' as the sorts of things that hit us in the face - like the Blue Mountains and the Alps and the Barrier Reef. I'm not saying that those places are not beautiful, what I am saying is that that kind of beauty blinds us to the wonder of the dry areas that surround us and take knowledge and time to appreciate. Many people pass through these dry regions saying 'there is nothing to see'. But when I travel, I am constantly stopping to take a walk, to listen to the birds and the wind and to appreciate the scale of my environment. OK, enough of the soap box, let's get on with where to go when you get here.

Jack's Creek

Jack's Creek is a 1-1.5 hour walk that takes you along the creek bed and then up the escarpment and along the top of the ridge back to your starting point. It has some steep sections and is considered 'moderate' grade. There are picnic and toilet facilities at the parking area.

John Oxley's view over the 'desolate plains'

The lower portion of the creek bed is still somewhat infested with exotic weeds, mostly Cape Daisy, but if you ignore that you can wander through marvelling at the rocky outcrops draped in Wonga Vine serenaded by the mournful cries of the White winged Choughs. I'm not sure that sounds attractive! You will also see other wildlife as you wander through.

As the track rises, keep an eye out for orchids in spring.

On the top of the ridge, there are three lookouts to give you good views of the canyon and the surrounding countryside. John Oxley's journal was not glowing in reports about the opportunities for this area.

Sure, the track is not very long, but it will take you the hour or so to complete because there is so much to see and absorb.

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