10 June 2023.

Weaving through a magical pocket of ancient rainforest, the Brindle Creek Walk makes a wonderful day hike in the heart of the Border Ranges National Park.

Set in the stunning Border Ranges National Park, the Brindle Creek Walk guides you through a world of ancient rainforests that feel as if they’ve been plucked from the pages of a fairytale.

Trees that have existed here for centuries are simply brimming with life, decorated in spongey moss, delicate threads of lichen and brightly coloured fungi. Picturesque bridges lead you back and forth across the river towards the two lovely cascades that lie along Brindle Creek.

Dripping with morning dew and painted in a monochrome of vibrant green, the rainforests here are among the most beautiful I’ve seen anywhere in Australia and if you have time for just one hike in the Border Ranges, Brindle Creek will not disappoint.

This guide covers everything you need to know to plan for the Brindle Creek Walk, including how to get there, where to stay and what to expect from your visit.

How To Get To Brindle Creek

The Brindle Creek Walking Track lies in the heart of the Border Ranges National Park in northern NSW.

The Tweed Range Scenic Drive is the only access road, traversing the park from west to south in a boomerang-like arc. You’ll need to navigate your way to either end depending on where you are staying in the area.

From Kyogle, head north on the Summerland Way and turn right at Lynchs Creek Road. Continue on through Lynchs Creek and turn left onto Forest Road which will guide you the rest of the way into the Border Ranges National Park.

There’s a steep corner at the Forest Road / Simes Road intersection, but it’s well-signposted to keep you on track.

You’ll leave the paved road behind at Lynchs Creek, but aside from a smattering of potholes and some loose gravel, the dirt road is generally in good condition.

brindle creek walk. border ranges national park

After 15 minutes of driving through the national park, turn left onto Brindle Creek Road where you’ll reach the Brindle Creek picnic area just a short way further along. The parking area here is reasonably small with space for about half a dozen cars.

Be sure to walk out onto the bridge for a first glimpse of the river which is surrounded by lush ferns and rain-soaked leaves that crowd the water’s edge. A nod at the spectacular scenes to come once you venture into the forest.

If you’re arriving from the coast or southern Queensland, you’ll find further travel details in this guide to the Border Ranges National Park (coming soon).

brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
Brindle Creek Walk Essentials

Trailhead   |   Brindle Creek picnic area

Distance   |  5.4km one way (up to 10.8km return depending on the route)

Duration   |   3 to 4 hours return

Park Fees  |   $8 per vehicle, per day

The Brindle Creek Walking Track
Brindle Creek Picnic Area to Evans Falls

Setting off from the picnic area, you’re immediately engulfed in the ancient rainforests of the Border Ranges National Park.

In the early morning hours, before the sun has managed to penetrate beyond the dense canopy, bird song fills the air.

The narrow muddy path meaders tightly between tree trunks encrusted with lichen and spongey moss. Bright orange fungi sprout from rocks beside the trail, peeking up in tiny mushroom caps or sprawling in wide, striped sheets.

brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park

Two-plank wooden bridges guide you across the many creek crossings, themselves at risk of being consumed by the furry moss that blankets much of the forest. Overhead, thick vines hang from the canopy clung with ferns and epiphytes.

While the Brindle Creek Walk may not be all that far, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself stopping every few metres distracted by another tangled tree root, curiously patterned lichen or impossibly pretty river scene.

The first section of the walk is mostly flat, following the movement of Brindle Creek for 2km until you reach Evans Falls.

After 400m of traipsing through stunningly beautiful forest, you’ll reach the turn-off for the Helmholtzia Loop which leads back to the trailhead on the far side of the river.

A short way beyond, you’ll reach the first river crossing of the Brindle Creek Walk which guides you over the water and then doubles back again almost immediately.

brindle creek walk. border ranges national park

When you emerge from the trees, the section of river here is incredibly beautiful.

Boulders speckled in lichen and moss fill the river bed surrounded by a sea of lush ferns. Tall trees sway overhead, foliage blankets every inch of the undergrowth and the river forges its path onward amongst it all.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the yabbies in this section. For the uninitiated, a yabby is a small blue freshwater crayfish and you might see them in the calmer sections of the river or in a burrow alongside the trail.

They’re generally harmless but if you get too close, they may give you an aggressive hiss and a shake of the pincer.

brindle creek walk. border ranges national park

Back on the same side of the river, the trail meanders back and forth through the forest with one more small creek crossing before you arrive at Evans Falls after another 900m.

You’ll hear the falls before you see them, but there’s no obvious path to actually get there.

As you approach, there’s a slight bend in the main path where a narrow trail veers off to the left and will guide you to a small rock platform from where you’ll have the best view.

The twin cascades of Evans Falls gush over the rocks into a deep pool which would be perfect for swimming on a hot summer’s day. It’s surrounded by lush greenery and you may be lucky enough to see a cormorant basking on the rocks once the sun has made its way over the treetops.

brindle creek walk. evans falls. border ranges national park
Evans Falls to Selva Falls

From Evans Falls, it’s just 870m to the next waterfall of the trail – Selva Falls.

Back on the main Brindle Creek Walking Track, the path veers away from the river and slightly uphill. You’ll cross two small tributaries via a pair of tiny mossy bridges before heading back towards the creek.

A mossy wooden sign will direct you to the left, down a side trail and some steps that will guide you to Selva Falls just 100m further along.

brindle creek walk. selva falls. border ranges national park

More impressive than its neighbour, Selva Falls cascades in steps across a large vertical rock platform.

Piles of mottled boulders fan out from its base and trees draped in old man’s beard lichen and bird nest ferns line the river bed.

It’s a wonderfully tranquil spot and makes a great place for a snack or lunch break beside the falls. The rocks are somewhat slippery here though so be careful when clambering about.

A Note About Swanson Falls

Look on any map for the Brindle Creek Walk and you’ll notice an obvious trail that continues on to Swanson Falls, just a short way beyond Selva Falls where the main trail veers uphill into the Antarctic Beech Forest.

I had hoped to add this waterfall to my hike but after reaching the intersection and finding no clear sign of any trail whatsoever, I decided to give up on this one.

While there are some sections that look like they may have been a path long ago, the trail has all but been reclaimed by the jungle, meaning a fair bit of traipsing through overgrown vegetation and climbing over large fallen tree trunks to get where you’re trying to go.

brindle creek walk. border ranges national park

While photos of Swanson Falls do look beautiful, it’s clear this trail has been abandoned long ago and other online reports suggest that wading up the river and generally bush-bashing your way through is the only way to get there.

Visiting in the middle of summer and having already encountered a number of snakes during my trip, this certainly didn’t seem like the best idea.

If you’re still keen for the adventure, Swanson Falls lies just 600m further up Brindle Creek and is clearly marked on both Google Maps and Maps.me.

Selva Falls to the Antarctic Beech Forest

From Selva Falls, continue back to the main trail and continue along the track for the final 2.5km of the hike.

The trail sticks closely to the river here before veering off to cross over a small tributary and arriving at the final Brindle Creek crossing.

Just before you reach the river, there’s an enormous mossy tree alongside a wonderfully weathered sign which is where the trail to Swanson Falls should begin.

Once across the river, the trail climbs gradually uphill through the spectacular Antarctic Beech Forest.

brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park

Although the entire forest along Brindle Creek is completely beautiful, this section is something really special and feels like you’re venturing through the depths of Middle Earth.

Enormous moss-covered roots fan out across the forest floor in long snaking fingers providing a solid latching post for colourful fungi and tiny epiphytes. Vines wrap together to form tightly woven lattices and ferns climb high overhead in search of available light.

It’s a beautiful section of the Brindle Creek Walk and before you know it you’ll reach the final pair of switchbacks and a tiny mossy staircase that will bring you to the sunny upper layer of the forest.

Emerging at the plateau, the Antarctic Beech Forest picnic area lies just across the road where you’ll find some picnic tables and a toilet.

brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
Antarctic Beech Forest to Brindle Creek Picnic Area

Once you’ve completed the Brindle Creek Walk in one direction and have arrived at the Antarctic Beech Forest Picnic Area, there are a few options for you to make the return journey back to your car.

Option 1: Car Shuffle


If you’re visiting with a group and have access to multiple cars, the easiest option is to do a car shuffle between the Brindle Creek Picnic Area and the Antarctic Beech Picnic Area which lie just 10 minutes apart.

Leave a car at either end and you’ll only need to walk the trail in one direction.

brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
Option 2: Return via Brindle Creek Road


If you’re returning on foot, the easiest route back to the Brindle Creek Picnic Area is to walk via the road. While it’s nowhere near as scenic as the walking trail, it’s fast, largely downhill and straightforward without the need to navigate any fallen trees or mossy bridges.

At 4.8km, it’s also the shorter option and can be completed in about an hour. Traffic is reasonably light out here and it’s all one-way along this stretch so you’re unlikely to see all that many cars along the way.

When you’ve completed the walk and have arrived at the road, be sure to turn left to travel in the right direction back to the parking area.

Option 3: Return via the Brindle Creek Walking Track


If you’d prefer to soak up the beauty of the forest for a little longer, simply return back via the way you came along the Brindle Creek Walking Track.

The first 2km will all be downhill until you reach the river and things flatten out which should make your hiking time slightly faster on the way back.

Where To Stay For The Border Ranges

Its remote location means that accommodation is somewhat limited around the Border Ranges.

If you’re not camping within the national park, Kyogle makes an ideal base for exploring and is just 50 minutes from the Brindle Creek Walk. If you choose to stay on the eastern side of the park, you’ll find a few options around Lillian Rock and Mount Burrell.

Border Ranges Camping


Sheepstation Creek Campground   |   Located near the far western border of the national park, this basic campground is suitable for everything from tents to caravans. Picnic and barbecue facilities are available but you’ll need to bring in your own drinking water. Check rates and availability here.

Forest Tops Campground   |   Forest Tops lies a few minutes from the Brindle Creek trailhead and is the smaller of the two campgrounds with space for just three tents. Similar to Sheepstation Creek, you’ll have access to picnic and barbecue facilities but will need to bring in your own drinking water. Check rates and availability here.

Both campgrounds are operated by the national park and bookings are essential.

brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park
brindle creek walking track. border ranges national park

Border Ranges Accommodation


The Dollhouse Cottage   |   This cute little cottage is located on a hobby farm in the lush foothills of the Border Ranges just 10 minutes north of Kyogle. You’ll find everything you need for a cosy weekend getaway immersed in nature, including a fully equipped kitchen and supplies for a home-cooked breakfast. Check rates and availability here.

Kyogle Country Inn   |   Set along the Summerland Way just south of Kyogle, this motel is a decent choice for an affordable stay in town. All rooms are equipped with a kitchenette, comfortable beds and Netflix, while others include a spa bath. Check rates and availability here.

Silk Pavilions Glamping   |  Located in the serene countryside near Mount Burrell, these luxury safari tents are beautifully decorated with a spacious patio perfect for kicking back and enjoying the sunset over the treetops. Limited wifi and reception on site. Check rates and availability here.

Tips For The Brindle Creek Walk

Reception Is limited


Reception is fairly spotty across the Border Ranges National Park so it’s a good idea to download any offline maps or other research you may need before arriving.

Deep in the forests of Brindle Creek, reception is limited for the entire way but does improve somewhat as you reach the top of the Antarctic Beech Forest.

Don’t Forget the Park Fees


Border Ranges National Park does come with day use fee of $8 per vehicle, per day. When you enter at either end of the park, you’ll pass a large information panel which has a stash of envelopes for payment in exact cash (there’s no change provided).

For those camping in the park, the day fees are in addition to any camping fees.

If you’re a keen hiker who visits numerous national parks throughout the year, the far better option is to buy an annual Multi Parks Pass online which is valid for all NSW national parks (except Kosciuszko).

The road is unsealed


All the roads through the Border Ranges are unsealed though generally in very good condition and easily manageable in a 2WD.

In fact, the worst sections lie outside of the national park on the approach along Forest Road or when leaving via the southern point towards Lillian Rock where the roads are rather rough and strewn with large, loose gravel.

brindle creek walk. border ranges national park

Mind the Mud


In the depths of this ancient rainforest where limited sunlight is able to penetrate through the canopy and the cool humidity clings to every surface, much of the trail that weaves alongside Brindle Creek is very muddy.

I’d definitely recommend wearing waterproof hiking boots to avoid any soggy feet (I love my Scarpa Hiking Boots) and to help ward off the small critters you might encounter in the sodden ground, such as …

Watch out for leeches


Like a lot of damp Aussie rainforests after the last two years of record rainfall, you’re likely to encounter the odd leech in these parts. While I only found a couple on the Brindle Creek Walk (there were far more on the Bar Mountain circuit), if you’re here in the height of summer, it’s fairly likely there will be a few on the trail.

A good pair of boots will help you detect them before they can worm their way too far, otherwise carrying salt and hand sanitiser are also a good idea.

There are shorter walks available


If you don’t have time to complete the entire hike but still want to get a taste of this spectacular rainforest, there are two other short trails departing from the Brindle Creek picnic area that will give you a beautiful introduction to the area.

The Helmholtzia Loop is a 1km circuit that begins along the same path as the Brindle Creek Walk before crossing over the river and returning to the picnic area along the northern bank. Named for the rare helmholtzia or stream lily which grows along the river, this beautiful circuit guides you through the rainforest on an easy trail that can be completed in about 30 minutes.

The Red Cedar Loop lies opposite the Brindle Creek trailhead and is an easy 750m walk that weaves alongside the river and past an enormous cedar tree that is estimated to be a thousand years old. This trail is simply lovely and even if you’ve already completed the Brindle Creek Walk, I reckon this one is still worthwhile.

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