Rising 260m above the surrounding bushland, the water streaked massive dome is 750m long and 500m wide, making it the largest exposed granite rock in the Southern Hemisphere. Bald Rock is huge, beautiful and humbling. From the summit you have spectacular view of the NSW tablelands from the top making the steep climb all the more worthwhile!
Almost straddling the border of New South Wales and Queensland, Bald Rock National Park is to the south of the border, which in turn abuts Girraween National Park on the Queensland side. You can approach both spots from either Tenterfield from the south or Stanthorpe from the north and either spot is well worth a stop.
2 Ways Up Bald Rock
1. There is a gentle 2.5km climb to the summit. Duck under rock archways, squeeze through sinuously shaped canyons and wind your way around a field of boulders – poetically called “granite titans” – a tumble of colossal rocks precariously balanced on each other softened by the covering of lichen, moss and a floor spotted with flowering lilies.
2. Straight up the face of the rock which is a much shorter version but definitely steep enough to know you have leg muscles and a pair of lungs…
I decided to go up the granite face and do the borders track coming down. It’s much easier to do it in the opposite order, but I was up for a challenge.
We got to the summit and stared in awe of the Queensland plains below before we had a quick bite at the top with coffee (coffee with a view, always).
The ‘adamellite’ granite which forms Bald Rock was created some 247 million years ago when a dome of molten magma from the earth’s mantle pushed up under the existing metamorphic and sedimentary rock then cooled to form adamellite. Subsequent uplift and erosion has removed the softer surrounding sediments and metamorphic rocks, with Bald Rock remaining as a result of the adamellite granite’s resistance to weathering.
The region surrounding Bald Rock also boasts many similar formations such as spectacular granite domes, tors and balancing rocks comprised mainly of a type of granite known as Stanthorpe Adamellite.
The round trip takes 3 hours. Make sure you wear some good rubber soled shoes- there’s nothing to grab on with seep rock face. The area is cool in winter (to put it mildly) and although it is a welcome change as you walk or in the middle of summer, you’re still exposed to Australian sunshine and definitely need a hat and sunscreen… Speaking of Australia, there is an abundance of wildlife (we saw lots of wallabies) including numerous venomous snakes in the area and you. Keep a sharp eye out for them, especially during warmer months- avoid them- stay still and wait for them to pass if you spot one.
To get to Bald Rock from Tenterfield turn right at the northern end of Tenterfield into the signposted Woodenbong Road. Follow it north for 29kms through grazing lands and forest, passing the turnoffs to Basket Swamp and Boonoo Boonoo national parks. The road crosses over Boonoo Boonoo River and Carrolls Creek, and you’ll see a sign at the junction of the Woodenbong Road and the park access road directing you (left) into Bald Rock. Follow the sealed access road for 5km to the picnic and camping areas.
The national parks have basic camping grounds with gas-fired barbecues, toilets and picnic tables. (fees apply – www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au)
i definitely advise you to stay at the Boulder Lodge where we stayed. It’s about 15 minutes from the national park with an amazing view over the plains and south to the NSW Tablelands. As impressive as this view is, you will be drawn to the place, loving the structure and design so fittingly moulder around a large granite rock of its own.