Sundowner National Park

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 13:48
ThreadID: 5649 Views:3389 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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Can anyone tell me just how rough the tracks are on the Eastern side of Sundowner National Park?

One of the trip guide books suggest they're very rough and shouldn't be visited with anything less than a "well set up 4WD" - plus you shouldn't travel alone.

I have a LWB Frontera with raised suspension that handles the fire breaks around Mt Mee State Forest reasonably well.

Can I expect more difficult driving at Sundowner?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


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Reply By: Kevin - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 14:07

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 14:07
Hello Max,

The first part of the track has 2 options the first being rough but easy the 2nd is just plain hard! after that although the run is rough and slow it is realtivley easy up to Borrows Water Holes (which is the pick of the Camp sites) after that it gets very hard and not for the inexperenced. If you decide to go on past Burrows take recovery gear. I suggest don't take the Frontera further than Camp grounds.

From the park entry although it is only about 5-6ks it will take you over an hour to get to Burrows. you will be traveling over some very rocky tracks however the track is not particularly steep or hilly until you get Burrows.

Now after that the place is stunning and secluded and this time of year the temp will be somewhere -4 at night to about 24-28 during the day.

Let your tyres down at the gate to about 20 -22 PSI.

AnswerID: 23471

Follow Up By: Max6367 - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 16:33

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 16:33
Thanks for the info. Kevin.

I'm planning to head out there (from Brisbane) just yet.

Might wait for it to warm up a bit.

I also have more work to do to improve the ground clearance on the Frontera (esp. ramp over), so I'll have to be patient.

Sounds like it's well worth a visit though.


FollowupID: 15685

Follow Up By: Kevin - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 17:32

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 17:32

I will be heading down that way myself in a couple of months,
happy to hook up when there if timing works out. I live in Brisy so I will be heading from there.

FollowupID: 15692

Follow Up By: Max6367 - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:12

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:12
Hi Kevin,

Let me know when you're planning to head out to Sundown.

Drop me a line at when you've set a date and I'll see if I can squeeze it into the family schedule.


FollowupID: 15983

Reply By: Steve from Armidale - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 14:31

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 14:31

Excellent place. Tracks go from medium with loose rocks to exteme with nice rock crawling over hard rock shelves. About Half way down you might see a "memorial" cairn on your right with a track leading down a steep hill. The cairn consists of broken Landrover axles and unidentified clutch plates and CVs!!!! That track turns into some extreme stuff :) (Yippe)

On a recent trip with the Tamworth 4wd club which attempted most of the hard stuff, only two cars sustained no damage. However the comments re Burrows are correct. Good place to camp, and bloody cold this time of year. Plenty of easy trails as well.

HEMA have a map and the tracks shown are the easy to medium ones.

Steve from Armidale
2001 RV Troopy
AnswerID: 23473

Follow Up By: Max6367 - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 16:35

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 16:35
Hi Steve,

Thanks too for the info.

Sounds like a good place to visit, though I'll have to respect the limitations of my vehicle.


FollowupID: 15686

Reply By: John from River City 4WD Club Inc. - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 18:00

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 18:00

Sundown NP is a good place not to be missed. Very, very rocky though. Have seen Subaru Forresters at Red Rock Gorge. Saw a RAV4 and Niva at Rats Castle. Go with someone else and just take it real slow and easy over the more difficult bits. Our club was there at Easter. Some chose not to do the loop at Rats Castle. Would probably suggest you don't either. Take the track to the left when heading out and then turn around at the Severn River crossing at the end. If you get over the rocks and continue on, you will be faced with some more difficult hills which shouldn't be attempted unless your vehicle is set up for it and you have reasonable offroad experience. Of our 8 vehicles none sustained any damage, but only 3 did the loop at Rats Castle. On your way back out from Red Rock Gorge, if you go left back towards the park entrance, the track is less used and a few years ago required vehicles with good ground clearance.

Totally different terrain to Mt Mee but not necessarily any more challenging than some of the less used tracks at Mt Mee (not the wide forestry roads).
AnswerID: 23496

Follow Up By: Max6367 - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:09

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:09
Thanks John.

Appreciate your advice.


FollowupID: 15982

Reply By: Rod - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 18:02

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003 at 18:02

In previous lives I have taken LWB Suzuki Vitara, LWB Landrover SIII, Landrover Countys etc into Sundown. If my IFS Vitara made it, you will. I have always gone in groups though.

The last loop of track past Rats Castle has a rather washed out and steep hill to negotiate. I wouldn't attempt that on my own unless the track has improved since I was there a year ago (not likely). The tracks out of some of the camp grounds can also be a bit steep and rutted. May take a few goes to get out of.

Trap rock country. Expect your tyres to get a bit chewed.

You will see kangaroos, goats and hares on the grassy slopes on dusk.

From memory, Burrows has pit toilets. Take your own drinking water. The Severn water level fluctuates a fair bit. Sometimes I've seen lots of clear water in the river making some crossings near Rats Castle challenging and other times it has been very dry, with putrid, stagnant pools.

Yikes, it would be cold there now. Not sure how far the Christmas bushfires made it into the park.
AnswerID: 23497

Follow Up By: Max6367 - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:17

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:17
Thanks Rod,

Reckon I might wait a few months for it to warm up before heading out there.

Seems that the Park isn't too tough provided you take your time and chose your way carefully.


FollowupID: 15984

Reply By: tex1972 - Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 19:13

Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 19:13
Just got back from Sundown Last weekend wasn't to cold tracks are pretty rough at the moment. there is still pretty good water in the river but all we caught were Euro carp and two undersize yellow bellies.They had a shoot a couple of weeks ago so the feral animals are a bit flighty.We stayed 2 nights and only saw 2 other vehicles all weekend.give me a email if you want I'll send you a couple of pics showing the tracks.
AnswerID: 24123

Follow Up By: tex1972 - Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 19:17

Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 19:17
forgot my email
FollowupID: 16235

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