Lower Portals

Mt Barney National Park
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This was my first overnight hike. It was challenging, but not ridiculous. A good beginners walk.
I highly recommend going for a dip in the creek even in Winter. It was like an ice bath for my tired muscles :)

Maximum Elevation
Total Climb

Getting there

You access the walking track from the end of Lower Portals Rd which comes of Upper Logan Rd, just out of Rathdowney.


Maps of Mt Barney area are recommended for this walk with 1:25 000 topographical map being recommended for safety. (e.g. 1:25 000 Maroon)

Route/Trail notes

The walk has moderate to steep grading and at times becomes quite challenging. It mainly consists of walking up and down ridges before it comes to the small stream containing the Lower Portals. It takes approximately 3 hours return from the carpark on Lower Portals Rd.

Upstream from the first crossing, say 1klm you can follow a steep track up and over a ridge (500mtrs)  back down to the stream where there is fabulous scenery everywhere. and from there you can slowly make your way to Mt Barney Falls about 700mtrs on the left of the creek (when heading up from the lower portals). Appears only after a bit of rain. If it has been dry I'd say it would just look like a cliff. There is signs of water that show its there if you happen to come across it when it's dried up. Would be amazing to see tho after a good down pour as the area this waterfall takes up is massive. 


There are no permits needed. The cost is also Nil. There are very limited camping spots at the end of the walk near the Lower portals, and permits may be required to make use of them. 

Other References

More information can be obtained from the following government website




The walk on the way in is dry. You go up and down hills.
You can swim to the rushing water and use the rope to hoist yourself up and the water cave is on the left.
You will be happier if you wear aqua shoes.
By the time you walk back to the car you will need another swim.

Chesspeople on 14 Oct, 2020

Started around 9am, pretty hot old walk with average sparse eucalypt forest scenery on the way (not huge amounts to see on the way in). Took us about 1.5 hours with a gentle pace and a few rest stops (yes quite a bit of up and down along the way!).

Rock pools were amazing. I suspect the 'cave' that other comments below refer to has since been filled in? We could see the start of it but only a few meters before huge boulders blocked the path.

Quite a few swimming but I just took my shoes off and dipped hands and feet (water was fresh but not cold at all).

Had lunch and filled up water from flowing stream (very nice). Also checked out the campsites - would be amazing to stay there one night. Met a guy who had been up there for the past 6 hours and had just gone 'everywhere' he said. So if you have the fitness you can do hours of exploring up and down the river and surrounding peaks. We just sat down on some rocks overlooking the 'main' pool, ate lunch and spent an hour or so just 'taking it in'.

Walk back to carpark was lot hillier than we remembered getting there, plus the heat of the day at 2pm made it very draining and thirsty work for novice hikers.

Matt D on 20 Sep, 2020

8km return from carpark.
Took us 2hr40 plus an hours stop at the pools.
Fairly hard due to constant up and down-hills but beautiful scenery at the pools!
Would definitely do again in summer and go for a proper dip.

Lydia on 30 Aug, 2020

Nice walk some short uphill slots but easily done if fit. Nice waterhole at end. Lovely campsite

Adalynn on 31 Jul, 2020

Not a bad walk. Took us about 50 minutes to get there from the car park. Then we went for some further exploring over the other side, had morning tea in a cave to shelter from the rain and then went down to explore further upstream.

It was slow going upstream because there were a lot of slippery boulders to negotiate and no real clear trail. The water was crystal clear but ice cold as it was winter, so no swimming for me!!

First part of the hike, easy as. Minimum to moderate fitness required if you go at a steady pace. It's fairly up and down and the terrain is kinda rough with roots and rocks everywhere. The second part of the hike, upstream, is a fair bit more challenging. You have to climb a steep hillside and come down the other side and follow the stream along. You will need grippy shoes because those boulders are super slippery. Nearly ended up in the drink a few times. If attempting this part make sure you have good balance and gear you don't mind getting wet.

Nittus on 28 Jun, 2020

Tough but rewarding walk for an old fat bloke! A lot of ups and a lot of downs but the Lower Portals themselves are an awesome place for a break/lunch/camp before turning around and coming back. The track itself is easy to follow but not very scenic along the way. Tough in parts going steep uphill if you're unfit like me ;)

Once we can camp overnight we will go back ;)

David Read on 23 May, 2020


Mackamcb on 17 May, 2020

It was great to see the bush recovering from the bush fires last year. At times there were views of Mt Barney and Mt Maroon. It was very dry and dusty, so ensure that you take your water.
We are not as agile as we once were, so we found it challenging to get across the boulders to see the small waterfall at the end of the portals. This is the highlight of the walk as the reflections are fantastic. Very peaceful and relaxing.
There was a lot of up and downs and we were glad to get back to the car park

Shazlex on 17 May, 2020

This walk was longer than I had anticipated, especially given I’d forgotten good shoes & was hiking in thongs. Beautiful swimming & scenery at the portals. I would do it again, with better shoes

Ang on 23 Mar, 2020

Great walk. Really dry atm but still a bit of water in the rock pool. Lovely peaceful spot. 6 year old hiked it too.

Melkrel on 3 Sep, 2019

Great walk a 3.5 hours return with a ten year old and stopped for lunch at the portals.

Chris on 2 Jul, 2019

Good walk, some steps and uneven ground from memory. Rewarded with swimming holes at the end. The cave "blow hole" at the portals was fun to climb through!

Michelle Suzanne on May, 2019

Fairly easy walk through the scrub, love the waterholes, waterfalls/cascades, it was just beautiful today, crystal clear, perfect for swimming.

Philwalks on 29 Apr, 2019

My friend and I camped at Mount Barney lodge and drove to Mount Barney NP to start the walk. It's about 90 mins one way , so about 3 hours walking in total. There had been some good rain prior to our walk so the water was flowing and was very clean and fresh, if a little cold. There's an option to camp further downstream from the rock pools. It's such a beautiful place so I think would be best enjoyed camping there for a few days, so you can really relax and take in the natural surroundings . The walk to and from the Portals is relatively easy going but has a few hilly sections to negotiate, therefore moderatly good fitness is required. Definitely a place worth adding to the bushwaking itinerary.

Wayne's Walking Adventures on 27 Apr, 2019

Camped with son. Beautiful as always and great being there without the crowds.

Richard Mason on 2 Mar, 2019

Take lots of water in the summer months, as the path holds a lot of heat. Good, easy to follow track to the lower portals- spotted a couple of snakes on the walk. The water was cold, but so refreshing. Rock hop through the gorge- there’s a rope to help yourself up over the main rockpool.

Nickii & Nouri on 17 Feb, 2019

Beautiful waterhole for swimming at the end- was a bit of rock scrambling to reach it. Track was graded and easy to follow.

Mittens83 on 10 Feb, 2019

Struggled with this walk due to heat, despite bringing over 2litres of water. If hiking in summer double to amount of water you estimate you'll need and set off no later the 9AM. There is little to no shade on this walk so it takes it's toll. Wear appropriate footwear.
Swimming hole is very scenic!

Bmonro on 26 Jan, 2019

A pretty solid walk in to get to the pools. The water is pretty dang cold but it’s nice after the long walk. You won’t be able to bring your phone or camera up into the rock pools with you unless it’s waterproof. We saw catfish and eels in the main swimming hole. To get up to the waterfalls and rock pools you have to climb up a massive boulder, there is a rope attached but definitely need some upper body strength to pull yourself up. Be super careful on the rocks as they are slippery as I found out the hard way, I fell and banged my knee and it was not a fun walk back to the car park.

Natalie Lagerroth on 10 Jan, 2019

A swim on new years day

drewmac on 1 Jan, 2019


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