Tomalpin is a large flat-topped hill south of Abermain, in the Werakata National Park. To its west was a coal mine which is no longer operational. The mine site is now occupied by Valley Feeds, and is not accessible. It provides a good view from the top, mostly to the north. The tracks to the top become quite steep, making this a moderately hard walking track.
To access Tomalpin from the southern approach, drive along Hebburn Rd, either from the Abermain end, or from the Lake Rd entrance at Elrington until the southern corner of the old colliery is reached. All roads are graded gravel and a slow speed is recommended as the condition of the road varies. The colliery is easily identified by the large chimney. Find a suitable park for your vehicle, and set out on foot on the road which traverses to the east, commencing just south of the property owned by Hunter Valley Feeds. Note this property is privately owned and should not at any stage be entered.
The vegetation along this track shows ironbark and spotted gum, with Melaleuca especially in the creek-lines. At the point of turning from this road some young turpentine trees are present.
Once past Hunter Valley Feeds the first road on the left brings you back to the eastern edge of the property.
Before this is reached a small creek-line shows some older paperbark trees (Melaleuca). On coming close to the property a sign reminds you that this was once a thriving coal mine.
Follow this road along the fenceline. Numerous small flowering shrubs are present along the side of this track, eg
A few hundred metres along a track to the right is found. Follow this towards Tomalpin.
After crossing a small gully there is a track to the right which obviously goes up, and the way to the top becomes apparent. This track is steep and badly eroded, having been used by trail bike riders.
Once at the top the track which goes to the right gives views to the east. The track to the left goes to the trig station and a lookout to the north and north-east. The top is relatively flat. Click here to see the view to the north.
Another approach to the summit can be made from the north-east. From Hebburn road is another running north, which is labelled "Hospital Road". This road is transected a few kilometres northward by high voltage power lines (metal towers). Walking from this point up the hill, the route is self-evident, and again quite eroded, a legacy, it would appear, of the numerous trail bikes which have ascended this route.
Much of the area has shown quick recovery from a in 2003. The spotted gums have lost their blackened bark, as have the grey gums. Cycads are numerous, two types, including Macrozamia spiralis. Numerous finger orchids (Caledenia alba) may be present, both white and pink. Both Greenhood and Gnat Orchids may be present on the slopes in July/August.
On the upper slopes are some fascinating sandstone formations. Some of the larger ones are used by kangaroos, whilst others give shelter to a range of smaller animals.
The following photos show some of the variety of flora present.
This is an incomplete flora list, but gives an indication of what can be seen:
- Spotted Gum
- Grey Gum
- Forest Oak
- Cherry Ballart
- Mountain Grevillea
- Narrow-leaf Geebung
- Greenhood Orchids
- Gnat Orchids
- Kangaroo Grass
- Grass Trees
- Yellow Buttons
- Falcate Wattle
- Acacia elongata
- Native Fig
- Apple Berry