Looking for a fantastic place to play on a natural watercourse on a hot day? A visit to Basket Swamp Falls can include free-camping in the adjacent Boonoo State Forest as well as fresh-water fun in northern NSW.

Basket Swamp, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
Spotted with granite boulders, Basket Swamp consists of over 200 hectares of heaths and sedges that filter the water that eventually flows into the Clarence River.

Basket Swamp National Park is about 20km north of Tenterfield and part of the granite belt’s wondrous region of untouched beauty. The isolation of this national park — coupled with the lack of “proper” facilities — means that it remains underused and almost pristine.

Although it’s dirt, the track to Basket Swamp Falls is graded and suitable for all vehicles in dry weather. Although we planned to spend all day at the falls, the changing weather made me feel nervous. I didn’t want to get bogged on a muddy dirt road in the middle of nowhere — however beautiful it may be!

Basket Swamp Falls, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
The mist is still hanging over the watercourse as we scope out the top of the cascades.

Basket Swamp Falls, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
The colour of the strata on the rocks is beautiful in its detail.

Basket Swamp Falls, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
Shallow pools slowly fill to the brim and over the side to the rocks below. We're visiting during a dry spell and there's very little water coming down the creek.

Basket Swamp Falls, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
On a hot summer's day, this would be a great place to hang out and play in the cool water. Today we're hopping over the shallows, intent on staying dry.

Instead of clambering down the rocks which were pretty slippery, we elected to take the short trek via a fire trail from the top of the falls to the bottom. The track is maintained for use by 4WD park-ranger vehicles and so is the equivalent of a very steep dirt road.

Basket Swamp, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
Below the falls, we cross one of the many small creeks that empty the nearby swamp.

Basket Swamp Falls, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
In the background, Basket Swamp Falls trickles down the rockface. There's almost a constant water flow all year round, but its quantity varies enormously.

Basket Swamp Falls, Basket Swamp National Park, outside Tenterfield, July 2014
The girls spy this little beach — the perfect place to have a picnic while others play in the water — but the weather sends us scurrying back to the shelter of our vehicle.

Colourful bark on the background of moss, July 2014
As we start back up the track, this mottled bark catches my eye.

Gum leaf sparkling with water drops, July 2014
The mist has rested on a low gum leaf, leaving it sparkling.

Driving along Lindrook Rd to and from the cascades, we spotted wallabies, kangaroos and colourful parrots. A longer stay in this isolated park would surely reveal more native wildlife although a large sign gave notice that regulated hunting is permitted in this location. I’d like to come back again when the weather is conducive for swimming, and I know the girls will agree!