Muogamarra Nature Reserve

Overview

Muogamarra Nature Reserve is an extraordinary place to view wildflowers in spring, just north of Sydney. It opens just 6 weekends a year, preserving the fragile ecosystems and Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Read more about Muogamarra Nature Reserve

Visit Muogamarra in spring as the reserve transforms into a brilliant display of colour when wildflowers come into bloom. You’ll see waratahs, majestic angophoras, old-man banksias, pink boronias and delicate native orchids. The reserve is home to many native animals like echidnas, and birdwatchers might glimpse a soaring wedge-tail eagle or an iconic lyrebird.

To visit Muogamarra Nature Reserve, join a Discovery guided tour and discover the secrets of this special place from our volunteer guides. You'll get the chance to see Aboriginal rock engravings and learn about the area's significance on a Muogamarra Indigenous heritage walk. 

If you'd prefer to take things at your own pace, simply pack a picnic and a pair of binoculars and take in spectacular views on a self-guided walk. This is only possible during one of the 6 weekends that the reserve is open to the public though. If you're interested in a self-guided walk, please contact Kalkari Discovery Centre for information on walking track options.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/muogamarra-nature-reserve/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Muogamarra Nature Reserve.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Sydney:

    • Head north towards Newcastle on the F3 Freeway and take the Berowra exit
    • Turn right onto the Pacific Highway and follow it past Cowan
    • The park entrance is on your left, approximately 3km north of Cowan.

    From Gosford/Newcastle:

    • Head south on the F3 Freeway and take the Mooney Mooney exit
    • Follow the Old Pacific Highway across the Hawkesbury River towards Cowan
    • The park entrance is on your right, approximately 6km from the freeway exit.

    Park entry points

    By bike

    Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

    By public transport

    The nearest train station to Muogamarra Nature Reserve is Cowan Station, on the Newcastle and Central Coast line. Cowan Station is approximately 6km from the reserve. For information about public transport options, visit the NSW transport info website.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of wonderful things waiting for you in Muogamarra Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.

    Spring

    Experience the extraordinary display of vibrant colours during the spring wildflower season between 12 August to 17 September.

    Discovery tours

    Visit Muogamarra on a Discovery tour with one of our trained guides. If you only have a few hours, take an easy stroll on the Bird Gully walk or the Lloyd Trig walk and enjoy panoramic views and amazing birdwatching. Or, if you have the time to spare, spend the day walking along historic convict roadworks on the Peats Bight walk.  Discovery tours are very popular, so early bookings are recommended.

    Self-guided walks

    If you prefer to explore the area at your own pace, there are several self-guided walks available, ranging from short trails, like the J D Tipper loop, to challenging six-hour adventures like the Peats Crater walk. Take the Point Loop trail for an easy stroll amongst the wildflowers, or follow the old convict roads on the Lloyd Trig and Deerubbin Lookover walks. Pack a picnic, unroll your picnic blanket and enjoy the panoramic views from the various vantage points along the way. 

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    Annual passes are not valid for entry to Muogamarra Nature Reserve. 

    Annual passes and entry fees (http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees)

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Hornsby (19 km)

    A suburb in Sydney's upper north shore, Hornsby is conveniently located for easy access to Lane Cove National Park, Berowra Valley Regional Park, and the heritage-listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park - Australia's second-oldest national park. Explore walking and cycling tracks and Aboriginal sites, as well as marinas, cafes and picnic areas.

    www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au

    Gosford (34 km)

    Gosford is a great destination for a family day trip or holiday. It's situated on Brisbane Water National Park and surrounded by state forests, lakes and beaches.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Parramatta (39 km)

    Parramatta offers a fascinating insight into early colonial life in Australia. Don't miss a visit to Old Government House, now one of 11 Australian Convict Sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

    www.sydney.com

    Learn more

    Muogamarra Nature Reserve is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Wildlife

    Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa). Photo: Simone Cottrell

    For plant-lovers, it’s hard to find an area so diverse in unique plant life. There are over 900 plant species found in Muogamarra – an extraordinary amount given its relatively small size and proximity to the city. The spring wildflower displays will dazzle visitors with their bright colours. Get up close and see beautiful displays of native orchids, bright pink eriostemons, pink boronias and towering Gymea lilies. With such beautiful surroundings, it’s no wonder so many native animals make their home at Muogamarra. Fourteen species of native mammals, including the swamp wallaby, brush tail possum and echidna reside here. Also, 16 reptile species and 140 native birds have been recorded in the area. Spend a day exploring while listening to the laughing calls of the kookaburra and see if you can spot some wildlife on the trail ahead.

    Rich in Aboriginal significance

    Western Lookout, Muogamarra Nature Reserve. Photo: Tegan Burton/OEH

    When you step into Muogamarra Country, you are on the traditional lands of the Guringai people. The Guringai lived in the area for at least 20,000 years prior to European settlement, making extensive use of the Hawkesbury River and adjacent ridgelines. Evidence of Aboriginal heritage can be seen in engravings and shell middens found throughout the reserve: discover the significance of Muogamarra to Aboriginal people today on a Muogamarra Indigenous heritage walk.

    Fascinating landscapes

    Lookout at Muogamarra Nature Reserve. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Hawkesbury sandstone is the most common geological feature found within Muogamarra Nature Reserve and forms the extensive plateau on which you'll explore. Impressive volcanic pipes filled with solidified magma (a type of diatreme) can also be found at Peats Crater and Peats Bight. The volcanic rocks from these diatremes house a striking deep red soil which is rich in nutrients and fantastic nourishment for the plants which grow here.

    A snapshot of colonial times gone by

    Sandstone wall in Muogamarra Naure Reserve. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    You'll also find remnants of colonial history at Muogamarra. During the 1830s and 1840s, several roads were built throughout the area, providing vital transport routes between Sydney and the Hawkesbury River. Remains of dry stone walls, culverts and foundations of earlier buildings can be found in the reserve.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Brush tail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

      One of the most widespread of Australian tree-dwelling marsupials, the common brushtail possum is found across most of NSW in woodlands, rainforests and urban areas. With strong claws, a prehensile tail and opposable digits, these native Australian animals are well-adapted for life amongst the trees.

    Plants

    • Waratah. Photo: Barry Collier

      Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

      The beautiful waratah is not only the NSW floral emblem, it's also one of the best-known Australian native plants. This iconic Australian bush flower can be found on sandstone ridges around Sydney, in nearby mountain ranges and on the NSW South Coast. The waratah has a vibrant crimson flowerhead, measuring up to 15cm across, and blossoms in spring.

    • Scribbly gum. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

      Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

    • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

      Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

    • Grey mangrove. Photo: Shane Rumming

      Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

      Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Muogamarra Nature Reserve has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Preserving biodiversity

    Muogamarra Nature Reserve part of a system of national parks and nature reserves which ajoins the lower Hawkesbury River. This reserve protects the catchments of a number of streams which flow into Berowra Creek and the lower Hawkesbury River. As far as possible the natural abundance, structure and diversity of all native plant and animals species and communities will be conserved through ongoing management initiatives of NPWS.

    Conservation program

    BioNet

    Uniting technology with the vast collection of information on biodiversity in NSW, BioNet is a valuable database open to any user. From individual plant sightings to detailed scientific surveys, it offers a wealth of knowledge about ecology and threatened species in NSW. 

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Muogamarra Nature Reserve has high cultural and biodiversity values. Pests and weeds can have an impact on these. Pest reduction takes place to manage species which threaten the values of this reserve, and ongoing risk assessment to idenitfy new and emerging weeds, plays an important part of the work NPWS does to protect it for the future.

    Conservation program

    Regional pest management strategies

    Weeds and pest animals cause substantial damage to agriculture and our environment, so it’s essential we manage them in NSW national parks and reserves. Our regional pest management strategies aim to minimise the impact of pests on biodiversity in NSW.  We work hard to protect our parks and neighbours from pests and weeds, ensuring measurable results.

    Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

    There is evidence of post-European settlement in Muogamarra Nature Reserve dating as far back as 1789. Muogamarra still contains a number of sites and structures associated with these early European uses of the reserve, including the foundations of buildings at Peats Bight; dry stone walls, earthenware pipes and flagstones along the Peats Bight trail; holes which supported the fence and tent school on the rock platform; and engravings dating from the nineteenth century. Conservation and interpretation initiatives will be prepared and implemented to ensure the ongoing preservation of historic heritage within this reserve.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    The Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation recognises Berowra as the boundary between the two groups, with the Darug people to the west (Marramarra National Park and Maroota Historic Site) and the Ku-ring-gai people to the east of the creek (Muogamarra Nature Reserve). Aboriginal sites within Muogamarra will be preserved and managed in partnership with Aboriginal people, and any work undertaken within the park will be modified as necessary to preserve and avoid impact on cultural sites.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Conservation program

    Hazard reduction program

    Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a three-pronged approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to fuel like dead wood, NPWS conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and community.

    Lookout at Muogamarra Nature Reserve. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk