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Watagans National Park

Important information

Alerts for Watagans National Park: closed areas


Updated: 01/05/2015 05:08 PM

“It’s like time-travelling. Aboriginal art sites, settlement relics and lush rainforest that pre-dates it all. I love that I can mountain bike through whole centuries in one day.”

Watagans National Park boasts some of the country’s finest rainforest scenery. Moss-covered walls and boulders, towering canopies of red cedar and Illawarra flame trees pepper the walking track to Gap Creek Falls. You can also expect extraordinary views down toward rainforest gullies at Monkey Face and Gap Creek lookouts.

The Watagan Mountains also house a rich cultural heritage; more than 40 Aboriginal sites highlight art and engraving techniques, and remnants from previous forestry operations showcase settlement history in the area.

Bangalow and Gap Creek campgrounds provide overnight comfort for those who wish to continue exploring; you can pitch a tent next to your car and take advantage of the free barbecue areas and picnic tables available to you.

Whether you arrive with a walking, cycling or 4WD tour in mind, remember to bring your sense of adventure as you’ll discover new things to do every time you visit.


Why you should visit

Watagans National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

Fascinating Aboriginal landscapes
The park is of great importance to the Awabakal and Darkinjung people, and rare insights into art and engraving techniques have been found at over 40 recorded locations in the Watagan Range and surrounding lands. Given that there are only six known Aboriginal engraving sites in the wider Sydney region, this one is particularly noteworthy for its display of more than 100 abstract motifs carved into walls throughout the park.

Building a nation
Log chutes and old saw mill sites used during past forestry operations still stand among the plants as a testament to the region’s rich settlement history. By the 1820s, a fertile timber industry had established itself, providing cedar and hardwood from the area to the building and growing coal mining industries. Increased timber production provided employment and wealth to the region, and you can still see relics from these operations throughout the park.

Blossoming rainforest
The area is rich in plant life, producing moist forests and a wealth of plant species. Mountain blue gums and blackbutt trees shelter the smaller brush cherry, climbing vines and tree ferns. Across late winter and into early spring, colourful orange-coloured banksias, brilliant purple happy wanderers, and the many hues of yellow wattle trees all flower in bright abundance.

Breathtaking views
From Monkey Face lookout, there are spectacular views down over Martinsville Valley, and 6km along Georges Road to the north, Narrow Place lookout provides a 180-degree panorama toward Cessnock, Hunter Valley and beyond the Barrington Ranges. There are so many ways to enjoy the scenery, whether by horse riding, 4WD touring in the wetter months, mountain bike riding or pulling into a shaded picnic area to cool down after a walk.

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closed areas

This park is closed due to severe storm damage, downed trees and powerlines, and impassable roads. The park is not expected to open until mid-May, unless the closure is otherwise extended or removed. Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact NPWS Lakes Area office on (02) 4972 9000 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.
(Ends Wednesday 20 May)

Getting there


The roads in Watagans National Park are unsealed, and accessible by 2WD in dry conditions only. 4WDs should be used at all other times. Gates and roads may be temporarily closed to prevent damage when wet, please contact the NPWS Lake Munmorah office on (02) 4972 9000 for more information.

From Newcastle:

  • Travel south along the F3 Expressway and take the Awaba exit at Ryhope
  • Turn right onto Cessnock Road and then left onto Freemans Drive at Freemans Waterhole
  • Turn right onto Mount Faulk Road from Freemans Drive just after crossing over the F3 expressway for the second time
  • Follow Mount Faulk Road uphill into the park

From Gosford:

  • Travel north along the F3 Expressway and take the Morriset/Coorangbong exit near Freemans Waterhole
  • Turn left into Freemans Drive, and travel south to Martinsville Road on the left.
  • Follow Martinville Road to Watagan Road on the left and follow uphill to Watagan Forest Road
  • Turn right and follow approximately 6km to the park

From Cessnock:

  • Travel from Cessnock to Kitchener and Quorrobolong via Quorrobolong Road
  • Turn left into Sandy Creek Road and travel east for 5km
  • Turn right into Heaton Road then onto Watagan Road (unsealed) which will bring you to the northern end of the Watagans

Get driving directions


 Opening times

Watagans National Park is always open, but may have to close at times due to poor weather, roads closures or high fire danger.

 Close to

Watagans National Park is close to:

  • Cessnock (30 km)
  • Newcastle (40 km)
  • Gosford (60 km)

 Public transport

There is no public transport to Watagans National Park.


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

Weather and climate

 Visiting through the seasons

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Watagans National Park.

Spring (Sept, Oct, Nov)

  • Camp at Gap Creek or Bangalow campground and enjoy a campfire as the sun sets

Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)

  • Cooling off at Boarding House Dam is especially popular during summer months
  • Enjoy the moist and cool Circuit walking track

Winter (Jun, Jul, Aug)

  • Late winter sees the bloom of Illawara flame trees which can be seen across the valley from Gap Creek lookout
  • Check out the views from the various lookouts, while the air is crisp and clean.



  • The average temperature ranges between 16°C and 30°C
  • The area's highest recorded temperature in summer is 44°C

Winter ­

  • The average temperature ranges between 5°C and 16°C
  • The area’s lowest recorded temperature in winter is -6.7°C


  • The wettest month on average is December, the driest is July.
  • The area's highest recorded rainfall is 91.4mm in one day


Basic supplies are available in the local townships of Cooranbong and Morriset.


Lake Munmorah

Phone: 02 4972 9000
Street address: Blue Wren Drive, Munmorah State Conservation Area
Opening hours: 8:30am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday

Monkey Face lookout hero, Watagans National Park