Jilliby State Conservation Area
Muirs lookout at Jilliby State Conservation Area displays amazing scenic views from the Watagan Range overlooking neighbouring townships.
- What to
- Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
- Please note
- The roads in this park are accessible by 4WD only
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go birdwatching
No trip to Jilliby State Conservation Area would be complete without taking the time to enjoy awe-inspiring scenic views from Muirs lookout.
Gaze miles out along the mountains and eucalypt forests of Watagan Range, with panoramic views to the east over semi-rural communities - Mandalong and Morisset, as well as Lake Macquarie, included.
If you enjoy birdwatching, be sure to bring your binoculars. There are many interesting bird species that call Jilliby State Conservation Area home. At night you might be lucky enough to see the threatened sooty, barking, masked or powerful owls.
Tall eucalypts framing the view across the coast make Muirs lookout an idyllic spot to spread out and enjoy a peaceful picnic or even just a cup of tea to take in the naturally beautiful surroundings.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/lookouts/muirs-lookout/local-alerts
- National Parks Contact Centre
- 7am to 7pm daily
- 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) for the cost of a local call within Australia excluding mobiles
- in Jilliby State Conservation Area in the Sydney and surrounds and North Coast regions
Jilliby State Conservation Area is always open but some sections may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
All the practical information you need to know about Muirs lookout.
Getting there and parking
Muirs lookout is in the eastern precinct of Jilliby State Conservation Area. To get there:
From the F3 expressway:
- Take the Cooranbong/Morisset exit to Freemans Drive and turn left at the roundabout.
- Follow Freemans Drive west to Cooranbong
- Turn left onto Martinsville Road then left onto Wattagan Road – the uphill section becomes Martinsville Hill Road (unsealed).
- Proceed west to Watagan Forest Road then turn left and follow Watagan Forest Road to Prickly Ridge Road
- Turn left, heading east to the lookout about 3km along.
Alternative Route (4WD preferred):
- From the F3 expressway take the Cooranbong/Morisset exit ramp.
- Follow Mandalong Road west to Tobins Road then turn right onto Prickly Ridge Road
- Follow uphill to Muirs lookout
Note: Prickly Ridge Road is subject to road closures due to wet weather and vehicle damage.
Check the weather before you set out as Prickly Ridge Road to Muirs lookout can become boggy when it rains. The roads in Jilliby State Conservation Area are unsealed and accessible by 4WD only.
- Unsealed roads
- All roads require 4WD vehicle
- Dry weather only
Parking is available at the adjacent carpark, a short walk from the attraction.
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Jilliby State Conservation Area. Here are some of the highlights.
Cooler months are a great time to jump in your 4WD and go for a car touring adventure to enjoy the forests in all their autumn glory.
Spring is a perfect time to enjoy long bushwalks, bike rides and horseback rides through the parks many trails.
When the weather is too hot to work up a sweat, enjoy a picnic in the beautiful picnic areas at Muirs lookout and Stoney Ridge.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
17°C and 27°C
7°C and 17°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
You’re encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves, especially in summer during the fire season.
- Non-flush toilets
- Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - hard
- Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty
Firewood is not supplied and may not be collected from the park.
Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.
NSW national parks are no smoking areas.
Muirs lookout is in Jilliby State Conservation Area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
A history of booming trade
The mountainous ranges and heavily timbered gullies of Watagan Range were a physical barrier to exploration and development. Jilliby was on the western side of Tuggerah Lakes and Lake Munmorah as the colony of Sydney began to expand. These ranges soon were exploited to provide valuable, marketable timber using nearby waterways for transport. Government licences were issued to a small number of sawyers to cut red cedar in the ranges west of Tuggerah and Lake Macquarie. The early colonial cedar trade saw most of the cedar shipped off to England to supply an insatiable market for fine softwoods. Hardwood fed a building boom from the 1860s and provided sleepers for the northern railway line.
Jilliby is an important cultural and historical area for Aboriginal people. There are more than 40 recorded Aboriginal sites in Jilliby, and the adjacent Watagans National Park also includes art sites, axe-grinding grooves and open campsites. Awabakal and Darkinjung People were the original inhabitants of Watagan Range, which once provided a rich range of food sources, including plant foods such as fruit, acacia, grass seeds and nectar. Fish and freshwater shellfish were fished from the rivers, and local wallabies, kangaroos, possums, lizards and even insects were all part of the local diet.
Unique plants and animals
Jilliby is a natural wonderland filled with an enormous diversity of plant species and native vegetation. Wandering through, you'll discover tall moist eucalypt forests flourishing with mountain blue gum and blue-leaved stringybark. There are also drier forest areas that will enchant you with forest oak, Sydney peppermint, and broad-leaved white mahogany. Pockets of paperbark palm forests, and warm-temperate as well as subtropical rainforest occur in sheltered gullies and creeklines.
- Muirs lookout Muirs lookout at Jilliby State Conservation Area displays amazing scenic views from the Watagan Range overlooking neighbouring townships.