Baal Bone Gap picnic area

Gardens of Stone National Park

Overview

Visit the jewel in the crown of Gardens of Stone and marvel at the magnificent rock pagodas, sheer cliffs and endless scenic views of Baal Bone Gap.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Gardens of Stone National Park
Price
Free
Opening times

Baal Bone picnic area is always open, but the road may become impassable in heavy rain.

What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch
  • If you’re camping in the park, please make sure you prepare thoroughly.

If you’re four-wheel driving, head out to Baal Bone Gap for a picnic and some of the finest views in the Blue Mountains. You’ll find huge examples of the rock pagodas that make this part of the mountains unique and see stunning sandstone cliffs and extensive views.

Baal Bone Gap is a popular place to begin a bushwalking exploration of the western end of the park. Enjoy a picnic and head out among the distinctive grass trees for a truly rejuvenating experience, but remember that trails are unmarked and walking in Gardens of Stone is for experienced and well-prepared bushwalkers only.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

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 https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/picnic-areas/baal-bone-gap-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Baal Bone Gap picnic area.

Getting there and parking

Baal Bone Gap is in the Ben Bullen precinct of gardens of Stone National Park. To get there:

  • From Lithgow, follow Castlereagh Highway north to Ben Bullen.
  • Turn right onto the 4WD road to Baal Bone Gap

Road quality

Baal Bone Gap picnic area is suitable for high clearance 4WD vehicles only. There are large ruts and washed out sections in Ben Bullen State Forest that are not suitable for low clearance vehicles.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • All roads require 4WD vehicle

Weather restrictions

  • Dry weather only

Parking

Limited parking is available at Baal Bone Gap picnic area.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Gardens of Stone National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Spring

Experience the wonder of the spring bird migrations and enjoy the flowering season for many of the plant species of the park.

Summer

Though you need to be prepared for hot weather, this can be a great time to explore the pagodas as deep shade falls between them and in the canyons, making for dramatic photographs.

Winter

The light in the mountains is beautiful in winter. Take crystal clear scenic photos from your vantage point on the cliff tops or just marvel at how far you can see from up here.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

8°C and 25°C

Winter temperature

Average

0°C and 9°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

January

Driest month

April

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

135mm

Facilities

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)
  • Fire rings (bring your own firewood)

Carpark

Maps and downloads

You’ll need topographic maps and a compass or a GPS.

Safety messages

This park is in a remote location, so please make sure you’re well-prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.

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.

  • Bushwalking from Baal Bone Gap should only be undertaken by experienced bushwalkers.
  • You’ll need topographic maps and a compass or a GPS.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

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 pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Hartley (32 km)

The small village of Hartley features one of the finest collections of historic buildings in Australia, providing a captivating look into the country's colonial past.

www.visitnsw.com

Katoomba (52 km)

Katoomba is at the heart of most of the stunning natural attractions that make up the Blue Mountains National Park. You can admire deep valleys, sandstone plateaus, waterfalls and native animals from the many walking trails and lookouts near Katoomba.

www.visitnsw.com

Lithgow (25 km)

Hassans Walls Lookout, near Lithgow, is the highest in the Blue Mountains. Admire Mt Wilson, Mt York, Mt Tarana and Mt Blaxland as well as the pretty Hartley Valley below. To the south are the Kanimbla and Megalong valley and Mt Bindo. While there, go for a walk or ride around the lookout.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Baal Bone Gap picnic area is in Gardens of Stone National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

An adventurer's haven

4WD trail in Ben Bullen, Garden of Stone National Park. Photo: David Noble

If it's not enough to view the splendour of the park from your car or the picnic area, perhaps canyoning, mountain-biking the Crown Creek Fire Trail, or climbing Pantoneys Crown or Donkey Mountain are more your style. Come well prepared into this remote and sometimes challenging country, or join one of the private tour companies that bring groups into the park.

  • The Newnes Plateau Cliffs For self-reliant walkers, climbers and mountain bikers, Newnes Plateau is a wonderland of challenging experiences and awe-inspiring views.

Astonishing rock formations

Pagoda, Gardens of Stone National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

The geological evolution of this park has produced Triassic Narrabeen sandstone cliffs, slot canyons, grand mesas and the beautiful, yet often strangely delicate, pagodas. These pagodas are formed by wind and rain shaping the Banks Wall and Burramoko sandstone layers that spread right across the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, and they range from quite small to over 60 metres in height. They are amazingly beautiful against the blue mountain sky.

  • Baal Bone Gap picnic area Visit the jewel in the crown of Gardens of Stone and marvel at the magnificent rock pagodas, sheer cliffs and endless scenic views of Baal Bone Gap.
  • Bicentennial trail: Cowan Creek fire trail For horseriding or mountain-biking, take Crown Creek fire trail. This iconic part of the east coast's Bicentennial trail reveals staggering scenic views and a feeling of complete freedom.
  • The Newnes Plateau Cliffs For self-reliant walkers, climbers and mountain bikers, Newnes Plateau is a wonderland of challenging experiences and awe-inspiring views.

Incredible biodiversity

Gardens of Stone National Park is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The Greater Blue Mountains was named a World Heritage Area for its astonishing biodiversity. It contains almost 100 species (or 13%) of eucalypts in the world. This is because of the great diversity of habitats and landscapes in the region. Plateaus, heaths, flat valley floors with varying exposures and fire histories produce the incredible range of plantlife growing in the park. 

World-class bird watching

Paper daisies (Helichrysum rutidolepis), Gardens of Stone National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

The diversity of the park supports a wonderful array of birdlife - this is an internationally-recognised bird watching area. You may see such threatened birds as the regent honeyeater, swift parrot, spotted harrier, square-tailed kite, turquoise parrot, lyrebird, and many more. Spring and autumn are the times to see the migrations across the sky. Walkers may also come across rare broad-headed snakes, Lesueur's gecko, heath monitors, brown antechinus, bush rats and occasional quolls. Brush-tailed rock wallabies can be seen along the caves and ledges, and the upland swamps in the eastern part of the park are home to giant dragonflies.

Education resources (1)

Wolgan Valley, Gardens of Stone National Park. Photo: Hamilton Lund