Illoura picnic area
Lane Cove National Park
Family-friendly Illoura picnic area, in Lane Cove National Park, offers picnic, walking and paddling opportunities and is a great option if you’re looking for things to do in Sydney.
- Picnic areas
- Lane Cove National Park
- Entry fees
- Park entry fees apply
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
- Please note
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go birdwatching
Nestled on the banks of the beautiful Lane Cove River, Illoura picnic area is a great spot for a relaxing day out in Lane Cove National Park, near North Ryde. With plenty of space for family and friends, as well as walking and boating opportunities, it’s a great option if you’re looking for things to do in Sydney.
After a leisurely picnic at one of the tables or sheltered sites, explore the beautiful bushland setting on a range of walks or bring your bike and go cycling along Pennant Hills West Pymble trail. If you’re after something more leisurely, you can hire a rowboat at Lane Cove Boatshed and enjoy a peaceful paddle down the river.
The tranquil bush setting attracts a variety of wildlife, and offers some excellent birdwatching opportunities. You might see egrets, spoon bills or perhaps an eastern water dragon sunning itself on the riverbank.
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/illoura-picnic-area/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 Lane Cove National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
Lane Cove National Park is open 9am to 7pm during daylight savings (until 6pm at other times). The park may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
Park entry fees:
$8 per vehicle per day. The park has pay and display machines.
Bus: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day). Prior payment may be required, please phone the Lane Cove National Park Office for more information.
Under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009, prior written approval is required for organised groups of 30 or more people planning to visit the park. Contact the park office prior to your visit.Buy annual pass.
All the practical information you need to know about the Illoura picnic area.
Getting there and parking
Illoura picnic area is in the Riverside Drive precinct of Lane Cove National Park. To get there:
- Riverside Drive is accessed from Delhi Road, West Chatswood or Lane Cove Road, Macquarie Park.
- Illoura picnic area is accessed via Riverside Drive, which runs through the park.
- Sealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Parking is available at Illoura picnic area. Bus parking is available.
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Lane Cove National Park. Here are some of the highlights.
The crisp sunny days of autumn are perfect for packing up a picnic or barbecue hamper and heading out for a day relaxing in the sun.
The park is alive with new life, including ducklings learning to swim and colourful wildflowers that light up the park's walking tracks.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
20°C and 27°C
5°C and 17°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
- Illoura picnic area is beside Lane Cove Boat Shed, which has canoe launching facilities
- Recycling station in picnic area
- Flush toilets
- Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - medium
- Assistance may be required to access this area.
- There is wheelchair access to the picnic shelter shed
Illoura picnic area is in Lane Cove National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
Native plants and animals
The landscape of Lane Cove National Park is remarkable given that it sits within a large urban environment. You'll see eucalypt forests, casuarina woodland and saltwater wetlands, each of which is home to a range of different plants, animals and birds. Echidnas are mainly nocturnal, but sometimes venture out during the day when the weather is mild you'll have to be quick and quiet to catch a glimpse though, the slightest noise will have them curling up into a ball for protection and camouflage. If you're walking along the river and you think you've spied something that looks a little unusual, it could very well be an eastern water dragon - look for its distinctive black stripes and crest of enlarged spiny scales along its body.
- Great North walk - Lane Cove National Park Passing through Lane Cove National Park, this multi-day hike offers stunning scenery across Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Newcastle. Tackle part of the track for an easy day walk.
- Great North walk stage 1: City to Fullers Bridge Make the Great North walk your fitness challenge for 2022! Stage 1 kicks off at Macquarie Place, Sydney. On this 8hr, 15km walk, you'll journey north to Lane Cove National Park.
Lane Cove National Park sits on the doorstep of Australia’s largest city, offering a wealth of opportunities for Sydneysiders and visitors to experience nature and spend time with family and friends. With opportunities for bushwalking and biking, kayaking and boating, picnicking and playing, you're guaranteed to want to visit again and again and it’s so close that you can. Did you know you can even go camping at Lane Cove National Park? For bush camping in an urban environment, head to Lane Cove River Tourist Park on the south western side of the park.
- Carter Creek picnic area Book Carter Creek picnic area for your next celebration. There are shaded picnic tables and gas barbecues. Plus it's right by the river.
- Pennant Hills West Pymble fire trail Ride the Pennant Hills to West Pymble fire trail for scenic views of Sydney and bushland. There's plenty of variety with technical parts and steep sections.
Connection to Country
Lane Cove National Park is part of the traditional lands of Aboriginal people whose Country extended from around Newcastle to Sydney Harbour. They lived primary by the water; fishing and hunting in the waters and hinterlands and harvesting food from surrounding bushland. The park protects a number of ancient Aboriginal sites today, some of which you may notice while exploring the park.
Plants and animals you may see
Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami)
The Australian brush turkey, also known as bush or scrub turkey, can be found in rainforests along eastern NSW. With a striking red head, blue-black plumage and booming call, these distinctive Australian birds are easy to spot while bird watching in several NSW national parks.
Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)
The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.
Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.
Lace monitor (Varanus varius)
One of Australia’s largest lizards, the carnivorous tree-dwelling lace monitor, or tree goanna, can grow to 2m in length and is found in forests and coastal tablelands across eastern Australia. These Australian animals are typically dark blue in colour with whitish spots or blotches.
Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.
Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)
The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.
Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)
The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.
Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)
An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.
Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)
Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.
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.
Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi)
The delicate flannel flower is so named because of the soft woolly feel of the plant. Growing in the NSW south coast region, extending to Narrabri in the Central West and up to south-east Queensland, its white or pink flowers bloom all year long, with an extra burst of colour in the spring.
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.
Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)
The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.