Illoura picnic area

Lane Cove National Park

Overview

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.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Lane Cove National Park
Accessibility
Medium
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
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 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/illoura-picnic-area/local-alerts

Park info

  • 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.

    Group bookings:

    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 (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

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.

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

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.

Autumn

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.

Spring

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

Summer temperature

Average

20°C and 27°C

Highest recorded

43.1°C

Winter temperature

Average

5°C and 17°C

Lowest recorded

-3.5°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

July

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

253mm

Facilities

  • Illoura picnic area is beside Lane Cove Boat Shed, which has canoe launching facilities
  • Recycling station in picnic area

Toilets

  • Flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)

Boat ramp

Cafe/kiosk

Carpark

Drinking water

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Boating safety

If you're out on your boat fishing, waterskiing or just cruising the waterways, the safety of you and your passengers is paramount.

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).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Accessibility

Disability access level - medium

  • Assistance may be required to access this area.
  • There is wheelchair access to the picnic shelter shed

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

Balmain (2 km)

Browse Darling Street for your fill of retail therapy at galleries, bookshops and homeware shops. In narrow back streets, you'll discover architectural styles typical of the 1800s and early 1900s.

www.sydney.com

Parramatta (53 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

Sydney City Centre (4 km)

No trip to Sydney is complete without spending some time in the city’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s in central areas like Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens or further out in Centennial Parklands, there’s plenty of green space to go out and enjoy.

www.sydney.com

Learn more

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

Wildflowers at Halfway Point picnic area, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: John Spencer

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.

Sydney’s backyard

Lane Cove River Tourist Park – cabins, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

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

Illoura picnic area, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Lane Cove National Park is part of the traditional land of the Guringai People whose Country extended from around Newcastle to Sydney Harbour. The Guringai people lived primarily 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

Animals

  • Australian brush turkey, Dorrigo National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

    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. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    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.

  • Closeup of a laughing kookaburra's head and body. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    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, Daleys Point walking track, Bouddi National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    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 in Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    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. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    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 in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    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.

Plants

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    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. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    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, 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.

  • Flannel flowers in Wollemi National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    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.

  • A red triangle slug on the trunk of a scribbly gum tree in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

    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. Photo: Barry Collier

    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.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (1)

Illoura picnic area, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: John Spencer