Ironbark picnic area

Popran National Park

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Ironbark picnic area is the only picnic area in Popran National Park and the gateway to many of the walking tracks in this central coast park.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Popran National Park
Price
Free
Opening times
Popran National Park is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
Please note
  • Ironbark picnic area has a small, unsealed carpark, but it’s only accessible by 4WD vehicles. Visitors in 2WD vehicles will need to park and walk the last 600m to the picnic area.
  • You’ll need to bring drinking water as the Ironbark picnic area only has tank water for washing hands
  • The picnic area has non-flush toilets and tethering posts for horses

Ironbark picnic area in the Popran National Park is the starting and finishing point for many of the park’s walking, mountain biking and horseriding tracks. Although it has limited facilities it’s a convenient and shady spot to relax before or after your outdoor adventure.

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/ironbark-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Ironbark picnic area.

Getting there and parking

From Sydney, take the F3 Sydney-Newcastle Freeway and exit at Calga onto Peats Ridge Road. After 13km turn left into Wisemans Ferry Road. After a further 8km turn left into Ironbark Road.

From Newcastle, take the F3 Sydney-Newcastle Freeway and exit at Peats Ridge Road. After 10km turn right into George Downs Drive and turn left into Wisemans Ferry Road. After a further 8km turn left into Ironbark Road.

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • Dry weather only

Parking

Parking is available at the Ironbark picnic area.

Best times to visit

Weather conditions are usually quite moderate in Popran National Park. In summer, however, in summer the temperature can climb above 30C. With its pleasant climate and year-round beauty, any time is a good time to visit Popran National Park.

Spring

Go walking along the Emerald Pool Loop to see fantastic wildflower displays.

Summer

Enjoy a relaxing day exploring the edges of the southern section of the park by boat, canoe or kayak to discover hidden fishing spots.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

23°C and 27°C

Highest recorded

42.9°C

Winter temperature

Average

17°C and 22°C

Lowest recorded

0.1°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

February and March

Driest month

June and July

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

230.2mm

Facilities

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

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

Gosford (31 km)

Gosford is a great destination for a family day trip or holiday. It's situated on Brisbane Water National Park and surrounded by state forests, lakes and beaches.

www.visitnsw.com

Parramatta (32 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

Peats Ridge (24 km)

Located on the NSW Central Coast, just north of Hawkesbury River, Peats Ridge is close to Popran National Park, where you can enjoy a spot of bushwalking, cycling, river fishing and paddling, and explore the Aboriginal history of the area.

www.gosford.nsw.gov.au

Learn more

Ironbark picnic area is in Popran National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A haven for wildlife

Rocky outcrop in the forest, Popran National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

The increasingly rare, untouched freshwater streams and mangroves of the Hawkesbury river are a sanctuary for the many animals that live there. If you're an avid birdwatcher, you might catch glimpses of glossy black cockatoos and masked owls in the park's tall forests and wet gullies. You are unlikely to see the nocturnal yellow-bellied glider during the day, but you might be lucky to hear their distinctive growling call, it's been recorded to have been heard up to 500m away.

  • 248 trail 248 trail is a popular horse riding and mountain biking track which meanders through Popran National Park in the NSW Central Coast hinterland.

Outdoor adventurer's playground

A person enjoying the view from a lookout, Popran National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

Popran National Park offers an immense range of opportunities for recreation in a beautiful Australian bushland and river setting. Offering visitors expansive landscapes and gorgeous water views, it is one of only a few parks on the Central Coast that caters for horse riding and mountain biking. Both the 248 trail and the Mount Olive trail can be explored by horse or by bike, and you can enjoy a picnic or swim to relax after your efforts.

  • 248 trail 248 trail is a popular horse riding and mountain biking track which meanders through Popran National Park in the NSW Central Coast hinterland.
  • Mount Olive lookout Mount Olive Lookout is only a short walk from Ironbark picnic area in Popran National Park on the central coast and offers scenic views over Popran Creek.

Rich Aboriginal heritage

A view through the trees and over the mountains, Popran National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

When you visit Popran National Park, you'll see evidence of 11,000 years of rich Aboriginal heritage. From the earth to the waterways, animals and plants, each of these holds a special place in the hearts of the custodians of this land, and the park proudly protects these significant places so we can celebrate Aboriginal culture for generations to come. The park protects a number of Aboriginal sites, like rock engravings, sandstone shelters and foreshore middens. If you find an axe grinding groove in the sandstone, you might be able to imagine how you'd sharpen your tool to catch a meal for your family.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Sugar glider. Photo: Jeff Betteridge

    Sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)

    The sugar glider is a tree-dwelling Australian native marsupial, found in tall eucalypt forests and woodlands along eastern NSW. The nocturnal sugar glider feeds on insects and birds, and satisfies its sweet tooth with nectar and pollens.

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

Plants

  • Gymea lily. Photo: Simone Cottrell

    Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa)

    The magnificent Gymea lily is one of the most unusual Australian native plants, found only along the coast and surrounding bushland of the Sydney Basin, from Newcastle to Wollongong. In spring this giant lily shoots out spectacular red flowers that can reach heights of 2-4m.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

Popran National Park. Photo: John Yurasek