Moolarben picnic area

Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Moolarben picnic area, at Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve, is a great place to picnic, barbecue and relax. Enjoy light hiking? Castle Rocks walk is close by.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve
Accessibility
Easy
Price
Free
Please note
There is limited mobile reception in this reserve.

Set among eucalypts and native apple, Moolarben picnic area is a grassy, shaded spot within Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Come and enjoy a barbecue with family, friends, your bushwalking club, or fellow birdwatching fans. Look out for birds and animals around Moolarben, such as eastern grey kangaroos, emus, red neck wallabies and, if you’re lucky, an endangered regent honeyeater. Keep those binoculars close.

Over 160 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve and you don’t need to go far to see or hear them. Look out for a colourful flash of lorikeet, parrot or rosella, which are common to this area.

Access to Castle Rocks walk is nearby, so it’s easy to take a hike with a view either before or after your barbecue. This easy 8km walk offers fabulous views of sandstone pagoda features. You’ll definitely want to take your camera along.

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/moolarben-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Getting there and parking

On entering Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve:

  • Park at Moolarben picnic area

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Moolarben picnic area.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.

Spring

The heathland begins flowering in late winter and it really starts to hit its stride in early spring. This makes it a particularly great time for camping, birdwatching and hiking.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

16°C and 30°C

Highest recorded

43°C

Winter temperature

Average

3°C and 16°C

Lowest recorded

-7.2°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

January

Driest month

April

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

134.3mm

Facilities

Drinking and cooking water is not available in this reserve, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

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 Plus 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).

Accessibility

Disability access level - easy

This area is fully wheelchair-accessible.

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

Gulgong (3 km)

Founded in the heady days of the Australian gold rush, Gulgong has approximately 130 buildings with National Trust classification. Take a self-guided walking tour of the town's historic sites.

www.visitnsw.com

Merriwa (21 km)

Merriwa is a unique and friendly rural town nestled in the Upper Hunter Valley. Situated on the Golden Highway, Merriwa is the ideal place for a stopover, as it is centrally located. In just two hours you can reach Mudgee, Dubbo, Newcastle and Tamworth.

www.visitnsw.com

Mudgee (15 km)

Set in the Cudgegong River valley in Central West NSW, Mudgee is a charming historic town and a popular destination for wine enthusiasts keen to sample its award-winning reds and whites. From its many wineries and national parks to markets, festivals and activities for the kids, Mudgee has much to offer.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Moolarben picnic area is in Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Back and forth

Views over the valley, Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Photo: Nick Cubbin

After Europeans settled in the region, Munghorn Gap became a route for horse and bullock teams connecting Wollar, Merriwa and Mudgee. Evidence of past blacksmithing, timber-cutting, peat and coal mining, prospecting, and quarrying can still be found in and around the reserve.

Birds of a feather

Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Photo: Nick Cubbin

As far as birdwatchers are concerned, Munghorn Gap is a happening place to go twitching. Over 164 different species of birds inhabit the reserve either permanently or seasonally, and many of these are rare and uncommon. They come in all shapes and sizes, from Australia's tallest bird, the emu, to the country's smallest, the 8-9cm weebill. Many are brightly coloured, such as rare scarlet honeyeaters and flame robins, while others like jackie winters and tree martins are more subdued in appearance. Bowerbirds and lyrebirds can be seen in Munghorn Gap along with national favourites like kookaburras, magpies and galahs. Birds of prey include wedge-tailed eagles, whistling kites, collared sparrowhawks, peregrine falcons and brown goshawks. After dark the boobook and owls - powerful, barking, and barn -take over for the nightly hunt.

  • Castle Rocks walk It’s an easy hike along Castle Rocks walk to the lookout for wonderful scenic views of the sandstone pagoda features found at Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve.
  • Moolarben picnic area Moolarben picnic area, at Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve, is a great place to picnic, barbecue and relax. Enjoy light hiking? Castle Rocks walk is close by.

Let's get physical

Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Photo: Nick Cubbin

Great Dividing Range stretches the length of Eastern Australia and creates an interface between the western plains and the mountains. Munghorn Gap is one of the lowest points of the range and lies on the extreme western edge of the Sydney-Bowen geological basin. Parts of the reserve drain into Cudgegong River and, in turn, the Macquarie River system.

  • Castle Rocks walk It’s an easy hike along Castle Rocks walk to the lookout for wonderful scenic views of the sandstone pagoda features found at Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve.

Trading places

Castle Rocks walk, Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Photo: Nick Cubbin

Munghorn Gap has been inhabited by Aboriginal people for over 12,000 years. Once a major trading route between the Blue Mountains and the plains, Munghorn Gap continues to be a significant place to local Wiradjuri people.

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