Griffiths walking track

Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

Overview

Escape from the city and get back to nature on Griffiths walking track, offering outstanding views, great bushwalking and amazing birdwatching opportunities.

Where
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve
Distance
8km loop
Time suggested
2hrs 30min - 3hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
Please note
  • It’s a good idea to put sunscreen on before you set out and remember to take a hat
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch
  • There is no drinking water available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.
  • The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
  • The walking opportunities in this park are suitable for experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable undertaking self-reliant hiking
  • There is limited/no mobile reception in this park

Start Griffiths walking track at Barren Grounds picnic area and before you know it, you’ll be standing at Illawarra lookout taking in the spectacular views. Your journey then takes you through the diverse vegetation of Barren Grounds – heathland, woodland, rainforest. In spring, you’ll be treated to the vibrant display of wildflowers, and in winter, large yellow swamp banksias in bloom. On the heath, you're most likely to come across honeyeaters and southern emu wrens. And, if you're lucky, you might even spot a ground parrot or bristlebird.

The walk continues across to the dramatic cliffs lining Kangaroo Valley, with view of the coastline beyond. Then, after a climb up to Saddleback Trig, it’s time to take a break, enjoy the surrounding views and a snack. From there, the track continues to one of the highlights of this walk, a lovely naturally formed stone bridge across Lamonds Creek. After crossing the bridge, continue along the trail back to Barren Grounds picnic area.

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/walking-tracks/griffiths-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Griffiths walking track.

Track grading

Grade 3

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    2hrs 30min - 3hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    8km loop

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Griffiths walking track is at the northern end of Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. To get there:

  • Continue on the road from the reserve entrance for approximately 1km
  • Griffiths walking track starts from Barren Grounds picnic area at the end of the road

Parking

Parking is available at Barren Grounds picnic area.

Best times to visit

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

Autumn

Enjoy spectacular views on a clear autumn day of the coastline and surrounds from Illawarra lookout.

Spring

Enjoy the colourful wildflower display in the reserve's upland heaths.

Summer

Escape the crowds on the coast for a peaceful picnic among nature.

Winter

Warm up with a brisk walk in the misty highlands and admire the flowering banksias.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

16°C and 5°C

Highest recorded

42.4°C

Winter temperature

Average

8°C and 18°C

Lowest recorded

2.3°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

September

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

728.4mm

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

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.

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.

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.

Visitor centre

Nearby towns

Jamberoo (8 km)

If the kids are on board, take them to Jamberoo Action Park, where Billabong Beach, Rapid River and Outback Bay will keep them entertained for a whole day. Minnamurra Rainforest is also close by, with easy walks through the rainforest for the whole family to enjoy.

www.visitnsw.com

Nowra (31 km)

Nowra is a historic city and the commercial heart of the Shoalhaven. It's on the Shoalhaven River close to beaches and national parks.

www.visitnsw.com

Wollongong (44 km)

There are plenty of opportunities for adventure activities in and around Wollongong ranging from surfing and swimming to sailing, hang gliding, paragliding, cycling and abseiling. Wollongong is the only place in NSW where you can skydive onto the beach.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Griffiths walking track is in Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Go wild for flowers

Flowers in bloom, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

Barren Grounds Nature Reserve is famous for its heath wildflowers in spring and summer and flowering banksias in winter. The heathland is also one of only 4 large areas of heath on the NSW South Coast, making it an important habitat for many species of plants and animals. A large number of threatened or regionally rare ferns and other species also occur in wet sheltered sites below the escarpment, including several species of filmy fern. Around 180 bird species can also be found here, including honeyeaters, southern emu wrens, lyrebirds, crimson rosellas, cockatoos and grey currawongs. If you're really lucky, you might even spot the bright green ground parrot or an eastern bristlebird. In fact, it was to protect these two threatened heathland birds that Barren Grounds Nature Reserve was set up in 1956.

  • Cooks Nose walking track Stroll through the park's rich heathlands on Cooks Nose walking track and you’ll be rewarded with striking scenic views from the escarpment overlooking Kangaroo Valley.

Historic heritage

Illawarra lookout walking track, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

Barren Grounds Nature Reserve holds a very special place in the history of conservation in NSW, as it was the third faunal reserve to be gazetted under the Fauna Protection Act. Led by early conservation leaders like Myles Dunphy, Paddy Pallin and Allen Strom, it was protected in 1956. Since then, it has been an important place for researchers and students alike to record and learn about the incredible biodiversity of this area. The stone building at Barren Grounds picnic area - once known as The Lodge - was used for accommodation by researchers and honorary rangers.

Education resources (1)

Griffiths trail, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer/NSW Government