Lake Toolooma trail

Heathcote National Park

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Overview

A challenging hike through Heathcote National Park, near Waterfall, offering views, wildflowers and birdwatching, Lake Toolooma trail is the ultimate Sutherland bushwalk.

Where
Heathcote National Park
Distance
5km return
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade
Grade 4
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen, suitable clothing
Please note
Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go birdwatching.

This lovely Sutherland bushwalk may only take a couple of hours to complete, but the wonderful sense of solitude it promotes gives you a real feeling of escape. Lake Toolooma trail leads you through uninterrupted bushland to a scenic secluded dam that offers great birdwatching. Though it can be quite steep at times, the trail, like most of the walks in Heathcote National Park, is easily accessed from Waterfall train station.

Soak up picturesque views including Sydney sandstone vegetation and lovely water glimpses as you hike along this rough track. Keep your eyes peeled for birds like honeyeaters, wattlebirds and delicate fairy wrens.

In spring, the heath erupts with wildflowers, including Gymea lilies, tea trees, grevilleas, waxflowers and banksias. Why not take the camera and get some great photos along the way?

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/lake-toolooma-trail/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Lake Toolooma trail.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    2 - 3hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Limited signage

  • Gradient

    Very steep

  • Distance

    5km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough track, many obstacles

  • Experience required

    Experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Lake Toolooma trail is in the south-eastern corner of Heathcote National Park. To get there on foot from Waterfall train station:

    • Follow Korooban Street over Princes Highway for approximately 400m
    • Turn right onto Camp Couts trail and then right again to begin Lake Toolooma trail

    Alternatively:

    • Park at the end of Warabin Street and follow the fire trail for 50m to the signposted Bullawarring walking track and continue for 450m
    • Turn left at the junction to continue along Lake Toolooma trail

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is not available at Lake Toolooma trail – access is via a walking track.

    Best times to visit

    Heathcote National Park offers an exceptional visit all year round. You're sure to find a walk, tour, activity or attraction to appeal, regardless of the season.

    Spring

    Visit Heathcote National Park in spring to see blooming Gymea lilies give a scarlet glow to the gullies.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    16°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    42°C (1977)

    Winter temperature

    Average

    6°C and 17°C

    Lowest recorded

    -0.6° C (1968)

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    254.5mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    This park is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well-prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.

    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.

    • The walking opportunities in this park are suitable for experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable undertaking self-reliant hiking
    • If you’re bushwalking in this park, it’s a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass, or a GPS.

    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).

    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 dogs and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    Lake Toolooma trail is in Heathcote National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A long and varied history

    Kingfisher pool, Heathcote National Park. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    The area was for years home to local Aboriginal people, and you can still see several Aboriginal rock engraving sites. In 1937, a bushwalking group leased a section of what is now national parkland to protect this important area of bush. This section and its surrounds became known as the Heathcote Primitive Area (1943). This was expanded again and renamed Heathcote State Park (1967). In 1974, the area became Heathcote National Park.

    The beauty of the bush

    Wildflowers in Heathcote National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Heathcote National Park is a rugged landscape, flourishing with a variety of plants and animals. Eucalypts such as bloodwood, grey gum, Sydney peppermint, and scribbly gum dominate open forest areas alongside pockets of bright flowers like banksias, hakeas, and waxflowers, which are best enjoyed along a relaxing bushwalk. With so much plant life to admire, it’s no wonder wildlife like sugar gliders, ringtail possums and swamp wallabies also call Heathcote home. A soundtrack of chatty friar birds, honeyeaters and lyrebirds can also be heard across the park gorges during winter.

    • Bullawarring walking track For great Sydney bushwalking, visit Heathcote National Park, near Waterfall in the Sutherland shire; combine your hike with birdwatching and freshwater swimming.

    The great outdoors

    Mirang Pool campground, Heathcote National Park. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    Slow down and forget your cares with a freshwater swim. Try Kingfisher Pool, Mirang Pool or Lake Eckersley. Or check out the pretty rockpools and waterfalls where Heathcote Creek meets the Woronora River. Cycle along Pipeline Road to the Sarahs Knob picnic area, where you can also complete a great hill run. The 2250ha park is less than an hour from central Sydney by car or train. The park adjoins Royal National Park, just west of the Princes Highway and South Coast train line. However, once you're inside you'll forget about transportation - the park is beautiful, quiet and secluded, plus, it's a vehicle-free zone. If you love to bushwalk, then Heathcote is your kind of park. A multitude of walking tracks criss-cross the park, including the Heathcote to Waterfall track linking Heathcote and Waterfall train stations.

    • Kingfisher Pool picnic area A visit to this Sutherland picnic spot, located at Kingfisher Pool campground in Heathcote National Park, near Waterfall, offers birdwatching, bushwalking and swimming.
    • Mooray walking track Enjoy a day of Sydney bushwalking and birdwatching. One of the best walks in Heathcote National Park, Mooray walking track is easily accessed from Waterfall train station.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    •  Blue Tongue lizard. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Eastern blue-tongue lizard (Tiliqua scinciodes)

      The eastern blue-tongue lizard, one of the largest skinks in Australia, is found throughout most of NSW. When threatened, the eastern blue-tongue lizard displays its blue tongue in a wide-mouthed intimidating show. Not an agile animal, they feed on slow-moving beetles and snails.

    • 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)