Mares Forest Creek walking track

Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve

Overview

Tracking through a marble karst area along a stream, Mares Forest Creek walking track in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Area takes you to Tinted Cave.

Where
Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve
Distance
3.2km return
Time suggested
1hr - 1hr 30min
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.

Price
Free
Please note

  • It's a good idea to bring a torch to see Tinted Cave and binoculars if you want to go bird watching.
  • Take care in the water if you're swimming in the creek, and please supervise children at all times.
  • Drinking water is limited or not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.
  • There is limited/no mobile reception in this park.

Be in awe of the striking landscape as you take an easy hike along Mares Forest Creek walking track. After around 1.6km and about 45 minutes, you’ll arrive at Tinted Cave, the only cave in Wombeyan you can explore yourself.

Bring a picnic and take a break by the creek. You might also want to bring your swimmers, since there are some deep pools of water alongside some shallower areas that are suitable for smaller kids. Don’t forget your camera either, because you’ll want to remember this remarkable landscape when you get back home.

Birdlife is abundant in the kurrajong trees and yellow box gums, so be sure to bring your binoculars too if birdwatching is of interest. During summer, you may see lizards sunning themselves on rocks, and kangaroos, wallabies and wombats are often spotted close to nightfall.

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/mares-forest-creek-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Mares Forest Creek walking track.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    1hr - 1hr 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Limited signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    3.2km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Mares Forest Creek walking track begins near the visitor centre at Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve Visitor Centre, a short walk away.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.

    Spring

    While the caves can be visited all year round, a trip to Wombeyan in spring is well timed to catch wildflowers in full bloom.

    Summer

    A great time for a weekend camping trip - pitch your tent, enjoy breakfast cooked on the barbecue and beat the heat with a dip in a natural swimming hole.

    Winter

    Take advantage of the cooler weather and book a weekend getaway at the historic Post Office Cottage. The wood heater will keep you warm all night.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    13°C and 26°C

    Highest recorded

    38.8°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    1°C and 11°C

    Lowest recorded

    -9.6°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    June

    Driest month

    April

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    174.2mm

    Maps and downloads

    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

    Bowral (17 km)

    Spring is tulip time while summer has fragrant roses and autumn, flowering bulbs. Bowral Tulip Festival runs from the end of September until early October; the Autumn Garden Festival is held in May.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Taralga (3 km)

    Many of Taralga's existing buildings date from the 1860s to the 1890s, and most of them consist of stone from local volcanic supplies. This has resulted in an architectural style unique to Taralga that is somewhere between Georgian and Victorian, giving the town a unique and picturesque aesthetic.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Mares Forest Creek walking track is in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Aboriginal connections

    Rocky cliffs of Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: Kevin McGrath

    Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve is located within the traditional land of the Gundungurra People, with the word Wombeyan coming from local language meaning 'grassy valley between mountains'. It's believed that Wombeyan Caves were part of an Aboriginal travel route that coincided with seasonal availability of food and the caves may have provided reliable shelter. The Dreamtime myth of Gurrangatch relates to the forming of Wombeyan and Jenolan Caves. The caves are said to have been formed during a contest between Gurangatch, a mythical being that was part fish and part reptile, and Mirragan, a legendary tiger cat.

    Life in the air

    The mountains and forests of Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: Stephen Babbka

    Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve plays a special role in the conservation of some of Australia's precious native flora and fauna. The moist forest that surrounds the park's creeks are home to superb lyrebirds, the eastern whipbirds and flycatchers; look for lyrebird scratches around on the forest floor. Keep your eyes in the sky around the park's rocky outcrops for birds of prey, including brown goshawks and wedge tailed eagles. You'll have to look particularly carefully to see a tawny frogmouth; their camouflage is excellent- staying very still and upright- you might mistake them as part of the branch.

    • Mares Forest Creek walking track Tracking through a marble karst area along a stream, Mares Forest Creek walking track in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Area takes you to Tinted Cave.
    • Victoria Arch walking track A short walk on Victoria Arch walking track, in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, takes visitors through the bush to a remarkable natural formation.

    On show

    Reflected waters of Coronation cave, Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: Steve Babka

    The limestone caves of Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve are between 400 and 430 million years old. The geological processes that have created the magnificent cave system you see today continue to work their magic; you'll notice the impressive cave decorations including stalactites and stalagmites that are created by the infiltration of water into the caves. Take a guided Discovery tour to find out more about the history and geology of the caves.

    • Dennings Labyrinth Dennings Labyrinth, in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, is a guided tour through one of the park’s show caves.
    • Fig Tree Cave Be sure to take the self-guided tour of the impressive Fig Tree Cave while you’re at Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve. The cave decorations are a sight to see.
    • Victoria Arch walking track A short walk on Victoria Arch walking track, in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, takes visitors through the bush to a remarkable natural formation.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Eastern bentwing bat. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Eastern bentwing-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis)

      In colonies numbering up to 150,000, eastern bentwing-bats congregate in caves across the east and north-west coasts of Australia. These small Australian animals weigh around 13-17g and can reach speeds of up to 50km per hour. Eastern bentwing-bats use both sight and echolocation to catch small insects mid-air.

    • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

      A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

    • Brush tail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

      One of the most widespread of Australian tree-dwelling marsupials, the common brushtail possum is found across most of NSW in woodlands, rainforests and urban areas. With strong claws, a prehensile tail and opposable digits, these native Australian animals are well-adapted for life amongst the trees.

    • Eastern common ringtail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)

      Commonly found in forests, woodlands and leafy gardens across eastern NSW, the Australian ringtail possum is a tree-dwelling marsupial. With a powerful tail perfectly adapted to grasp objects, it forages in trees for eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruit.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    Mares Forest Creek walking track, Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: Steve Babka