The Big Hole walking track

Deua National Park

Closed due to current alerts 

Overview

It’s an adventurous walk from Berlang campground to the viewing platform at The Big Hole as long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet crossing Shoalhaven River along the way.

Where
Deua National Park
Distance
3.5km return
Time suggested
1hr 30min - 2hrs 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
  • The weather can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you are well prepared for your visit.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch.

In 1862, a young man called Boxall used four long saplings, a rope and a candle to explore a deep chasm out in the bushland of southeast NSW. The rubbly bottom he eventually landed on was 96m from the surface. Onlookers were all shaking their heads at his reckless behaviour but also itching to know what he’d found down there inside what is now known as The Big Hole.

Thought to be around 400 million years in the making, this is an extraordinary limestone marvel; a roofless cave which is over 100m deep and 50m wide. It can be reached by walking from Berlang campground, wading across Shoalhaven River, then continuing through dry eucalypt forest and unique nana heath, with expansive views of the park on your journey. The vast open chasm can be viewed from the lookout and, if you’re there in the early morning or late afternoon, you may see its resident lyrebird come out from its ferny grotto to feed. For a more challenging hike, carry on to Marble Arch or return to Shoalhaven River for a picnic and a swim.

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/the-big-hole-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about The Big Hole walking track.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    1hr 30min - 2hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    3.5km return

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough track, many obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

The Big Hole walking track starts at Berlang campground in the northwest precinct of Deua National Park.

To get there:

  • From Braidwood, drive south along Cooma Road for 30 minutes.
  • Turn left at the sign to Berlang/The Big Hole
  • Drive 700m to Berlang campground carpark

Parking

Parking is available at Berlang campground. It can be a busy place on long weekends or school holidays, so parking might be limited.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Deua National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Spring

This season is the best time for wildflowers in the park and for birdwatching.

Summer

This is the season for swimming and floating on a lilo down the Shoalhaven and Deua rivers. See if you can spot an eastern water dragon sharing the river with you along the way.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

15.7°C and 23.5°C

Highest recorded

43.3°C

Winter temperature

Average

6.5°C and 16.7°C

Lowest recorded

-10°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

August

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

275.3mm

Facilities

Drinking water is limited or not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

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.

Strong currents may be present following rain when crossing the river – take care in the water and please supervise children at all times.

Permitted

Descending is permitted, but you will need to obtain a permit from the NPWS Braidwood area office beforehand.

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

Batemans Bay (41 km)

Batemans Bay is a bustling coastal town with majestic seascapes. It's located on the estuary of the Clyde River.

www.visitnsw.com

Braidwood (19 km)

Braidwood was the first town to be listed on the NSW State Heritage register. Today, you can tour the town on a self-guided heritage walk and see dozens of impressive historic buildings dating from the gold-rush days.

www.visitnsw.com

Moruya (33 km)

Moruya is a historic dairy town on the Moruya River surrounded by dairy pastures and rugged national parks.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

The Big Hole walking track is in Deua National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Diverse scenery and luscious landscapes

The Big Hole, Deua National Park. Photo: Lucas Boyd

From grassy woodlands on the lower eastern slopes of Deua Valley, to the peatlands and swamps on the tablelands, there are landscapes aplenty at Deua National Park. Valleys dissected by wild rivers, rugged mountains, deep gorges, dry ridges, steep escarpments, limestone karst and high plateaus are also some of the diverse landforms you'll find at Deua National Park. The Big Hole is thought to have been an underground cave until the ceiling collapsed and now is a 96m deep and 50m wide pit. Marble Arch has a car-sized boulder over its entrance and inside this cave are animal remains believed to be thousands of years old. Bendethera Cave is over 250m long, 320m wide and contains massive limestone formations in caverns with up to 15m high ceilings. Rocky outcrops found throughout the park support unique and rare species of gum trees, like the woila and jilliga ash, whilst the limestone slopes in Bendethera Valley is the only known location of Bendethera wattle; a sight to behold as they blossom during spring. The drier and cooler conditions allow pinkwoods and soft tree ferns to thrive in the higher altitudes of the eastern escarpments, and grey myrtle, lilly pilli and mock olives can regularly be seen along the small creeks and gullies throughout.

  • The Big Hole walking track It’s an adventurous walk from Berlang campground to the viewing platform at The Big Hole as long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet crossing Shoalhaven River along the way.

Powerful stuff

Hanging Mountain lookout, Deua National Park. Photo: Lucas Boyd

Deua is home to over 106 species of birds. There is a particularly high diversity of birds of prey in the park, such as the powerful owl and the peregrine falcon. The powerful owl is Australia's largest owl. The peregrine falcon, which is the fastest creature in the animal kingdom, can reach over 300km/hr in a high-speed dive when hunting. So if you see a dark vertical blur in the sky over Deua, you'll know now what it is and why it's moving so fast.

  • The Big Hole walking track It’s an adventurous walk from Berlang campground to the viewing platform at The Big Hole as long as you don’t mind getting your feet wet crossing Shoalhaven River along the way.

The trails of time

Looking across the valley, Deua National Park. Photo: Lucas Boyd

Passed on through generations in story and in song, the history of Aboriginal people of this land and their connection with all that surrounds them is very much a part of what you'll see in Deua National Park. Having travelled up and down the escarpment along well-worn pathways between the coast and the Monaro Tablelands for thousands of years, there are many places of spiritual significance. Scarred trees, grinding grooves and middens can be seen along the 'dreaming trails' of Deua.

Education resources (1)

The Big Hole walking track hero, Deua National Park. Photo: Lucas Boyd