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Wondabyne to Patonga walking track

Brisbane Water National Park

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Learn more about why this park is special

Wondabyne to Patonga walking track is in Brisbane Water National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A haven for wildlife

Powerful owl. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

Brisbane Water National Park is home to an incredible 270 native animal species. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and bird life such as the threatened spotted tailed quoll, the rare glossy black cockatoo and powerful owl. You might be lucky enough to share a picnic at Girrakool picnic area with a few wallabies who love this peaceful place.

  • Girrakool loop track A lovely way to finish a barbecue, the Girrakool loop track is a short and easy walk through bushland, featuring an Aboriginal rock engraving site and scenic waterfalls.
  • Great North walk stage 9: Rainforest walk Enjoy the spectacular views and scenic landscape on this challenging Great North walk. In stage 9, you’ll walk 16km through temperate rainforest within Brisbane Water National Park, near Gosford.
  • Tommos loop and Rocky Ponds cycling loop Mountain biking enthusiasts will enjoy the challenging Tommos loop and Rocky Ponds cycling loop, a 20km bushland ride taking in scenic Central Coast views.

A wonderland of wildflowers

Red spider flower in Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

Located 12km from Gosford, the park covers 12,000ha of rugged sandstone country, and boarders the Hawkesbury river, which feeds cascading waterfalls. The landscape is gorgeous all year round, especially from late winter to early spring when it comes alive with colourful wildflowers.

  • Great North walk stage 9: Rainforest walk Enjoy the spectacular views and scenic landscape on this challenging Great North walk. In stage 9, you’ll walk 16km through temperate rainforest within Brisbane Water National Park, near Gosford.
  • Somersby Falls picnic area A great place to picnic on the Central Coast, Somersby Falls offers barbecues and picnic tables in a lush rainforest complete with waterfalls and a walking track.
  • Warrah lookout Warrah lookout, offering scenic views of Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River, is just a short walk from the carpark. It’s a great place to see Waratahs in season.

Ancient landscapes

Aboriginal rock carving, Girrakool Loop track, Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

Aboriginal people in the area have a long association with the landscape of Brisbane Water National Park and much evidence of this remains today in the form of rock engravings, foreshore middens and rock paintings. The flat, exposed areas of Hawkesbury sandstone within the park provide an ideal 'canvas' for Aboriginal artists, and there are hundreds of rock engraving sites throughout the park. Aboriginal sites on Hawkesbury sandstone have a distinctive style of engraving which is unique in Australia. The Bulgandry Aboriginal engraving site at Kariong is an excellent example of rock art within the park and is easily accessible.

  • Girrakool loop track A lovely way to finish a barbecue, the Girrakool loop track is a short and easy walk through bushland, featuring an Aboriginal rock engraving site and scenic waterfalls.

Stretch your legs

Warrah lookout, Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

Brisbane Water National Park offers great ways to get amongst nature. Why not hop on your mountain bike and get your adrenalin pumping along the Tommos loop and Rocky Ponds cycling route? Or you can wear out your walking shoes along the Girrakool loop walking track. For the more energetic, the park is a hikers delight. Longer treks range from an hour or two to overnight on sections of the Great North walk, which passes through the park on its way from Sydney to Newcastle.

  • Girrakool picnic area A great spot for a family picnic, Girrakool picnic area has barbecues, lots of green space to run around and a scenic walking track that features Aboriginal engravings.
  • Great North walk - Brisbane Water National Park You’ll find the Wondabyne to Patonga and Patonga to Pearl Beach parts of the iconic Great North walk in Brisbane Water National Park. Take a short walk or overnight hike.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Australian pelican. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

    The curious pelican is Australia’s largest flying bird and has the longest bill of any bird in the world. These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands.

  • Koala. Photo: Lucy Morrell

    Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

    One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.

  • Platypus climbing on to a submerged tree branch. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

    One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence. The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range.

Plants

  • 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.

  • Close up photo of a waratah flower, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH.

    Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

    The beautiful waratah is not only the NSW floral emblem, it's also one of the best-known Australian native plants. This iconic Australian bush flower can be found on sandstone ridges around Sydney, in nearby mountain ranges and on the NSW South Coast. The waratah has a vibrant crimson flowerhead, measuring up to 15cm across, and blossoms in spring.

Look out for...

Australian pelican

Pelecanus conspicillatus

Australian pelican. Photo: Rob Cleary

The curious pelican is Australia’s largest flying bird and has the longest bill of any bird in the world. These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

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Wondabyne to Patonga walking track, Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: John Spencer