Bents Basin State Conservation Area

Overview

Visit Bents Basin State Conservation Area near Penrith and Camden for a school excursion or to go fishing, camping, swimming or picnicking.

Read more about Bents Basin State Conservation Area

Bents Basin, a deep waterhole that forms part of a gorge on the Nepean River between Camden and Penrith, is a perfect place for swimming, canoeing and fishing. If you’d like to keep your feet on dry land, relaxing by the basin is pleasant as well; it’s backed by a forested escarpment which rises dramatically from the water’s edge. After a tasty picnic or barbecue lunch, take the walk up to Caleys lookout for views of the area – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for native animals and birds long the way.

Bents Basin State Conservation Area is a great place to visit on a daytrip and if you’d like to stay longer, bring your tent or caravan along to set up camp under the stars. If you’re interested in finding out more about the park’s landscape, plants and animals, be sure to arrange a guided tour with a ranger.

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/visit-a-park/parks/bents-basin-state-conservation-area/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Bents Basin State Conservation Area.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Wallacia (north entry):

    • Drive southwest on Mulgoa Road/Tourist Drive 18
    • At the Wallacia roundabout, take the second exit to Silverdale Road
    • Turn left onto Bents Basin Road and follow signs for Bents Basin

    From Wallacia (south/east entry):

    • Drive southwest on Mulgoa Road/Tourist Drive 18
    • Turn right onto Greendale Road
    • Turn right onto Wolstenholme Avenue and follow signs for Bents Basin campground

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    By bike

    Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

    Best times to visit

    Bents Basin State Conservation Area is a great place to visit all year round. Head to the park for a camping weekend in spring, a weekend picnic in the winter sun or a sunny summer day for lots of water activities.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    15°C and 29°C

    Highest recorded

    45°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    3°C and 16°C

    Lowest recorded

    -6°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    February

    Driest month

    July

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    156mm

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day. The park has pay and display machines that accept both coin and card.

    • All Parks Pass - For all parks in NSW (including Kosciuszko NP) $190 (1 year) / $335 (2 years)
    • Multi Parks Pass - For all parks in NSW (except Kosciuszko) $65 (1 year) / $115 (2 years)

    Annual passes and entry fees (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees)

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    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).

    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

    Penrith (24 km)

    Summer is an ideal time to visit Penrith - one of Sydney's best inland aquatic playgrounds. Have fun riding the rapids at Penrith Whitewater Stadium,, visit Sydney International Regatta Centre, paddle on Nepean Gorge in a canoe or relax with a picnic by the Nepean River.

    www.sydney.com

    Campbelltown (33 km)

    For nature lovers, the Macarthur region has plenty of natural attractions. Explore nature reserves and wildlife trails or see spectacular native flora and fauna at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, the largest botanic garden in Australia.

    www.sydney.com

    Sydney City Centre (68 km)

    No trip to Sydney is complete without spending some time in the city’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s in central areas like Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens or further out in Centennial Parklands, there’s plenty of green space to go out and enjoy.

    www.sydney.com

    Learn more

    Bents Basin State Conservation Area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Rare communities

    Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami lathami), Bents Basin State Conservation Area. Photo: OEH

    A visit to the park allows you to see majestic Camden white gums in one of only two known naturally-occurring populations. Look out also for Cumberland Plain woodland which once blanketed almost 30% of the Sydney Basin. Today, its scattered fragments cover less than 6% and remain under threat. Important fauna species include the regent honey eater, Cumberland Plain land snail, eastern bentwing bat, sooty owl and the glossy black cockatoo.

    • Caleys lookout track Caleys lookout track is a short and steep walk through bushland of Bents Basin State Conservation Area near Penrith. Take your lunch – it’s a great spot for a picnic.

    Fascinating and fun

    Bents Basin State Conservation Area. Photo: John Yurasek

    The basin itself is what draws most people here. Known as a scour pool, this geological formation is like a small lake, created over time by fast-flowing floodwaters exiting the gorge about 30-40km/hr. At 22m deep, its waters travel 150km before reaching the ocean. In addition to that, it's heaps of fun to visit for a spot for swimming, fishing, paddling and liloing.

    Bygone days

    Peppercorn picnic area, Bents Basins State Conservation Area. Photo: John Yurasek

    Explorer and botanist George Caley was the first European to visit the area in 1802 and afterwards collected plant specimens for preservation. The area was later used as a stopping point for early settlers travelling from the developing east. If you're interested in the local history of western Sydney, be sure to check out the historic inn, established in the 1860's and listed on both the state and National Heritage Register, you'll find it near Peppercorn picnic area.

    Aboriginal heritage

    Caleys lookout, Bents Basins State Conservation Area. Photo: John Yurasek

    Bents Basin State Conservation Area is the traditional land of the Gundungurra, Dharawal and Darug people. Also known as Gulguer (meaning whirlpool or spinning), Bents Basin is associated with an awful aquatic creature called Gurungadge or Gurungaty. This creature is prominent in the area's ancestral stories. Archaeological finds suggest the area was also an important trading place. Bents Basin and the adjoining Gulguer Nature Reserve protect a variety of Aboriginal rock art and artefacts.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Brown-striped frog. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

      Brown-striped frog (Lymnastes peronii)

      One of the most common frogs found in Australia, the ground-dwelling brown-striped frog lives in ponds, dams and swamps along the east coast. Also known as the striped marsh frog, this amphibian grows to 6.5cm across and has a distinctive ‘tok’ call that can be heard all year round.

    • Eastern snake-necked turtle on a rock. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

      Eastern snake-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis)

      Found across most of NSW, the eastern snake-necked turtle, also known as the eastern long-necked turtle, can be found in swamps, lakes and inland waterways. This freshwater turtle is carnivorous and lives most of its life submerged on the water’s edge, searching for worms and snails.

    • 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.

    •  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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Bents Basin State Conservation Area has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Preserving biodiversity

    Bents Basin State Conservation Area provides a range of habitats for the endangered ecological communities. The threatened Camden white gum occurs within Bents Basin and is one of only two known naturally occurring populations. Known threatened species and communities within the state conservation will also be periodically re-surveyed to update population records.

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact on the ecosystems within Bents Basin Conservation Area. Risk assessments for new and emerging weeds are carried out as an ongoing initiative within the conservation area. Pest management is an important part of the work NPWS does to protect the integrity of biodiversity which exists within Bents Basin.

    Conservation program

    Regional pest management strategies

    Weeds and pest animals cause substantial damage to agriculture and our environment, so it’s essential we manage them in NSW national parks and reserves. Our regional pest management strategies aim to minimise the impact of pests on biodiversity in NSW.  We work hard to protect our parks and neighbours from pests and weeds, ensuring measurable results.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    Interpretive signage upgrades and updated visitor information in Bents Basin State Conservation Area is an ongoing priority. Enhancement of this visitor information is intended to promote safe and environmentally-friendly use of facilities within the state conservation area, as well as communicate the core values of Bents Basin Conservation Area.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    The local Aboriginal peoples, Gundungurra, Dharawal and Darug, will continue to be consulted and involved in the management of Bents Basin State Conservation Area. Culture camps and other activities that support research, preservation, interpretation and presentation of Aboriginal culture, will continue to take part in Bents Basin State Conservation Area.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Conservation program

    Planning for fire

    Bushfires are inevitable across fire-prone vegetation types within NSW national parks. NPWS prepares for wildfires by working with other fire agencies, reserve neighbours and the community to ensure protection of life, property and biodiversity. Every park has its own fire management strategy, devised in consultation with partner fire authorities and the community to plan and prioritise fire management.

    Nepean River, Bents Basin State Conservation Area. Photo: John Yurasek