Dharug National Park

Overview

Explore the World Heritage-listed Old Great North Road, go camping, mountain biking or canoeing at Dharug National Park near Wisemans Ferry, northwest of Sydney.

Read more about Dharug National Park

Dharug National Park covers rugged bushland just north of the Hawkesbury river, with dramatic sandstone cliffs and a variety of natural habitats. It’s the perfect place to escape to on a daytrip or for a weekend getaway.

There is loads to explore; take a walk, mountain bike or guided tour into history along the Old Great North Road - World Heritage walk; built by up to 720 convicts between 1826 and 1836. Download the Convict Road app before heading out to accompany you along the track. Take a canoe or kayak out to explore the Hawkesbury river or camp out under the stars at Mill creek or Ten Mile Hollow campground.

The park is bursting with bird and animal life, you’re likely to see gang-gang cockatoos, satin bowerbirds and green catbirds on the mountain slopes and, if you’re camping overnight, be sure to take a torch to look for yellow-bellied and greater gliders and sugar gliders. If you can’t see the yellow-bellied glider, you may well hear their loud shrieking and gurgling calls.

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/dharug-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Dharug National Park.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Sydney take Galston Road from Hornsby or the Old Northern Road from Castle Hill or Dural, these roads join at Middle Dural to become the Old Northern Road. This takes you north to Wisemans Ferry, where you can take your car across the Hawkesbury river on the car ferry or leave it on the south side and cross as a pedestrian to enter the park. From Gosford and the Central Coast take Peats Ridge Road off the F3 and then Wisemans Ferry Road from Central Mangrove to the Mill Creek campground and picnic area.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    By bike

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

    Best times to visit

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

    Autumn

    The water has warmed up nicely by late summer so autumn is great for kayaking and canoeing along the Hawkesbury river.

    Spring

    The spring months are perfect for enjoying more strenuous activities in the park, like the longer walks and mountain bike riding. It's also the perfect time to see wildflowers.

    Winter

    The park is still stunning in winter and walking on sunny days is very pleasant. It can be cold at night so bring warm gear if you're camping.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    13°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    42.9°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    8°C and 18°C

    Lowest recorded

    -0.1°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    February and March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    230.2mm

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    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

    Windsor (48 km)

    Explore Windsor's historic buildings, including St Matthew's Anglican Church (1817), Windsor Court House (1822), and the Macquarie Arms Hotel (1815). Bring a picnic or your boat and enjoy the beautiful riverside parks in Windsor including Howe Park and Governor Phillip Park.

    www.sydney.com

    Sydney City Centre (80 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

    Hawkesbury area

    Explore the beautiful Hawkesbury River with Australia's Last River Boat Postman, or sample fresh oysters at a casual riverside cafe. Start your Hawkesbury adventure with a seaplane flight from Sydney to a local restaurant by the river.

    www.sydney.com

    Learn more

    Dharug National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Step into Australia’s past

    The Old Great North Road walk, Dharug National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Dharug National Park contains the Old Great North Road, one of 11 historic sites which form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. It's a spectacular example of early colonial engineering and demonstrates the use of convict labour; up to 720 convicts - some in chains - worked on the road, which spanned 264km, connecting Sydney to the settlements of the Hunter Valley. Only 43km of the road remains relatively intact, running from Wisemans Ferry in the south to Mount Manning in the north and includes the oldest surviving stone bridges in mainland Australia. It makes a great walk to explore over two or three days or an exhilarating day's cycle.

    • Devines Hill loop Head to Devines Hill loop in Dharug National Park, near Wisemans Ferry this weekend for a bike ride or walk along the historic World Heritage-listed Devines Hill loop.
    • Old Great North Road - World Heritage walk Old Great North Road – World Heritage walk highlights a historic convict-built road with scenic river views, via Finchs Line, in Dharug National Park.

    Rugged beauty

    Devines Hill loop, Dharug National Park. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    From the rugged bushland containing gang-gang cockatoos, satin bowerbirds and Lewin's honeyeaters to the sparkling waters of the creeks and the rich colours of the sandstone cliffs and formations, Dharug National Park offers a diverse range of landscapes. Bring your bike, bushwalk, camp by the creek, canoe on the Hawkesbury or make the most of the backdrop with your camera, there is so much to explore.

    Aboriginal heritage

    Devines Hill, Dharug National Park. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    Dharug National Park is the traditional Country of the Dharug Aboriginal people. Abundant in animal, plant and bird life, the area was a rich source of food, medicines and shelter. The park's diverse landscapes and all they contain feature in all aspects of Aboriginal culture and are associated with Dreaming stories and cultural learning that is still passed on today.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

      With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

    • Australian brush turkey, Dorrigo National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

      Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami)

      The Australian brush turkey, also known as bush or scrub turkey, can be found in rainforests along eastern NSW. With a striking red head, blue-black plumage and booming call, these distinctive Australian birds are easy to spot while bird watching in several NSW national parks.

    • 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.

    • Lace monitor, Daleys Point walking track, Bouddi National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Lace monitor (Varanus varius)

      One of Australia’s largest lizards, the carnivorous tree-dwelling lace monitor, or tree goanna, can grow to 2m in length and is found in forests and coastal tablelands across eastern Australia. These Australian animals are typically dark blue in colour with whitish spots or blotches.

    Plants

    • Gymea lily. Photo: Simone Cottrell

      Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa)

      The magnificent Gymea lily is one of the most unusual Australian native plants, found only along the coast and surrounding bushland of the Sydney Basin, from Newcastle to Wollongong. In spring this giant lily shoots out spectacular red flowers that can reach heights of 2-4m.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Dharug National Park 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:

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Dharug National Park. Risk assessments for new and emerging weeds are carried out as an ongoing initiative within the park. Pest management of wild dogs is a priority and an important part of the work NPWS does to protect the integrity of biodiversity which exists within Dharug.

    Conservation program

    Wild dog control program

    Wild dogs can have significant impacts on other animals and are regarded as pests. Our wild dog control program operates in many NSW national parks and reserves. When carrying out wild dog pest control, we aim to minimise the impact that they have on livestock and domestic pets, while maintaining dingo conservation in key areas.

    Exploring World Heritage

    Dharug National Park incorporates the Old Great North Road, one of 11 historic sites which form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. NPWS protects and conserves the road’s historic significance through a variety of initiatives. These aim to retain and recover the road’s World Heritage values, while ensuring no further negative impact. NPWS liaises with park neighbours and authorities as required.

    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.

    Man walking on the 11km walking track. Photo: John Yurasek