Garigal National Park

Overview

Explore the scenery of Garigal National Park by bike, horse or canoe. It’s so close to Sydney making it perfect for a school excursion, and the opportunities for fishing, picnicking and bushwalking are limitless.

Read more about Garigal National Park

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Garigal National Park. Just a short drive from Sydney's CBD, its impressive sandstone country offers great water and bush views, waterfalls and several significant Aboriginal sites and historic places. It’s the ideal escape for a daytrip or picnic.

Garigal is home to a remarkable array of animals and plants, including the threatened southern brown bandicoot and protects thousands of years of heritage. You can retrace Governor Phillip's steps along the heritage walk to Bungaroo, where he camped for two nights on his first expedition in 1788.

Discover Garigal on foot along the extensive walking track system or ride your mountain bike on one of the challenging fire trails. The park is also great for boating, canoeing and fishing along tranquil Middle Harbour Creek.

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/garigal-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

  • in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • Garigal National Park is open 6am to 6.30pm (8pm during daylight savings) but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day applies at Davidson Park only. There are coin-operated or credit card pay and display machines. Bus: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day).

    Daily entry fee exemption for teachers and educational supervisors (1 adult per 10 children) applies only for organised and pre-arranged group bookings.

    Buy annual pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
  • More
    • Bobbin Head Information Centre
      02 9472 8949
      Contact hours: 10am to 4pm daily. 9am to 4pm during summer school holidays, closed 12pm-12:30pm. Closed Christmas Day.
    • 688 Ku-ring-gai Chase Road, Mount Colah, NSW 2079
    • Email: bobbin.head@environment.nsw.gov.au
    More
See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Garigal National Park starts 12km north of Sydney CBD and covers bushland from Middle Harbour Creek north to Mona Vale Road and east to the Wakehurst Parkway and Deep Creek.

    Park entry points Show more

    Parking

    • Davidson Park picnic area and boat ramp See on map

    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 Garigal National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Spring

    Spot wildflowers turning the undergrowth into a painter's palette along the Cascades trail during late winter and early spring.

    Summer

    Davidson Park is a popular place for a family picnic or barbecue, so pack up the kids and a tasty lunch to enjoy some time in the great outdoors.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    18°C and 26°C

    Highest recorded

    44°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    10°C and 16°C

    Lowest recorded

    -1.7°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    290mm

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day applies at Davidson Park only. There are coin-operated or credit card pay and display machines. Bus: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day).

    Daily entry fee exemption for teachers and educational supervisors (1 adult per 10 children) applies only for organised and pre-arranged group bookings.

    • 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).

    Permitted

    Fishing

    A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

    Please note that spear guns and hand spears are not permitted in Garigal National Park. They may not be carried through the park and must not be used within 100m of a beach in the national park.

    Prohibited

    Camp fires and solid fuel burners

    Camping

    Gathering firewood

    Gathering firewood and the use of heat beads is not permitted.

    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

    Wahroonga (7 km)

    Located on Sydney's upper north shore, Wahroonga is within short driving distance of Lane Cove National Park, Berowra Valley Regional Park, and the heritage-listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Australia's second-oldest national park, Ku-ring-gai Chase offers a range of recreational activities, as well as cafes and picnic areas.

    www.kmc.nsw.gov.au

    Sydney City Centre (16 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

    Parramatta (22 km)

    Parramatta offers a fascinating insight into early colonial life in Australia. Don't miss a visit to Old Government House, now one of 11 Australian Convict Sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

    www.sydney.com

    Learn more

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

    Wildlife haven

    Silver banksia (Banksia marginata), Garigal National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Garigal is part of an important wildlife corridor that spans all the way from Sydney Harbour to the national parks of the Blue Mountains. It's the natural habitat for a number of threatened native animal species, such as tiger quolls, broad-headed snakes and red-crowned toadlets, so keep your eyes peeled. If you see a hole in the ground it may be that of the endangered southern brown bandicoot.

    • Cascades trail The Cascades Trail is ideal for walking, horseriding and mountain biking. A medium difficulty walk or ride along a fire trail, it traverses Middle Harbour creek.
    • Stepping Stone Crossing to Cascades trail Located in Garigal National Park, Stepping Stone Crossing to Cascades trail is an easy walk that you can enjoy by walking, horse riding or mountain biking.

    Wartime stories

    Pipeline and Bungaroo tracks to Stepping Stones trail, Garigal National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    There are many places of historical interest in the park, such as Bungaroo and the former Bantry Bay Explosives Magazine complex. Both sites played a key role in the early establishment of Sydney and are important reminders of our history since colonisation. Enjoy a walk to Bantry Bay, where you'll see a collection of historically important buildings surrounded by stunning foreshore and bushland views.

    Rich Aboriginal heritage

    Cascade trail, Garigal National Park. Photo: Kim McClymont

    The Guringai people have been custodians of the land in Garigal National Park for thousands of years and this connection and legacy is evident throughout the park. Garigal has extensive Aboriginal art sites, with over 100 Aboriginal sites recorded to date, including cave art, rock engravings, shelters, middens and grinding grooves.

    Outdoor action

    Davidson picnic area, Garigal National Park. Photo: Shaun Sursok

    There are countless ways to pass the time in Garigal. Explore the park's trails and tracks on horseback, mountain bike or on foot. If you enjoy water activities, launch your canoe or boat from the ramp at Davidson Park or drop a line in one of the great fishing spots throughout the park, like Middle Harbour, where you can catch flathead, flounder, mullet and bream.

    • Cascades trail The Cascades Trail is ideal for walking, horseriding and mountain biking. A medium difficulty walk or ride along a fire trail, it traverses Middle Harbour creek.
    • Davidson Park picnic area and boat ramp If you're looking for something to do in Sydney, Davidson Park is a pretty harbourside park with boating and canoeing access, just a short drive from the Sydney CBD.
    • Natural Bridge track to Davidson Park This is a challenging walking track winds through Garigal National Park taking in impressive sandstone rock formations and spectacular water views.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

      The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

    Plants

    •  Grey mangrove, Towra Point Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

      Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

      Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

    • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

      Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

    • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

      An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

    • 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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Garigal 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:

    Preserving biodiversity

    Biodiversity is highly valuedwithin Garigal National Park. Reporting species numbers and is an ongoingmanagement priority along with the identification of plant life in this park.With cooperation from Warringah and Pittwater Councils, weed managementcontinues around the Garigal.

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Garigal National Park. Risk assessment and the implementation of pest management strategies is an important part of the work NPWS does to protect biodiversity values within this park.

    Conservation program

    Fox threat abatement plan

    Since the fox was introduced to Australia in the 1870s, its impact on the environment has been negative. Foxes have contributed to the decline and extinction of a large range of native Australian animals.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    The development of signage around Garigal National Park is a priority to ensure the visitor experience is facilitated adequately in the park. Ongoing installation of interpretive displays around park attractions and maintenance of the area are part of Garigal valuing an enriched visitor experience wherever necessary or possible.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    Conservation plans are apriority in Garigal National Park for significant rock engraving sites andother sites of high Aboriginal cultural significance. Management of the parkalso involves an ongoing focus on record keeping of Aboriginal cultural sites.

    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.

    Boat jetty, Garigal National Park. Photo: Kevin McGrath