Macquarie Pass National Park

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Wander among the rainforest and towering eucalypts, experience scenic views, enjoy picnicking and bushwalking along the Illawarra escarpment, near Wollongong and Kiama.

Read more about Macquarie Pass National Park

One of the joys of New South Wales’ national parks is that you can often find yourself in a place that feels completely wild. Macquarie Pass National Park, on the Illawarra escarpment, is an easy day trip from the southern suburbs of Sydney.

The park’s steep sandstone ridges and gullies provide diverse habitats for local wildlife. Amid heathland, rainforest and tall moist eucalypt forest live lyrebirds, satin bowerbirds, koalas, possums, wombats, swamp wallabies, goannas and platypus. The park is also an important habitat for threatened tiger quolls and long-nosed potoroos.

With terrific bushwalking and birdwatching opportunities, wonderful waterfalls, views to the ocean and the blazing crimson of Illawarra flame trees, Macquarie Pass National Park is well worth a visit if you’re looking for things to do on the south coast.

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/macquarie-pass-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Sydney and Wollongong:

  1. Take the Princes Highway and Southern Freeway to the Illawarra Highway turnoff at Haywards Bay
  2. Travel about 14km along the Illawarra Highway, which veers right in Albion Park, to Macquarie Pass National Park.
  3. From Robertson:

  4. Take the Illawarra Highway east to reach Macquarie Pass National Park.
  5. From Nowra:

  6. Head north along the Princes Highway and turn west into Tongarra Road at Albion Park Rail
  7. Travel about 15km along Tongarra Road, which becomes the Illawarra Highway, to Macquarie Pass National Park.
  8. The main road used to access Macquarie Pass National Park is the Illawarra Highway which may close at times due to road works or accidents. Check Live Traffic NSW before you visit.

    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 Macquarie Pass National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    Take on some longer walks and see the lilly pillys fruiting.

    Spring

    Smell the sweet scent of flowering pittosporum and wattle throughout the park.

    Summer

    Walk in the cool of the rainforest and see the Illawarra flame trees and coachwoods in flower.

    Winter

    Enjoy the early wattle blooming at the edge of the forest and bring your binoculars for the bird activity of late winter.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    18°C and 25°C

    Highest recorded

    42.4°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    8°C and 18°C

    Lowest recorded

    2.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    304.4mm

    Facilities

    Picnic tables

    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

    Robertson (8 km)

    Robertson is known as the 'green heart of the Highlands' for a good reason - it's always green. Rich, fertile soil and abundant rural farmland make up Robertson's scenic landscape. It serves as a gateway to some of the State's best waterfalls.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Wollongong (39 km)

    There are plenty of opportunities for adventure activities in and around Wollongong ranging from surfing and swimming to sailing, hang gliding, paragliding, cycling and abseiling. Wollongong is the only place in NSW where you can skydive onto the beach.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Nowra (60 km)

    Nowra is a historic city and the commercial heart of the Shoalhaven. It's on the Shoalhaven River close to beaches and national parks.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

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

    The perfect climate for bushwalking

    Native vegetation, Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T Moody

    In summer, take advantage of the dense shade and fern-lined watercourses criss-crossing the park. In winter, you'll find that many parts of the park are much milder than the exposed highlands, which makes walking a pleasant thing to do all year round.

    • Clover Hill trail For escarpment views, rainforest, waterfalls, birdwatching and cool creeks, take the Clover Hill trail at Macquarie Pass near Wollongong and Kiama.

    Diverse habitats

    Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T Moody

    The first thing visitors will notice in the park is the sheer size of the trees and the rainforest feel of the park, with plentiful figs, cabbage tree palms and vines. Tall open forest on the north and west slopes contains huge turpentine, brown barrel and gully gum, and there are three distinct types of rainforest in the park. If you're patient and lucky, you may see platypus in the larger watercourses and koalas in the forests. There are thought to be threatened broad-headed snakes here too, and you're also likely to see grey-headed flying foxes feeding on native figs in season. The park is an important place for the conservation of tiger quolls and long-nosed potoroos. There's plenty for birdwatchers to see too. Lyrebirds and satin bowerbirds wander about and the threatened powerful owl is also local to the area.

    • Cascades picnic area Take a break from your road trip or relax after Cascades walk at this sunny picnic area amid the cool rainforest, near Wollongong on the south coast of NSW.
    • Cascades walk For an easy walk through shady rainforest, take Cascades walk to a beautiful waterfall and pool near Kiama and Robertson.
    • Scones in the forest South Coast walking tours Experience South Coast beauty on this wilderness excursion with Nature Engagement Tours. Walking with a friendly and knowledgeable guide, you'll explore pristine forests in beautiful Macquarie Pass National Park, near Wollongong and Kiama.

    An ancient route

    View of Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T Moody

    It's thought that the track through Macquarie Pass followed a traditional path used by the Wodi Wodi people to travel between the coast and the highlands. Made into a track in 1863 and a road in 1898, it was so rugged that the brakes and radiators of the first cars had trouble coping. At least one went straight over the embankment. Today, it's a much more enjoyable journey - the winding, steep Illawarra Highway gives travellers time to take a look at the beautiful landscape and forest.

    • Cascades walk For an easy walk through shady rainforest, take Cascades walk to a beautiful waterfall and pool near Kiama and Robertson.

    A colourful escarpment

    View of Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo:  T Moody

    Macquarie Pass National Park covers a spectacular sandstone escarpment that glows a rich yellow and orange in the sunlight, contrasting with the lush, deep green of the forest. At its base lie massive boulders lined with ferns and orchids. It's said that local Nurrewin House was built entirely from the stone of one boulder.

    • Cascades picnic area Take a break from your road trip or relax after Cascades walk at this sunny picnic area amid the cool rainforest, near Wollongong on the south coast of NSW.
    • Clover Hill trail For escarpment views, rainforest, waterfalls, birdwatching and cool creeks, take the Clover Hill trail at Macquarie Pass near Wollongong and Kiama.

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Macquarie Pass 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.

    Clover Hill Trail, Macquarie Pass National Park. Photo: T. Moody/NSW Government