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Mount Wilson area

Blue Mountains National Park

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Learn more about why this area is special

Mount Wilson area is in Blue Mountains National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this area is special:

Ancient landscapes

Aeria view of Grose Valley escarpment and Mount Banks cliff walls, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Destination NSW

The distinctive double hump of Mount Banks was formed by lava 12 to17 million years ago, during volcanic eruptions. While softer sandstone eroded over years to carve out the Grose Valley and rocky escarpments, thick basalt layers atop Mount Banks, Mount Tomah and Mount Wilson protected the sandstone underneath. The sheer Banks Wall, an exposed cliff face 510m high, provides a window into the geology of this area. It’s best viewed from Perrys Lookdown in the Blackheath area of the park.

  • Mount Banks Road cycle route With scenic wilderness views, wildflowers and birdwatching, Mount Banks Road is a great mountain bike ride and walking track, near Mount Tomah, in Blue Mountains National Park.
  • Mount Banks Summit walk For some of the best scenic views in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, try the steep Mount Banks Summit walk from the picnic area, near Mount Wilson.

What we're doing for Landscapes and geology in this park

A haven for plants and animals

Yellow flower of the drumstick shrub, Mount Banks summit walk, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH.

As you’d expect of an area named after famous botanist Sir Joseph Banks, Mount Banks has rich plant and animal life. Around 1,000 types of flowering plants call the park’s diverse environments home, including the NSW floral emblem—the waratah. Watch the vegetation change from open woodland to low-growing heath and bare rock as you walk to Mount Banks summit. At the summit, fertile basalt soil allows tall trees like monkey gums to grow. The trees were named by early European explorers who mistook the resident gliders for monkeys. On ridge tops you may see hanging swamps or the rare Blue Mountains cliff mallee tree, found only in the upper mountains on exposed cliff edges.

  • Mount Banks Summit walk For some of the best scenic views in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, try the steep Mount Banks Summit walk from the picnic area, near Mount Wilson.

What we're doing for Biodiversity in this park

World-class wilderness

Du Faurs Rocks lookout views of Wollangambe wilderness, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH.

The Grose Wilderness is the only declared wilderness area in Blue Mountains National Park. The walks and cycle route at Mount Banks are some of the easiest ways to explore this protected area. At the heart of the Grose Wilderness is the magnificent Blue Gum Forest. This closed forest of tall blue gum trees is one of the most secluded areas in the Blue Mountains. It also played an important role in the beginnings of the park and conservation movement in NSW. In 1932, the forest was saved from the axe when a group of bushwalkers pooled their money to buy out the lease. Almost 100 years later, intrepid hikers can hike into this natural wonder via Pierces Pass, off Bells Line of Road. Near Mount Wilson, Du Faurs Rocks lookout offers views north into the Wollangambe and Wollemi wilderness areas.

  • Mount Banks Road cycle route With scenic wilderness views, wildflowers and birdwatching, Mount Banks Road is a great mountain bike ride and walking track, near Mount Tomah, in Blue Mountains National Park.

Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

Grose Valley seen from Mount Banks Road trail, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH

Blue Mountains National Park is 1 of 8 national parks and reserves that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA). In 2000, UNESCO recognised the area's outstanding geology, biodiversity, and Aboriginal significance. The GBMWHA lies within the Country of the Darug, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung, Wanaruah and Dharawal People. With 1 million hectares of rugged plateaux, sheer cliffs, deep gorges, it protects unique ecosystems teeming with rare plants and animals. Over 95 species of eucalypt trees have evolved here over millions of years, making it the most diverse eucalypt forest in the world. Greater Blue Mountains driving route is a great way to see this ancient wilderness right on Sydney doorstep.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Sugar glider. Photo: Jeff Betteridge

    Sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)

    The sugar glider is a tree-dwelling Australian native marsupial, found in tall eucalypt forests and woodlands along eastern NSW. The nocturnal sugar glider feeds on insects and birds, and satisfies its sweet tooth with nectar and pollens.

  • 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.

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

  • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

    The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

  •  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.

  • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

    The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

  • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

    Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

    With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

  • Eastern bentwing bat. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Eastern bentwing-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis)

    In colonies numbering up to 150,000, eastern bentwing-bats congregate in caves across the east and north-west coasts of Australia. These small Australian animals weigh around 13-17g and can reach speeds of up to 50km per hour. Eastern bentwing-bats use both sight and echolocation to catch small insects mid-air.

Plants

  • Blueberry ash. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

    The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together. It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria.

  • Flannel flowers in Wollemi National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi)

    The delicate flannel flower is so named because of the soft woolly feel of the plant. Growing in the NSW south coast region, extending to Narrabri in the Central West and up to south-east Queensland, its white or pink flowers bloom all year long, with an extra burst of colour in the spring.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

    Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

Look out for...

Swamp wallaby

Wallabia bicolor

Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

Environments in this area

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Banksia, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk/OEH.