Mount Wilson area

Blue Mountains National Park

Overview

Visit the natural wonders of Mount Wilson area on an exhilarating walk or mountain bike ride. Hike to Mount Banks, or explore canyons and wilderness in this remote corner of Blue Mountains National Park.

Read more about Mount Wilson area

Mount Banks picnic area is the perfect start to your Mount Wilson day trip. Breathe in the fresh air, spread out the picnic blanket and enjoy a quiet lunch surrounded by nature.

Hikers can get their heart rate up on the challenging Mount Banks Summit walk (1049m). Climb through windswept heath for staggering views across the Grose Wilderness. The fertile summit is home to tall monkey gum forest, a favourite habitat for lyrebirds, wombats and nocturnal greater gliders.

Mount Banks Road cycle route also starts from the picnic area. Ride or walk deep into the wilderness, and marvel at the 510m-high Banks Wall plunging into the Grose Valley. It’s especially beautiful in September and October, when the track is dotted with red waratahs, grevilleas and delicate native iris flowers.

Take a leisurely drive along the winding Bells Line of Road, part of the Greater Blue Mountains Drive. You don’t have to go far to find a scenic viewpoint. Stretch your legs on the short Walls lookout track, near Pierces Pass picnic area. You'll have magnificent views of Mount Banks and Mount Hay. This is also where intrepid hikers can tackle the Pierces Pass to Blue Gum Forest wilderness walk.

Why not detour to the historic village of Mount Wilson. Here, you can enjoy the short walk to Du Faurs Rocks lookout and Chinamans Hat. Explore the narrow canyons and gorges of the Wollangambe Wilderness on a tour, or stay overnight to make the most of this spectacular area.

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/mount-wilson-area/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Mount Wilson area.

Getting there and parking

To get to the Mount Wilson area in Blue Mountains National Park:

From Sydney:

  • Take the Bells Line of Road from Richmond. Mount Banks turnoff is about 10km past Mount Tomah.
  • Or, head west on the M4 and Great Western Highway towards Lithgow,
  • At Mount Victoria, turn off the highway onto Darling Causeway and follow to the end. Then turn right onto Bells Line of Road.

From Lithgow:

  • Follow the Great Western Highway east toward Sydney,
  • At Mount Victoria, turn left onto Darling Causeway and follow to the end. Then turn right onto Bells Line of Road.
  • You can also follow Chifley Road from Lithgow, which becomes Bells Line of Road.

Road quality

  • Mixture of sealed and unsealed roads

Best times to visit

Mount Wilson area is a remote and scenic place to visit. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Autumn brings crisp weather and clear blue skies perfect for cycling, trail running or walking. Well-prepared, experienced hikers can tackle the walk from Pierces Pass to Blue Gum Forest, which goes deep into the Grose Wilderness. En route to the national park, visit the nearby cool climate Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, off the Bells Line of Road at Mount Tomah.

Spring

September and October are prime time for wildflowers and bird watching. Along the tracks and trails near Mount Banks vibrant red waratahs bloom, as well as grevilleas, banksias, and grass trees. After rain, rockpools fill on the heath and bright green or orange lichens come to life. In damp, shady areas look out for blue dampiera or insect-eating sticky sundews. Rare pink flannel flowers germinate after bushfires and rain. Bring your binoculars to spot a wedge-tailed eagle, peregrine falcon, or black cockatoo riding the thermals above Grose Valley.

Summer

Escape the summer crowds and heat to enjoy remote wilderness and spectacular scenery. Du Faurs Rocks lookout and Chinamans Hat are great short walks from Mount Wilson fire station, with fantastic rock formations and wilderness views. The fine weather makes this a perfect time to enjoy a nature picnic with local produce, followed by a gentle walk. This is also the best (and safest) time of year to descend into the remote canyons on an introductory canyoning tour.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

All Blue Mountains National Park visitors planning a long hike, off-track or overnight adventure, or visiting a remote part of the park, are recommended to fill in the trip intention form and carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Find out more about hiring a PLB and completing a trip intention form on the dedicated iPads at Blue Mountains Heritage Centre (Blackheath), Katoomba Police Station, and Springwood Police Station.

You can hire a PLB between 9am - 4pm at the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre in Blackheath or after hours from the Police Stations at Katoomba and Springwood.

  • Keep well back from cliff edges at all times, especially when taking photos.
  • There are no fences in this area so please take care and stay on marked tracks.

Adventure sports

Adventure sports like climbing, caving, canyoning and abseiling offer a thrilling opportunity to explore our unique environments. Before you head out, be aware of the risks and stay safe during adventure sports.

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

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

Walking and cycling groups in the Grose Wilderness, including around Mount Banks, are limited to 8 people.

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

In designated fireplaces only.

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

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

Blackheath (17km km)

The magnificent Govetts Leap waterfall drops a whopping 180m to the base of the cliff. The 'ozone-laden' air of the Blue Mountains was promoted as a health tonic since the early 1800s, and when you get there, you'll realise why.

www.visitnsw.com

Lithgow (18km km)

Hassans Walls Lookout, near Lithgow, is the highest in the Blue Mountains. Admire Mt Wilson, Mt York, Mt Tarana and Mt Blaxland as well as the pretty Hartley Valley below. To the south are the Kanimbla and Megalong valley and Mt Bindo. While there, go for a walk or ride around the lookout.

www.visitnsw.com

Windsor (48km 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

Learn more

Mount Wilson area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

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.

Environments in this area

What we're doing

Mount Wilson 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:

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