Southern Blue Mountains area

Blue Mountains National Park

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Overview

The Southern Blue Mountains area near Oberon is a hidden corner of Blue Mountains National Park. Get off the beaten track and explore remote campgrounds, wilderness walks and 4WD routes. Nearby, Yerranderie historic mining town is a highlight.

Read more about Southern Blue Mountains area

The best way to explore this wild area is along the 4WD Oberon-Colong historic stock route. Pack up the car and follow the unsealed road along the rugged Murruin Range. You’ll get tantalising glimpses of sandstone mesas and the World Heritage Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness next door.

Stop to set up base camp, spread a picnic blanket or stretch your legs at Mount Werong campground. From here you can walk to historic Ruby Creek —you might even have the place to yourself. Longer walks to the pristine Kowmung River will challenge self-sufficient explorers. Or gear up for underground adventures in Colong Caves, if you have caving experience and a permit. Explore the many fire trails by mountain bike or 4WD. The Caves to Caves route, between Jenolan and Wombeyan caves, is a favourite for 4WD touring.

The stock route is the only access to historic Yerranderie Private Town, one of NSW’s most authentic silver mining ghost towns. Book a tour around the preserved settlement and stay onsite at the campground or historic accommodation.

The tall, old growth forest in this area is a sanctuary for wildlife. By day, spot mobs of grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, wallaroos, an echidna or large goanna. At night look out for wombats, owls and if you’re lucky, the threatened yellow-bellied glider.

Closer to Katoomba, at the end of the Megalong Valley, you’ll find the open, grassy Dunphys campground. It’s a great base for extended walks along Coxs River or to Kanangra Walls. You can also connect with the 132km Katoomba to Mittagong trail.

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/southern-blue-mountains-area/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Southern Blue Mountains area.

Getting there and parking

To get to the Southern Blue Mountains area of Blue Mountains National Park:

From Sydney via Oberon (3.5hrs):

  • Head west on the M4 Motorway  and Great Western Highway
  • At Hartley, turn left onto Jenolan Caves Road and follow the signs to Oberon.
  • From Oberon, take Edith Road and Butter Factory Lane to Shooters Hill Road.
  • Turn left onto Mount Werong Road (also known as Colong Oberon historic stock route) and follow this road to the park entrance.
  • Dunphys campground is accessed from Blackheath, along Megalong Road.

From Goulburn (1.5hrs):

  • Take Taralga-Oberon Road for around 95km
  • Turn right onto Cosgrove Road, then right onto Mount Werong Road.
  • 4WDs can also take The Range fire trail to Mt Werong from Wombeyan Caves Road.

The nearest fuel and supplies are located in Oberon or Taralga.

Parking

Road access restrictions and conditions

  • There’s no direct access to Southern Blue Mountains area or Yerranderie through the Burragorang Valley from East Picton or Oakdale. This is a Schedule 1 protected water catchment with access restrictions. If you’re using GPS or online mapping, please enter Oberon or Goulburn as your destination to avoid navigational issues.
  • In wet weather, check road conditions or closures with Oberon office.
  • Watch for kangaroos, wombats and fallen trees on the Oberon Colong stock route. Keep speed down to avoid accidents and punctures.

  • Unsealed roads

Best times to visit

Southern Blue Mountains area is a great place to visit at any time of year, if you're well-prepared. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Breathe in the fresh air as you discover uncrowded tracks and trails. Then settle around the campfire and cook up a warming stew with local Oberon pine mushrooms. If conditions are dry, discover the many trails winding through this area by 4WD. Try the Caves to Caves trail which connects Jenolan and Wombeyan Caves.

Spring

Set up camp at Dunphys campground and head out on a day walk along Coxs River. Find a secluded spot to cast a line for trout -- the October long weekend marks the start of fishing season. This is a captivating time for bushwalking or mountain biking, as wattles, orchids and pea flowers bloom throughout the area.

Summer

Enjoy a digital detox and escape the summer heat. At 1200m, Mount Werong campground offers milder temperatures than the coast. Nearby, history buffs can get a glimpse into early pioneering life along the shady 2.5km Ruby Creek walking track, or visit Yerranderie ghost town. Colong Caves can be accessed via a track from Batsh campground, off the stock route. You’ll need caving equipment and experience, and a permit from the Wombeyan Caves office.

Winter

Dust off your sense of adventure and head deep into the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, along the Oberon-Colong stock route. If you’re up for winter camping in the wild you might find yourself surrounded by snow at Mount Werong. Come well prepared as it’s isolated and weather can be extreme. You might prefer to stay in historic accommodation at Yerranderie for easy access to the short walks, historic mines, and township tours.

Facilities

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.

  • This is a remote area. No fuel, water or food is available, so you’ll need to bring food and water for the duration of your visit.
  • The weather can be extreme and unpredictable, please arrive well prepared.
  • Vehicles should be equipped with spare tyres and vehicle recovery kits in the event of punctures or trees on the road.

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.

Cycling safety

Hundreds of cyclists head to our national parks for fun and adventure. If you're riding your bike through a national park, read these mountain biking and cycling safety tips.

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 Plus 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

Caving

You’ll need to apply for a permit to visit Colong Caves, Billys Creek Cave and Church Creek Cave. Permits are available from Wombeyan Caves office.

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Campfires are permitted only in the fire pits provided. Bring your own firewood. Campfires and solid fuel burners may be prohibited during high fire season.

Camping

In designated campgrounds only, including Mount Werong, Limeburners Flat and Dunphys, and within Yerranderie.

Cycling

Bicycles are permitted on the Oberon-Colong stock route, fire trails in the Mount Werong area, and trails around Yerranderie only. Cycling is prohibited within the Schedule 2 Area of Sydney Water Catchment, including at Dunphys campground, Mount Colong, and Limeburners Flat.

Fishing

You can fish in the Kowmung River and Coxs River from October to June long weekends. A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

Horses

You can horse ride on public vehicle access roads and fire trails, where gates are open. A section of the Bicentennial tail skirts the park. Horse riders can camp with horses at Mount Werong and Limeburners Flat campgrounds, off the Oberon-Colong stock route.

Prohibited

Recreational hunting in NSW National Parks is an illegal activity and is a fineable offence.

Gathering firewood

Generators

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

Oberon (34 km)

If the famous Jenolan Caves are on your travel itinerary Oberon in the Blue Mountains is the perfect spot from which to plan your caving adventure. There are a number of ways visitors can tour the caves.

www.visitnsw.com

Taralga (65 km)

Many of Taralga's existing buildings date from the 1860s to the 1890s, and most of them consist of stone from local volcanic supplies. This has resulted in an architectural style unique to Taralga that is somewhere between Georgian and Victorian, giving the town a unique and picturesque aesthetic.

www.visitnsw.com

Goulburn (111 km)

Named after Henry Goulburn - the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Goulburn developed into a major centre for wool, and in 1863, it became Australia's first inland city. Today, the town is a rich hub of history, discovery and natural beauty.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Southern Blue Mountains area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Common wombat. Photo: Keith Gillett

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Echidna. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

  • 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.

  • Tawny frogmouth. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

    Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. The ‘oom oom oom’ call of this native bird can be heard echoing throughout a range of habitats including heath, woodlands and urban areas.

  •  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.

Plants

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 area

What we're doing

Southern Blue Mountains 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: