Morton National Park - Bundanoon

Gambell's Rest, entrance to the National Park.

This spectacular area of mountainous countryside was well known to the original aboriginal inhabitants as 'a place of deep gullies'.

Their name for it, as interpreted by the Europeans, was Bundanoon, and this name came to describe the area and the town which grew up nearby in the late 19th century.

First mention of this natural wonder was made by the pioneer and explorer Dr. Charles Throsby, who passed by on an expedition in 1818.

On returning to Sydney, he seems to have persuaded the Governor to declare 4000 acres of this wilderness as a nature reserve - perhaps the first in the colony.

The natural beauty of the bushland, and the spectacular views - then known more prosaically as 'Bundanoon Gullies', were discovered by holidaymakers from the city with the growth of the village after the coming of the railway, and it was as popular a holiday resort as the Blue Mountains well into the 20th century.


In the 1960s it came under the jurisdiction of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Since that time steps have been taken to preserve it as a natural bushland and wildlife area, and to provide facilities for the many tourists who visit.

Most of the scenic walks and spots were carved out 100 years ago, and the natural attractions which delighted previous generations still bring fascination and enjoyment to the visitor today.

grand canyon
Grand Canyon

Today Morton National Park at Bundanoon has many kilometres of roads for cars and bicycles, enough bushwalking tracks to keep you occupied for days, numerous lookouts, picnic areas, a camping ground, and other facilities. (A Park use fee applies.)


The spectacular landscape impresses the visitor - for its proximity to "civilisation" ( a few minutes from the town and railway station, a brisk bike ride away - or hike), the density and variety of the bushland, and the unexpected vistas as you reach the edge of the plateau and peer down into the valleys and along the escarpments.

view from echo point
View from Echo Point.
Here are the inner edges of the Great Dividing Range, and the river valleys which can be seen to make their way down towards the sea.

There are hours of bushwalking trails to enjoy - from easy level paths, tracks along escarpments - to more challenging treks down to the site of an old coal mine, 'Fairy Bower', 'Glow Worm Glen', or deep into the valley of the Bundanoon Creek.

Just as surprising is the flora. From native shrub and scrubland, to dense eucalyptus forest, and contrasting pockets of lush fern and vegetation.

The area abounds with native flowers.

Not just in spring, but throughout the year: wattle, bottlebrush, calistemon, the once abundant pink boronia - enough to surprise and delight any nature lover.

A most lasting expression is always left by the abundant fauna. Flocks of colourful and musical native birds fill the air with their calls - parrots, cockatoos, kookaburras - and if you aren't lucky enough to see them, the calls of lyrebirds and bowerbirds.

Wallabies, kangaroos and possums (look for their droppings!) Koala sighted for first in a long time recently (but you aren't likely to see them).


There are a number of picnic grounds in the park.

The best is at Gambell's Rest, with plenty of room for the kids to explore or play.

Toilet facilities and water are available; there are no barbecues - fires are not permitted anywhere in the National Park.

(However, no rubbish bins - you are asked to take home your own waste so available money can be spent on helping to preserve the environment.)

the picnic area at Gambell's Rest
The picnic area at Gambell's Rest.

There is also a camping ground at Gambell's Rest. It has a number of areas, each with BBQ, and (hot) showers are available in the amenities block. (Bookings are eessential. Call NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service for more info - (02) 4887 7270.)

Nearby Bundanoon also has a range of accommodation, and its famous bicycle hire shop.

Lookout at Beauchamps Cliffs.

There are 14 short to long walking trails to be enjoyed in the National Park.

1) Gambells Rest to Erith Coal Mine

Entrance near Gambells Rest. Short, steep walk down through scrub and rainforest to deep gully near where coal was lifted from the escarpment between the 1860s and about 1915 - (see Industry).

Well defined track, with some modern ladders, and in places steps cut out of stone in the old days, but good walking shoes needed.

Dense scrub, in places and beautiful native flowers; much evidence of wildlife.

You can't actually see the coal mine - further descent is dangerous - but if you look towards the right you can see where the cliff has been carved out to provide an incline for the tramtrack where they used to lift the coal in trucks towards the town.

About 1 hour, there and back; or return via track ahead (Trail 2) which takes you back to Echo Point Road and just a short walk from where you started (total - 1 hour).

2) Echo Point Road to Erith Coal Mine.

This takes you to the same place as the first walk. Enter to the right a few hundred metres further along the road from Gambells Rest. A shorter, more steeper descent (this is the original path down).

About 40 minutes return. Or continue along the path on the other side which brings you out not far from where you started.

Round trip about 1 hour.

Bonnie View
Bonnie View - along the escarpment.

3) Echo Point Road to Bonnieview (Lovers Walk).

Entrance just on the left past main intersection on Echo Point Road. Easy level walk to lookout; return by road to north past 'Wishing Well', carved into rock and favourite stopping place for honeymooners in the old days. Comes back to about 50 metres north of where you started.

4) Echo Point Picnic Area to Mount Carnarvon.

Follow signs at picnic area; short walk along ridge to lookout.

About 30 minutes return.

5) Grand Canyon to Fern Glen.

The road to Grand Canyon is the first to the left from Gambells Rest towards Echo Point (one way there only - return via Tooths Lookout.)

A short walk down to a gully with a micro-climate of lush ferns.

About 15 minutes return.

6) Tooths Lookout to Bundanoon Creek.

Entrance from Grand Canyon Road (down walking track), about 500 metres from Grand Canyon Lookout on return road.

A steep and rocky climb down into the floor of the valley of the Bundanoon Creek.

For the serious walker; well-worn path decades old, but no easy steps and rails.

Magnificent views, descent through forest, with the creek and its rocky pools at the bottom (beware of leeches!).

At least 2 hours there and back, but you would probably want to spend more time in the solitude of the wilderness there below.

7) Track Junction below Tooths Lookout to Fairy Bower Falls.

Enter from Tooths Lookout as in Track 6 and head down.

Part way down is a track to the left. Follow this for an easy walk along the cliff to the falls at Fairy Bower.

Takes about 30 minutes. Return the same way.

8) Fairy Bower to the Falls

Park the car then walk to Fairy Bower (about 500 metres)- a peaceful glen. Picnic area, with a creek running through it.

Return the same way. About 40 minutes.

9) Gambells Rest to Fairy Bower Falls.

From Gambells Rest take the road to the left, then the track leading off to the left about 700 metres along through the forest to Fairy Bower. Climb down to the falls.

Return the same way. About 1 hour.

10) Riverview to Amphitheatre.

Easy access to the views. Drive from Bundanoon towards Gambells Rest. Turn left at Riverview Road.

At junction turn right. Park car. Walk to Amphitheatre through Fern Tree Gully for lookout. About 20 minutes return.

11) Dimmocks Creek Track.

A bit off the beaten track.

Follow instructions for 10, but turn left at junction; follow for about a kilometre.

There are two tracks off to the left here; take the second.

This takes you on an easy walk to the head of Dimmocks Creek.

About 30 minutes return. (You can also walk down a steep cliff to Bundanoon Creek: rough and steep; at least 2 hours return).

12) Riverview Road to Glow Worm Glen.

Glow Worm Glen has been one of the most famous attractions of Bundanoon for over a century.

A rocky rift with overhanging caves, it is home to an insect which emits a fluorescent glow in the dark - not as magical today as it was to people in the past, but still a breathtaking natural experience.

This walk goes from Riverview Road (see above); take left junction and first track on left.

An easy walk to the Glen through the bush, best taken in the day only for the sake of the walk (glow worms are only seen at night).

About 40 minutes return. (Or walk on back to Bundanoon via William Street - about 75 minutes).

13) William Street to Glow Worm Glen.

A trip to do at night if you are staying in Bundanoon. (Many accommodation houses can arrange this for you with torches and directions - or your local friends; a guide is advised.)

Drive to William Street, on the right on the Moss Vale side of town. Park at the top end of William Street.

From here a steep track descends towards the glen. It will be pitch dark (especially if you turn off your torches).

In the rocks around you are small insects which give off a fluorescent glow, providing a magical experience.

But you must be quiet, and show no lights so as not to upset them, or they might turn their 'lights' off.

About 1 hour return (plus time looking at the glow worms).

Last updated 26/7/10

The author grew up in this area and has tried to update information about the National Park as it is today. Some information derived from the 'Friends of Morton National Park Bundanoon' publications, and from NPWS. More detailed description of attractions, pictures, and map to follow.

This page is provided to promote tourism to the attractions of the Southern Highlands and is not associated - officially or unofficially - in any way with the work of the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. Photos © 1999 - 2010 Furry Software Pty. Ltd.

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