Marramarra National Park
Marramarra National Park is a great place to go canoeing, camping, bushwalking, picnicking or birdwatching. It's at the junction of Hawkesbury River and Berowra Creek, on the northern outskirts of Sydney, and features great wetlands, views of the Hawkesbury and the largest area of mangroves on the Central Coast. This park has been left in its natural and undeveloped state, and is mainly the preserve of experienced bushwalkers.
This park is near...
Sydney (50 km)
Best access routes
Marramarra National Park is 40 kilometres north-west of Sydney, bounded by the Hawkesbury River, Berowra Creek, Old Northern Road and the villages of Arcadia and Berrilee. There are three main ways to get to the park:
>>from the Old Northern Road along Canoelands Road at Glenorie,
>>from Bloodwood Road, Arcadia, to Marramarra Ridge,
>>from Wisemans Ferry along Singleton Road.
Boat and canoe access to the park is along Marramarra Creek, Berowra Creek and the Hawkesbury River. Landing facilities are available at Gentlemans Halt.
Road quality: unpaved sections
Facilities & things to do
This pristine park has a good selection of ridge walks terminating with water views. The best access to the ridges is from Coba Road, continuing along Bloodwood Road to either Marramarra Ridge or Coba Ridge. A favourite walk goes along Coba Ridge to Collingridge Point, which is a good lunch stop. Another walk follows Smugglers Ridge to Marramarra Creek and then returns via Marramarra Ridge. Duckponds Ridge Trail also goes to Marramarra Creek. There's also a walk along the Canoelands Ridge Track, from Canoelands Road to Gentlemans Halt, which is a about 10km.
Picnics and barbecues
The two most popular areas in the park are Marramarra Creek and Gentlemans Halt. Each has a pit toilet and barbecues making them suitable for picnicking. Both locations can be reached either by boat or on foot and there is no car access to these sites.
Go canoeing or fishing on little-known waterways such as Marramarra Creek and take a close look at the local wildlife. There are excellent examples of mangrove forests at Big Bay, Pumpkin Point and Gentlemans Halt.
Marramarra National Park is one of a group of predominantly sandstone national parks and nature reserves protecting the foreshores and islands of the lower Hawkesbury River. It contains vegetation types that are not well represented in other national parks or nature reserves in the Sydney Basin, including estuarine and saltmarsh communities and vegetation on alluvial and volcanic soils. There are open forest woodlands on the park's ridges, with some excellent examples of mangrove communities at Big Bay, Pumpkin Point Creek and Gentlemans Halt.
The vegetation found on the ridges, plateaus and dry exposed hill slopes is generally typical of the Hawkesbury's sandstone reserves and is dominated by a woodland of red bloodwood, scribbly gum, Sydney red gum, and narrow-leaved stringybark. Small patches of open scrub with dwarf apple occur on the drier ridges in Marramarra. In sandstone gullies and on sheltered south and east-facing sandstone hillsides there are open forests of Sydney peppermint, Sydney red gum, blackbutt and turpentine. The black she-oak is a common smaller tree of this community. In the deeper gullies there are closed forests of coachwood, water gum, lilly pilly and other rainforest species. The park also contains a number of communities that are poorly protected in the Hawkesbury Valley. Eight threatened and twelve uncommon plant species have been identified.
Animals commonly seen include the swamp wallaby, brown antechinus, bush rat, brush tail possum, ring tail possum, eastern pygmy possum, echidna, kookaburra, yellow-tailed black cockatoo, and rock warbler. Other animals recorded include the sugar glider, feathertail glider, long-nosed bandicoot, platypus, lyrebird, white-breasted sea eagle and the regionally uncommon white-throated nightjar. Of particular interest are animals listed as vulnerable—the koala, tiger quoll, giant burrowing frog, red-crowned toadlet, glossy black cockatoo, and powerful owl. There have also been recent sightings of the vulnerable masked owl and sooty owl.
The park landscape: geology and landforms
Marramarra National Park is located on the south-west section of the Hornsby Plateau, a major subdivision of the Sydney Basin, consisting almost entirely of horizontally bedded sedimentary rocks. A number of erosion cycles produced the distinctive, almost flat plateau surfaces. A final, vigorous period of erosion deeply entrenched the Hawkesbury River and its major tributaries, including Berowra Creek, into the existing land surface. The present spectacular foreshore landscape is a product of the sea drowning the river valleys about 6000 years ago, following the end of the last glacial period.
Culture & history
Marramarra National Park is within lands of the Kuring-gai and Darug Aboriginal peoples. European settlement was devastating to the Ku-ring-gai and within 30 years of the arrival of the First Fleet their communities were destroyed. The surviving Aboriginal sites, which provide the only indications of traditional life in the area, are of special importance to local Aboriginal communities. Sites within the park are diverse, and include cave art, rock engravings, grinding grooves, middens, scarred trees, and other occupational deposits and stone arrangements.
The land and waterways, and the plants and animals that live in them, feature in all facets of Aboriginal culture – including recreational, ceremonial, spiritual and as a main source of food and medicine. They are associated with dreaming stories and cultural learning that is still passed on today. We work with local Aboriginal communities to protect this rich heritage.
To find out more about Aboriginal heritage in the park, you can get in touch with the local Aboriginal community. Contact the park office for more details.
History in the park
European exploration and use of the land began as early as 1789 when Governor Arthur Phillip took his second trip up the Hawkesbury River. Gentlemans Halt is believed to be the last point and campsite reached by Phillip during this exploration of the river. In the early days of the new colony the Hawkesbury River was a major communication route and supported an active river-based community. By 1884 there was a small community at Gentlemans Halt and a provisional school had been established. The foundations of a road and a wharf are all that remain of the settlement. Other historic places include a stone cottage on Sentry Box Reach, remains of orchards along Marramarra Creek and the foundations of a hut, stone walls and a well at Big Bay. Marramarra National Park was reserved in 1979.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service