Over the Blue Mountains from the coast and just a little bit north is a national park that’s almost as unknown as the famous pine tree named after it; Wollemi National Park.

It’s worth spending a couple of days in the Wollemi. Read on to learn about two stunning campgrounds where you can set up base, explore to your heart’s content, then kick back under the stars with your mates.

  • Ruins and Rock Outcrops - Newnes Campground

    Two people outside a tent in Newnes Campground - walk in, looking up at the cliffs, Wollemi National Park. Photo credit: Daniel Tran / DPE

    Nestled deep in the Wolgan Valley, surrounded by soaring sandstone walls, Newnes Campground is the perfect hideaway. The cliffs keep the sun off your tent for a sleep in, but don’t bet on the birds staying quiet for that dawn chorus.

    Wildlife’s the theme – be sure to pack your food up nice and tight because the local wallabies will be more than keen to try your lunch. #dontfeedit You shouldn’t feed the animals, here’s why.

    It’s a hard slog into the campground roughly a 10km walk in, carrying all your supplies including drinking water. But you’ll understand why it’s all worth it at night, the high cliffs at Newnes block out the light from Sydney, making the stargazing truly extraordinary. 

    Campsite facts: book online, 3hrs from Sydney. Is a WALK-IN-only campground. It’s a long, roughly 10km walk to reach the campground with no vehicle access. BYO water, rubbish bags, firewood, and toilet paper – luckily there are drop toilets available.  

     

    Newnes Glow Worm Tunnel

    People walking along the Glow Worm Tunnel walking track, Wollemi National Park. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Nature’s own fairylight show

    Glow Worm Tunnel walking track

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    -33.23922, 150.2276

    Glow worms are nature’s fairy lights. These incredible critters are the ultimate crowd pleaser, but ironically, one of the best places to see them is a man-made tunnel. Originally for trains to the shale mining town of Newnes, the Glow Worm Tunnel offers up to 400m prime glow worm habitat.

    Help The Glow Worms Stay Lit! Make sure you don’t shine your torch at the glow worms, you won’t be able to see them if you do and it’s bad for the little guys to be exposed to bright light. Let your night vision do its work and make sure to look, but not touch.

    Two males on the Glow Worm Tunnel walking track in Wollemi National Park. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Part of the epic walk to get to Newnes Glow Worm Tunnel

    Glow Worm Tunnel walking track

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    -33.24402, 150.22742

    You can see these fellas do their best Milky Way impression as part of the 9km, 4-5 hour Glow Worm Tunnel via Wolgan Valley loop. On this epic walk, you’ll climb out of the valley, marvel at rugged pagodas, and soak up clifftop views before things get dark and magical.

    Easy Option: There’s an easier 2km walking route if you’re up for a drive. Depending on where you’re coming from, it could be worth visiting the Glow Worm Tunnel on your way in or out of Wollemi National Park.

     

    Newnes Industrial Ruins

    When the shale miners left the Wolgan Valley they abandoned their buildings and ovens, leaving the clean-up job to the bush. Now the ruins make for a strange sight amongst the gums. Brick walls crumble and coke ovens from a hundred years ago resemble igloos made of stone.

    To take a stroll through the historic Newnes Industrial Ruins, walk from Newnes campground up to the ford in the river and rock hop across. It’s about a 3.5km round trip from the campground. Make sure you stick to the path so you protect the relics and stay safe (you don’t want to risk falling down a hidden abandoned mine shaft!).

  • Pagodas and Paddlin’ - Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp campground

    Two guys setting up a tent in Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp campground. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Adventure HQ

    Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp campground

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp campground is truly spectacular. A 100-year-old weir created a large body of water in the shadows of the iconic rock pagodas and cliffs that dot Wollemi National Park. With no marked spots you’re right to find a nook to set up adventure HQ.

    Campsite facts: book online, no marked sites at Ganguddy, 2WD accessible, BYO water, firewood, rubbish bags and toilet paper – there are drop toilets available. Book early as it’s popular weekends.

     

    Pagoda Lookout walk and the Long Cave circuit

    Two guys sitting on a bench ot the Pagoda Lookout walking track. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Worth the effort

    Pagoda Lookout walking track

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    Wollemi National Park’s iconic pagodas can’t be missed. The 2.5km Pagoda Lookout walk starts with the Weir Walk where you can admire the scribbly gums and spot water birds like the purple swamp hen. Take a peek into the water near the weir, you might even see long-necked turtles or a platypus!

    Two guys hiking up the pagoda outcrop. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Undivided attention and grippy shoes to get to the top

    Pagoda Lookout

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    -32.83173, 150.19632

    Halfway to the Weir, the walk climbs steeply for 120m to the top of the pagoda outcrop, this is where grippy shoes and your undivided attention will come in handy. If you’ve come prepared with some water and food, you can continue along the Long Cave circuit to total a 4.5km journey.

    Aboriginal hand stencil in Wollemi National Park. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Aboriginal hand stencil

    Dunns Swamp (Gunguddy) campground

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    -32.83385, 150.20627

    Short walks dot the Ganguddy-Dunns Swamp campground. One that leaves from the picnic area passes Aboriginal hand stencils thought to be 1000 years old.

    Reminder: Please respect our precious rockart sites and help protect them by not touching the art and avoiding flash photography.

     

    Have a Swim in the Cudgegong

    A guy taking a photo of a friend with the Cudgegong river in the background. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Get my best side

    Cudgegong river

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    -32.83515, 150.20163

    After a big walk is when camping next to water really comes into its own. Take a dip in the river, or if you’re really cluey, inflate that lilo you packed and float your troubles away.

    Swim Safe: Wild swimming is awesome, but it’s no pool. Stay safe when swimming in lakes and rivers by following these simple tips.


     

    Or Dip a Paddle in at Sunrise

    Kayaking on the Cudgegong river, Wollemi National Park. Photo credit: Daniel Tran/DPIE
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    Uninterrupted sunrise kayak. Amazing.

    Cudgegong river

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran/DPIE (2018)

    -32.83247, 150.20448

    If you really want to find some seclusion, there’s no faster way to get up the river than in a kayak. Sunrise is the time to go, listen to the birds wake up, watch the mist rise off the water, and feel the sun warming the cliff walls around you.

    Hire A Kayak: Throughout summer kayaks are available for hire if you don’t have your own or there’s the option to go on a guided kayak tour. Goes without saying but please wear a lifejacket and read our water safety tips 

     

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Remember: National Parks are natural and unpredictable environments. Plan your adventure for all weather conditions, and before you go tell someone  – fill in a trip intention form, and always check for park alerts for the most up-to-date info on closed parks and safety alerts. Prepare for your trip with our camping safety or bushwalking safety tips.