Let’s face it, we all want the world to know we are ‘living the dream’, even if our regular lives are somewhat……boring! Here’s your chance to enjoy some escapism from the mundane and return home with a pocketful of tales to brag about after your trip. 

Here’s five reasons to go wandering in the Watagans:

  • It’s like a free-range zoo and wildlife encounter

     

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    There are native animals, big and small, everywhere. From the moment you open the car door you hear, before you see, the sounds of wildlife. The massive dinosaur-like monitor lizards keep a watchful eye on new arrivals, whether that be perched on a log, roaming across the Gap Creek campground or planted on the trunk of a blue gum tree.

     

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    The wallabies, possums and abundant birdlife take centre stage, making regular appearances around camp. The campground crew of currawong birds and wallabies are very ‘friendly’ so, ensure you protect your supplies and please don’t feed any of the wildlife – it only encourages bad behaviour and is bad for their health!

  • Hike to your delight

     

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    Choose your own level of hiking intensity in the Watagans – all tracks come signposted. Try traversing the steep descent to Gap Creek Falls to be rewarded with cool air and refreshing waterfalls (sometimes a trickle); pick and choose views over the lower Hunter Valley on the 12km one-way Great North walk to claim your trophy photo; walk the 20 minute easy Circuit Track to get home décor inspo with the Watagan’s own Moss wall ; or capture the ultimate sunset snap with an evening picnic at Monkey Face lookout.

    Ranger Tip: Waterfalls can offer amazing photo opportunities and are adventurous places to cool off after a long, hot walk. Please take note of these safety tips and stay safe around waterfalls. 

  • There's life beyond your phone

     

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    No social media, no phone calls, no point to even unload technology from the car! An easy 2hrs north from Sydney and you get that whole retro vibe of life before virtual interaction. Ok, so if you wander around or go for a decent hike (up a big hill, try Turners walking track) there is the occasional ‘ding’ notification from the outside world. Reception usually doesn’t last long enough for a reply call, but you might just have enough time for a quick upload of a braggy post from the rustic and charming Bangalow campground.

    Did you know? Watagans National Park is of great importance to the Awabakal and Darkinjung people. The park is special because it is one of only six sites in wider Sydney that has 100+ Aboriginal engravings (40 locations across the park).

  • Reconnect - to nature!

    The Narrow Place lookout in Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer/OEH

    Enjoying the view from The Narrow Place lookout

    The Narrow Place lookoutWatagans National Park

    John Spencer/OEH (2013)

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    Ahhh, that whole ‘connection with nature’ thing, where there’s actual scientific studies that have found that being in nature is good for your mental health and overall well being #healthymindhealthybody.

    With wicked views of Hunter Valley towns (like Qurrobolong, Paxton, Ellalong, Cessnock and Kurri Kurri). The Narrow Place lookout is a favourite amongst photographers and hikers. At this great spot you’re bound to feel happy, inspired and basically free! As a plus, you might even catch the endangered brush-tailed rock wallabies sunbathing below.

    Did you know? The Narrow Place lookout was named by the local Hall family, long-established landowner gaziers. They used the steep narrow track (below the lookout) to lead their horses up onto the escarpment. 

  • Find your romantic side

     

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    Romance should never be only for lovers! Who doesn’t want to embroil themselves in the romantic notion of an adventure in the wilderness? The allure of conquering parts of the Great North Walk is only half the fun. It’s the stuff you tell your future grandkids, with all the fervour and devotion to adventure that makes your camping trip a legendary tale. The Watagans are bound to create a passion to seek out escapades that challenge your everyday reality.

    Ranger Tip: Roads in Watagans National Park are unsealed, and accessible by 2WD in dry conditions only. 4WDs should be used at all other times. Gates and roads may be temporarily closed to prevent damage when wet so always check for alerts. Please contact the NPWS Lake Munmorah area office for more info.