The Watagans area was once part of a larger home area of the Awabakal and Darkinjung Aboriginal people. Evidence of their occupation can be found throughout the park.
The Watagans area has now been named a national park, the declaration being made on January 1, 1999. The park preserves an area of some 7750 hectares, including the headwaters of Gap and Dora Creeks. Within the park are areas of rainforest and several waterfalls.
The park also preserves a large number of native animals and birds, including the Common Wombat, Koala and Tiger Quoll. Several important species of endangered animals live in the park, including several species of bats and frogs.
ABOVE: View from the Base of Gap creek Falls
The Watagans National Park and the various State Forests of the Watagans area are accessed via the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway at the Morriset exit and Cooranbong. After Cooranbong turn left into Martinsville Road and then left onto Watagan Road and finally right into Watagan Forest Road. Alternatively, the park can be accessed by the Mt Faulk Road which is after Martinsville Road.
The Great North Walk also works its way through the Watagan National Park. This walk goes from Sydney to Newcastle, with more information on the walk found on the page devoted to that walk. Just click on the link to go there.
Macleans and Hunter Lookouts
These lookouts are found off the main Watagan Road, along Bakers Road. There are fireplaces, tables, water and toilets at both lookouts.
The Watagan Forest Trail starts at Macleans Lookout and is 7.5km in length. This is not an easy walk, taking about 4 hours to walk. There are a number of caves on the walk.
Heaton Lookout is off the main Watagan Road, along Heaton Road. This location also provides fireplaces, tables, water and toilets.
There is an easy 800m loop trail starting from the upper Heaton car park and ends at the northern end of the upper picnic area.
The Heaton Circle is a 3.5km track that starts at the lower Heaton car park.
ABOVE: View from Heatons Lookout on a Cloudy & Misty Day
Boarding House Dam
Boarding House Dam is located just off the main Watagan Road, on Congewai Creek. There is a walking circuit here (Moss Wall Trail – 750m), leading past a large moss-covered cliff. There are fireplaces, tables and toilets here.
The Pines is probably the most popular of the camping and picnic areas in the Watagans area, just off the main Watagan Road. Here there are fireplaces, tables and toilets. Camp areas are near the picnic site.
Closeby are the Water Tower Picnic Area, the Old Mill Picnic Area, Turpentines Camping Area and Casuarina Camping Area.
The Pines and the Wildflower Trail is an easy short 2km combined walk near the Pines Picnic Area. It begins by following the Abbotts Falls Circuit walk. Evidence of Aboriginal occupation can be found by way of axe-grinding grooves beside the creek at near a small waterfall in the early stages of the walk.
Wishing Well Walking Trail
This walk is located between The Pines and Muirs Lookout on Martinsville Road, off the main Watagan Road. The walk begins from the Wishing Well Forest Park and is 2.5km long.
Abbott's Falls Circuit
Abbott's Falls Walking Trail is an 8km loop trail, taking about 4-5 hours to complete. The walk follows Dora Creek to a set of small waterfalls. The walk begins at The Pines picnic area.
Muirs Lookout is located just off the Watagan Rd, along Prickly Ridge Road. There are fireplaces, tables, water and toilets. There is also a marked walking trail starting from Muirs Lookout.
Gap Creek Falls
The Gap Creek Picnic Area and Camp Area is located off the Mount Faulk and Bangalow Roads. Here there is a trail to the base of Gap Creek Falls (formerly called Brownes Falls). This is a 40m waterfall on Gap Creek. The walk is about 1.5km (return) long, returning the same way. The climb back up from the mountain is steep, though a seat is now provided for those needing a rest halfway up.
ABOVE: Enjoying the tranquillity of Gap Creek Falls
The area above the falls can also be reached by following the creek from above. To reach the creek, follow the forest walk (about 1km), which is an easy stroll through the forest. After reaching the creek, you can go either up the creek or down. By going down you will eventually reach the top of Gap Creek Falls. It should be noted that there is a bit of rock-hopping over slippery rocks and some climbing involved.
ABOVE: Gap Creek Falls in Low Flow
The Basin is a camping and picnic area off Walkers Ridges Road, not far from Bucketty and Kulnura. From here there are two walks, the 1km Rock Lily Track and the 8km Lyrebird Track.
- Gap Creek Falls
- Gap Creek Falls – 17 August 2003
- Gap Creek Falls – 30 November 2020
- Heaton Lookout – 30 November 2020
ABOVE: Gap Creek Falls
Day Trip – August 17, 2003
On August 17, 2003, I went for a quick trip to the Watagans National Park. During this visit, I walked to the base of Gap Creek Falls and also walked to above the falls via the forest walk. It seems that some improvements have been made to the area since my last visit. A lot of the weeds have been removed from along the track and a seat provided for the return journey from the falls.
During the walk to the base of the falls, I saw a lyrebird. It seems these are plentiful in the area, having seen one or two each time I have visited the area.
Following a report in the paper the day before on the falls, the area seemed to have more visitors than usual – even the camping ground had a lot of people there.
Faulk Road wasn't too bad, but Bangalow Road could use a bit of work. Still able to be used by 2WD cars though, just a lot of potholes in the gravel.
- NSW National Parks
Watagans National Park
Watagans National Park (Best Trails)
- Trail Hiking Australia
Watagans National Park
- Morriset 1:25 000
- Quarrabolong 1:25 000
- NSW State Forests – Central Coast 1:50 000
- New South Wales Directory
- Wilderness Hub – Table of Contents
- Facebook Page – Kevin's Wilderness Journeys
Last Updated – 13 December 2020