Overview

Byangee Walls and Pigeon House Mountain from the Castle, Morton National Park

Byangee Walls and Pigeon House Mountain from the Castle, Morton National Park

Morton National Park is one of the largest parks in NSW, protecting a large area of the ranges inland from Nowra, on the south coast. Morton NP represents the southern extent of the Sydney basin, and similar to many other parks in that region, is largely a maze of dissected sandstone plateaux. Due to its size, it supports a wide range of plant communities, and a correspondingly diverse array of wildlife. The overall picture is similar in places to the Sydney sandstone parks, and in others to Kanangra-Boyd or the Blue Mountains.

The major river on the South Coast, the Shoalhaven, flows through the park, and the majority of creeks and rivers drain into it. The river adds an extra dimension to the recreational activities available in the park.

Access

Being such a large park, there are numerous access points to the perimeter, and one main road that runs through the park.

On the north side of the park, there is a visitor's centre at Fitzroy Falls, on the road from Moss Vale to Nowra, and the town of Bundanoon gives access to a number of shorter walks.

In the centre of the park, the Nowra-Braidwood road runs through the middle from east to west. It is usually passable by 2wd vehicles and gives access to the Ettrema Wilderness Area.

On the south-west side of the park, the Wog Wog property lies just off the Nowra-Braidwood road, and walkers can pass through into the park.

On the south-east of the park, a series of forestry roads is used to get to the start of walks to Pigeon House Mountain, the Castle, and Monolith Valley.

Many other roads and fire trails reach the boundary of the park. Best is to get maps of the relevant areas and talk to the NPWS if necessary.

Activities

Bushwalking

Morton National Park is a treasure for experienced walkers, as there are a limited number of tracks, and few of those are marked. However, there are still many options for the newer bushwalker as well.

Shorter easy walks can be found around the Bundanoon and Fitzroy Falls areas, as well as the iconic Pigeon House Mountain walk, a short, steep climb. Popular longer walks include those to the Castle, Monolith Valley and the surrounding peaks, and the Shoalhaven.

Further afield, the Ettrema wilderness and area north of Monolith Valley offer relatively untracked wilderness, and are strictly for experienced walkers.

Canoeing/Kayaking

Canoeing is relatively popular in the park. The Shoalhaven is paddlable for over 250km, mostly around Grade 2-3. Flat water paddling is also possible in Lake Yarrunga, behind Tallowa Dam, and in the Shoalhaven Estuary. The Kangaroo River, a tributary of the Shoalhaven, and the Clyde River, just south of the park, also offer some paddling. See The Rivers and Lakes of NSW - A Canoeing and Camping Guide by Chris and Yvonne McLaughlin for more information.

Climbing

Given the amount of sandstone cliffs, there is surprisingly little recorded rockclimbing in the park. This is largely due to the difficulty of access, and the fact that most of the peaks can be accessed by scrambling. Some adventure climbing has been done on some of the obvious cliffs such as the Castle and Pigeon House Mountain, as well as Hoddle's Castle Hill and Pagoda Rocks (near Sturgiss Mountain). Due to the remoteness and general lack of information, these are all for experienced climbers only.

Mountain Biking

There are few fire trails accessible by mountain bike in the park. Some short rides on fire trails to lookouts in the Bundanoon area are possible. Otherwise, off-road touring from Moss Vale or Goulburn/Canberra to Nowra make for good multi-day rides through parts of the park.

Liloing

The Shoalhaven river is a popular liloing venue in the summer. Many different sections can be liloed, but the section through the Blockup is probably the most popular as it is almost impossible to walk.

Caving

While there is no recognised caving in Morton NP, just next door is the well known Bungonia NP with significant recreational caving.

Walks

Ettrema Creek

Time: 3 days Distance: 29km Fitness: M Skill: MH Ascent: 550m

Classic gorge walking in the Ettrema wilderness in Morton National Park

Pigeon House Mountain

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 6km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 490m

A steep but rewarding climb to this signature peak

The Castle

Time: 10 hrs Distance: 11km Fitness: M Skill: M Ascent: 810m

A long and challenging climb to the summit of this cliff-ringed peak, with spectacular views

Corang Arch

Time: 2 days Distance: 24km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 360m

A good overnight or long day walk to this spectacular conglomerate rock arch in the Budawang Wilderness

Mt Talaterang

Time: 8 hrs Distance: 20km Fitness: M Skill: M Ascent: 440m

A challenging walk to one of the iconic peaks of the Budawangs

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