Looking down to the Shoalhaven River from Mt Ayre, Bungonia National Park

Looking down to the Shoalhaven River from Mt Ayre, Bungonia National Park

Bungonia is one of the oldest public recreation reserves in the world, with its limestone caves first being protected back in 1872. It lies 35km east of Goulburn on the edge of the Southern Highlands. It is bounded to the north by Bungonia Creek, to the east by the Shoalhaven River, and to the south by Bungonia State Conservation Area, which the national park was carved out of in 2010. It is a popular reserve for a variety of activities, including bushwalking, canyoning, caving and rock climbing. The caves are the deepest in mainland Australia.


The main road access to Bungonia State Conservation Area is fairly well signposted from both Goulburn and Marulan. From Sydney, head south west on the Hume Highway and take the exit just south of Marulan, passing straight through the roundabout. At the next T-intersection after 16km turn left to the town of Bungonia, and then left just past the middle of town. The National Park is about 10km down the road.



Bungonia has quite a number of signposted walking tracks, the longer ones marked with coloured squares and signs. There are easy short walks to the major lookouts, Adams Lookout and Bungonia Lookdown. The Green Track and Yellow Track (which leads into the Bungonia SCA) are relatively easy walks along the tops with short side trips to a number of lookouts over Bungonia Creek. The White Track is easy to Mt Ayre, where there are good views of the Shoalhaven River. From there a steep, unmarked track takes you down to the Shoalhaven. The Red Track passes through the limestone slot canyon in Bungonia Gorge, and has a long, steep ascent and descent.


Most of the canyons are in fact part of the state conservation area. The most popular canyons are Jerrara Creek and Bungonia Creek, parts of which are in Bungonia NP.


The steep pocketed limestone cliffs on the south eastern side of the Bungonia Creek Slot Canyon offer powerful climbing at the higher grades. Most routes are long, protection somewhat limited, and the difficulty of most climbs is 22 or higher. Because of the low traffic and the length of the routes, route finding is difficult, and the climbs are recommended only for experienced climbers.


The cliffs around some of the cave areas are used for abseiling practice, generally before doing a caving or canyoning trip. Hogan's Hole is one of the more popular areas.


Bungonia is a very popular area for caving because of its proximity to Sydney, and the fact that many of the caves are able to be visited without obtaining special permits. Most of the caves are quite vertical, requiring abseiling to visit fully. Carbon dioxide can accumulate in the lower chambers, so experience is necessary. Popular caves include the walk-in Mass Cave, Grill Cave and Hogan's Hole.


There is a large camping area at Bungonia, with toilets, showers and a communal kitchen. Sites need to be booked during holiday periods, and a fee applies. Bush camping is allowed down at the Shoalhaven River, and at other places away from the main visitor areas. Camping is prohibited in Bungonia Creek and in limestone areas.


Lower Bungonia Creek

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 7km Fitness: EM Skill: M Ascent: 440m

An excellent walk with good views on the way in and out, and a beautiful swimming hole