You don’t need to venture far from the city for a short overnight or weekend trip. Also, it can be every bit as fun as adventures to Australia’s most famous off-road destinations that you’ve been dreaming about. Luckily, Wollemi National Park is very close to Sydney, and it has a fantastic secluded campsite – Wheeny Creek.
Wollemi National Park is only 100 km away from Sydney, and it is perfect for a weekend getaway due to its proximity. Meanwhile, Wheeny Creek is an excellent option for camping as it is very close to Sydney and Newcastle. Also, the whole place is considered as the largest protected area in NSW with magnificent canyons, massive cliffs, and virgin forests. So, you’ll surely have a great time aside from driving the challenging 4WD tracks.
Do you want to know more about Wollemi and Wheeny Creek? Read more below!
How Do I Get to Wheeny Creek?
If you are from Sydney, you can follow this route:
- Take the ramp onto M1 from Sir John Young Cres
- Merge onto M1
- Keep right to continue onto M2
- Continue onto M7
- After 1.2 km, take the A2/Old Windsor Rd exit leading to Parklea/Windsor
- Use any lane to turn right to Old Windsor Rd/A2
- Keep right to continue on the same road
- At the roundabout after 13.3 km, continue taking Bridge St
- Continue onto Wilberforce Rd and Putty Rd
- After 17.6 km, turn left onto Upper Colo Rd
- Turn left to stay on Upper Colo Road
- After 1.7 km, turn left (this road’s usage is restricted)
What Should I Know About Wheeny Creek?
Wollemi National Park is a natural forested area in the upper parts of the Blue Mountains and Hunter region of NSW. The park covers about 5000km², and it is located a few kilometres west of Sydney.
It’s claimed to be the largest wilderness area in NSW. It is home to significant Aboriginal treasures, rare plants (Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1994 in a secluded valley) and various animals. Also, the park has several entry points, but since it’s rugged and remote, there aren’t a lot of roads that cut directly in the middle of it.
Some of the park’s best attractions can be found on the Lithgow portion since it was the area where the early explorers – like Allan Cunningham, who reached the park in 1822 – entered. The entire area is also a wonderland of natural beauty with key landmarks including basalt structures, formed millions of years ago and the Capertee Valley, which is the second-largest canyon on the planet. The gorge is 1.6km wider compared to the Grand Canyon, but it is not as deep.
Indigenous Australians have been resided in this area for about 40,000 years, and several sites and caves have been found with a handprint and animal stencils. Quite recently, some bushwalkers found 200 different relics in one secluded cave.
How Are The 4WD Tracks in Wheeny Creek?
Starting at Wilberforce, take the Singleton (Putty) Road until you get to the Colo River where you’ll see picnic, canoeing, walking, and swimming spots. Right before you cross the river, turn left onto Upper Colo Rd. By doing so, you’ll find Colo Park under the bridge, and it is an excellent spot if you want to take a break.
Upper Colo and Comleroy Road
Continue driving along the Upper Colo Rd as it cuts through secluded valleys enclosed by the sharp cliffs of Wollemi. After 13 km, you arrive at an intersection. Take the right turn onto Colo Heights Rd go past the bridge which gives access to the Colo River itself. About 200 m past the bridge, take a sharp left-hand turn; this will take you to the campground operated by the Council at the Upper Colo Reserve.
If you’re going to enter the area, continue driving straight along the Upper Colo Rd. Follow the road that meanders on the valley, before going down to the camp and picnic grounds at Wheeny Creek, a peaceful spot to enjoy birdlife living in the tall timbers. After passing through the reserve follow Comleroy Road for a further 13 km until you come to the main Bells Line of Road and turn left to Windsor.
What Are Other Things to Do in Wheeny Creek?
There are a lot of things that you can do in Wheeny Creek like:
Wollemi covers a vast area, and both quick walks that last for a day and extended walks lasting a week or more are possible in Wollemi. Due to limited access, the most famous regions are near Newnes on the west portion of the park, Mountain Lagoon on the southern portion, and the fire trails that grants access to the Colo River on the south-eastern part.
Wollemi is considered by some to be a canyoner’s paradise, as it has numerous areas abounding in canyons. But much of the park is covered by forests and access points are very limited. As a result, only a few areas can be canyoned extensively, although the potential for exploratory canyoning for experienced parties is very promising. The main areas for canyoning inside the park are downstream from Newnes and Glen Davis and on the surrounding tops. Many other easily accessible canyons lie in the Newnes State Forest area.
The Dunns Swamp, in the north-west section of Wollemi, provides the perfect opportunity for canoeing. Also, the only body of water in the park that is navigable via kayak is the Colo River. But you need a significant amount of rain before you can try it and is a challenging undertaking. You can also try flatwater paddling in the lower reaches of Colo, near Upper Colo.
Much of Wollemi is forested, so it is currently restricted for mountain biking. Some areas where you can ride include around the Glowworm Tunnel and other roads near the Newnes Plateau (most are not inside the park itself), in Mountain Lagoon, and along the fire trails that branch off from Putty Rd. These fire trails include the Grassy Hill and Culoul Range Trails.
Liloing is often done in the lower stretches of the Colo River, below the junction with the Wollemi Creek. Also, most creeks in the park are either very shallow or have lots of rapids to be worth trying. Some parts of Wollemi Ck and the lower stretches of the Wollangambe are also perfect for liloing.
What Are Other Enthusiasts Saying About Wheeny Creek?
“Comlery Rd has a nice creek crossing (usually)at the bottom of the hill. All dirt roads to it and quite scenic if you head up the side till the top on the other side of the creek. Agree with mikehzz. There’re a few dirt road loop trails. Having a beer at kurrajong heights is not a bad view. Even head back to putty and go lower Colo Rd to lower Portland and follow the Greens Rd out to Wisemans ferry (another great place for a beer) Mostly dirt, couple of ferrys. There are tracks either side of the road on Bicentenary if you’re keen. You could even head out to St Albans (another great place for a beer) and back on the other side of the river. I was shown aboriginal paintings along Bicentenary Rd somewhere, but that was years ago.” -Luthy (https://4x4earth.com/forum/index.php?threads/wheeny-creek-first-timer.43638/)
Where Should I Stay in Wheeny Creek?
Enjoy the peace and ambience of singing bellbirds, running water and tall, shady eucalypts at this lovely picnic area and campground in a quiet gully on Wheeny creek.
If you have just one day to spare, visit Lyrebird for lunch under the trees; or set up your tent on the grassy terraces by the river and settle in for a relaxing break at Boobook, Kingfisher or Cheese Tree camping areas within Wheeny creek campground.
Wheeny Creek is close enough to Sydney and Newcastle that it makes an idyllic retreat for families and friends, for a day trip or a weekend getaway, plus, camping here is free.
What Does Wollemi Mean?
Wollemi is a word of Aboriginal origin that means “look around you, keep your eyes open and watch out”. The scientific name Wollemia nobilis is a reference to the Pine’s majestic qualities and honours David Noble who discovered the first trees in 1994.
How Many Wollemi Pines Exist in The Wild?
In the wild, the tree is reported to live for more than 500 years. The Wollemi pine is regarded as critically endangered because fewer than 100 mature trees are known to exist in the wild.
Why Is the Wollemi Pine Important?
The Wollemi Pine among the world’s rarest plants, since it has fewer than 40 adult plants known to be in two small groves. The survival of this little pocket of trees is remarkable. The discovery of The Wollemi Pine emphasises the importance of having significant areas for the conservation of natural communities.
What Is the Biggest Tree in Australia?
Although there are some reports of mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) in southern Australia growing to over 120 metres, the tallest officially measured was 107 metres. Today the tallest living known specimen is a 99.8-metre tree called Centurion in the Arve Valley, Tasmania.