Everybody living in New South Wales are spoilt by nature especially in the coastal cities like Sydney and Newcastle. Just a few minutes from the CBD, they can take a break on the beach to swim and surf. On the other hand, if they want to explore the wilderness, they have a lot of options which are mostly just a few hours away from the city. One of the best places to explore in NSW is the Yengo National Park.
Yengo National Park is located only two hours away from Sydney and Newcastle yet it has a vibe unlike that of a city. It has spectacular views of gorges and ridges, lush forests, and relics of Aboriginal heritage. In addition, the park is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and it also hosts the historical Old Great North Road (known more commonly as Convict Trail) which forms its southeast boundary.
So, are you getting curious about this place? Here are all the things that you need to know about Yengo National Park…
How Can I Get There?
From Sydney CBD, you should take the following route:
- Head east and drive on King St onto Castlereagh St.
- Make a right turn at the 2nd cross street toward Elizabeth St.
- Turn left onto St. James Rd and onto Prince Albert Rd.
- After 100 metres, turn left to stay on Prince Albert Rd.
- Turn right onto St Marys Rd and then left onto Sir John Young Cres.
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit so that you’ll stay on Sir John Young Cres.
- After 300 metres, take the ramp to merge onto M1.
- Keep driving on the left lane to stay on M1.
- Keep right to continue onto M2. After 25.7 km, take the A2/Old Windsor Rd exit which will lead you to Parklea/Windsor.
- At the roundabout, continue drive straight until you reach Bridge St. From here, continue onto Wilberforce Rd and Putty Rd.
- After 110 km, turn right onto Howes Trail.
Note: There is a more scenic route to the park (from Wiseman’s Creek) but the trip will be longer compared to this one.
Why Should I Go to Yengo National Park?
While your trip will mostly focus on Yengo National Park, you can experience much more when you make your way from the surrounding area like Wiseman’s Ferry. From here, you can cross the Hawkesbury River by riding on a ferry to arrive at St. Alban’s. The town is a historical settlement and hosts the famous Settlers Arms Inn. If you’re done exploring the town, you can take the time to have stroll through the equally interesting cemetery located not far from the fabled inn.
As you leave the town, the road meanders through the ranches before ascending towards the Mogo Campground. This campground offers the view of some sections of the historic Old Great North Road. This road runs along the southeast border of the park and it is considered to be one of the first engineering feats of the New South Wales colony. However, the site was built using convict labour to provide an easier access for those going from Sydney to Hunter Valley and vice versa. Today, some of the buttresses, culverts, bridges, and retaining walls are still preserved. The relics are still spectacular and they are uniquely built compared to most roads built during the period. The road was spared from damage because it was abandoned even before it was completed as steamers between Sydney and Newcastle rendered it obsolete. In addition, another road to the Hunter Valley was also built and it became more popular than the Old Great North.
Taking the Yengo Creek Road will lead you to the village of Laguna and eventually onto the park proper through Howes Trail. This is a circuitous route that will take you to the Aboriginal Sites of Burragurra and Finchley and the vineyards of Wollombi.
The park also offers views of forests nestled in steep gorges and rocky ridges. You should explore several rock formations scattered throughout the park like the Narrabeen sandstone. It is said to be one of the oldest rock formations in the park. Most geologists think that the rock formed 230 million years ago because of sand particles washed down from the surrounding mountains. The park also hosts one of the rarest rock types called Wianamatta shale which is used for farming. So, if you have an affinity for geology and rock formations, this park will offer more than you need.
What Tracks Can I Explore in Yengo?
There are three driving tracks that you can take inside the park. One of these is the Greater Blue Mountains Drive which starts from the Katoomba area in the Blue Mountains National Park and passes through the sandstone plateau that is part of Wollemi, Yengo, Gardens of Stone, Kanangra-Boyd, Nattai, and Thirlmere Lakes national parks. Arguably, these parks offer the best scenery among all national parks in Australia. The road trip would also require you to drive about 1,200 km of sealed road in order to complete the epic journey. You can also explore other sites along the journey like the Three Sisters walk, Echo Point Lookout, Jellybean Pool, and Govetts Leap lookout among others.
If you are an avid off-roader and want to tackle a more challenging track, then the Howes Trail is the one for you. It is a 30 km one-way track that will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete and it is graded hard by the park authorities. Howes Trail will also let you witness the breathtaking views of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and you will surely have an exhilarating day trip. The track passes through ironbark forests which hosts more than 200 species of birds. This track is a haven for birdwatchers! You can also potentially catch a glimpse of wombats and wallaroos running through the bushes.
In addition, you can also explore the track via motorbikes and mountain bike if you are tired of driving your 4WD vehicle. The track is free but it is located in a remote location, so you will need to prepare everything that you will need to safely finish it.
Your last option if you find Howes Trail too hard (or if you’re done exploring it) is the Big Yango Loop trail. It is a 22 km loop track that will just take one to two hours to completely explore. The track is the perfect way for you to destress and take in the rugged landscape. While driving, you will see the vast landscape along with the forested areas of the park. If you’re lucky, you can even encounter wombats, wallabies, and goannas so watch out. You will certainly forget about your worries as you will have to concentrate on the steep climbs and descents that you’ll need to tackle. There are also some sections of the track with washed-out areas and tight switchbacks that can be very difficult to tread on especially for inexperienced 4WD drivers.
Big Yango is rated as medium but access is only limited for those who are staying at Big Yango House, Blue Gums Campground, or Mountain Arm Campground. We also recommend that you take this track only if you have enough experience and a 4WD vehicle with low range. You will also need to take note of the weather as it can be extremely unpredictable and it can make the track very slippery.
Where Can I Stay in Yengo National Park?
Within the park, you can choose from the following campsites:
- Mogo Campground: This camp has located in a picturesque area. It also has fire pits, a camp shelter, and pit toilets. However, it has bollards which makes it safe for pedestrians but not suitable for those travelling with camper trailers. This track is also conveniently situated near popular attractions such as the Old Great North Road, Bucketty Wall, St Albans Ramp, Circuit Flat Bridge, the Kooland Observatory, and various vineyards in the Wollombi Valley.
- Finchley Campground: If you want to stay at a camp that is as far away from civilisation as you can, then this is the campsite that you should pick. You will also have a nice view of Mt Yengo and a sky full of stars during the evening. It offers four basic sites, wooden fire pits, and non-flush toilets. Another benefit is that the camp hardly ever gets crowded aside from the numerous native birds and goannas at the area. In addition, the camp is located near the Finchley Aboriginal Area where you can visit the largest engraving sites in the region.
- Blue Gums Campground: This is a tranquil, secluded camping spot where you can set up a campfire and watch the stars as you sleep. It is also a perfect spot for mountain bikers as it is connected to the Mount Yengo loop trail and for 4WD enthusiasts as it is located near one.
- Mountain Arm Campground: Mountain Arm is situated on a gently sloping grassy area where you can take your 4WD vehicle after driving through the park. However, you can also take your caravan or trailer at the camp. The campsite also has a creek which is only filled after rain and tall trees which offers shade. It is also quite convenient as there are a number or bushwalking, cycling trails, and the Big Yango loop trail is located near the camp.
Wiseman’s Ferry also has several accommodation options which you can choose from. It ranges from caravan parks to resort-style accommodation. One example of this is The Settlers Arms Inn at St. Albans where you can stay for the night if you want to sleep on a proper bed. Aside from it, there are also other bed & breakfast in Wollombi, St. Albans, and Wisemans.
What Places Can I Explore at The Park?
The park is a paradise for photographers as it has a lot of rugged sandstone cliffs and picturesque parks located along water courses. There are also several popular attractions in the park like the Aboriginal rock carvings at Finchley. At the area, you can also head to the Finchley Trig Lookout where you can enjoy the majestic views and take a picnic or have a cold drink or tea. The lookout will enable you to see Mt Yengo from another perspective. After you have taken your lunch, you can then head to the nearby Finchley Campground.
Are There Other Places to See Around the Park?
If you’re done exploring Yengo National Park, these areas are very close to it and you will certainly enjoy them:
- Abercrombie River NP: The park features three waterways and open wilderness which will give you the opportunity to hike, drive on 4WD tracks, camp, swim, and observe wildlife. Some of the park’s 4WD tracks runs along gorges and ridges which makes them more challenging even for seasoned off-road drivers.
- Wollemi National Park: This area is a World Heritage-listed area and it offers a beautiful setting for scenic walks, canoeing, swimming, and camping. It is just a couple of hours away from Yengo NP. So, you can squeeze this on a day trip or devote an entire day to explore it after your tour around the latter. There are no 4WD tracks located around the park but you can drive through the scenic Greater Blue Mountains drive.
What Preparations Should I Do Before Heading to Yengo?
Even though you’re planning to drive on the easier tracks, you should still bring with you the standard recovery gear to avoid the hassle. You should also have ample amounts of water, food, and fuel as the park offers almost none of these. Mogo Campground does have water but it is only available sometimes. In addition, Finchley offers no water for campers at all so you will need to be self-sufficient.
The park requires no permits for visitors to enter but you will be charged for overnight camping within the park. It is based on an honour system so you should be honest about the length of your stay. You should also be mindful of private access roads within the region.
How Much Will I Have to Pay for The NSW National Parks Pass?
Single day passage costs $4, $8 or $12, with the exception of Kosciuszko National Park. An assortment of 1 and 2-year passes are accessible for private vehicles with up to 8 seats. The cost reaches from $22 to $190 for a 1-year pass, and relies upon which parks you wish to explore.
Can You Fish in NSW National Parks?
Experience angling in NSW national parks and cast your line over the state, from shoreline fishing close to Sydney to trout-filled mountain streams in Kosciuszko National Park. You can pick your very own experience, select a fishing schedule, or join a guided tour group and fish from your kayak.
How Far Away from Is the Blue Mountain From Sydney?
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is around two hours drive west from the city centre of Sydney. It is best reached and toured via vehicle, but you can likewise go there via train or bus. Sydney Airport is around one hour and 40 minutes east of the famous Blue Mountains town of Katoomba.
Do I Need To Have A Licence to Fish In NSW?
When angling in NSW waters, both freshwater and saltwater, you should have your recreational angling permit or a receipt demonstrating your payment of the required recreational fishing fees, consistently.
Where Did the Three Sisters Got Its Name?
According to Aboriginal dreamtime legend, the three sisters, ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and ‘Gunnedoo’ lived in the Jamison Valley and they were from the Katoomba clan. These delightful youngsters had gone gaga for three siblings from the Nepean clan, yet ancestral law denied them to wed.
What Type of Rock Is the Three Sisters Composed Of?
They are made of sandstone, similar to the dividers of the encompassing Jamison Valley. The three arrangements were made by wind and downpour which is continually chiseling the delicate sandstone of the Blue Mountains. It’s said that in the end The Three Sisters will be totally disintegrated because of erosion.
How Do You Obtain A Boat Licence In NSW?
Pass the general boat licence information test. You can increase your handy sailing background by finishing a Boating License Practical Logbook. The logbook is accessible for nothing out of pocket from any registry, service centre or Government Access Center (GAC) or through the website: rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime.
How Many National Parks Are in Australia?
Australia’s six Commonwealth National Parks, the Australian National Botanic Gardens and 58 Commonwealth Marine Parks ensure a portion of the nation’s most beautiful natural areas and Aboriginal legacy.
Why Does National Parks Exist?
National parks ensure the best of our natural legacy: dazzling landscapes, remarkable natural life and superb woodlands. Together with other ensured territories they form the premise of our financial and social prosperity, draw in millions of tourists every year, and help to secure Australia’s endemic wildlife by going about as a haven for them.