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Muogamarra Nature Reserve in Early Spring
For just 6 weekends each year, Muogamarra Nature Reserve opens its gates to allow the public to enjoy a brilliant display of colour when wildflowers come into bloom. This Aboriginal cultural heritage site helps protect the fragile ecosystem of the Hawkesbury Sandstone environment and is situated in the northern edge of Sydney between the suburb of Cowan to the south and the Hawkesbury River to the North, just 30 minutes from Gosford. While there, you can enjoy scenic views of Milson and Spectacle islands, Hawkesbury River, Bar and Berowra Creek.
How to get there
Coming in via the Pacific Highway approximately 3.2 kilometres north of Cowan on the left of the northbound dual carriageway, slow your vehicle down a little or you may miss the sign outside announcing the entrance gate to the reserve. Be prepared for a narrow slow-going 3-kilometre-long gravel road with only a few places here and there to allow traffic past from the opposite direction.
On arrival, volunteers will guide your vehicle to an available car spot just outside the main entrance where an entry fee of $25 per person is taken. There is a small grassy area with picnic tables available at this point, along with ramp access to toilets.
Rob and I enjoyed a wonderful day here on the second weekend of opening in 2019 and decided to walk the Point Loop which is a short, flat 2 kilometre walk from the visitor centre/main entrance. This was an easy ramble for us with only a little bit of navigation over uneven ground and rocks, and gentle ascent to be had when we got to the optional viewpoint off-track overlooking Peats Crater and the Hawkesbury River.
If you are a little unsteady on your feet then you can skip this point and continue on the loop path and, while there is still a few areas to be careful on the trail at that point, I think most people with some mobility issues would manage as would fat wheeled electric wheelchairs with a little assistance. Having not had to use a wheelchair though, it may be better to contact the reserve beforehand to assess whether they think this is viable according to the current conditions or the J D Tipper Loop may be more appropriate.
Choose Your Ramble
There are a few other rambles to be had in the reserve which all start from the main information centre, these being:
- J D Tipper Loop – A short mostly flat 1-kilometre walk to the lookout named after the founder of Muogamarra Nature Reserve.
- Lloyd Trig – A generally flat 4-kilometre walk on an old road built by convicts to Lloyd Trig Point, with views overlooking the Hawkesbury River area.
- Deerubbin Lookover – A 6-kilometre walk with a 110-metre descent and a similar ascent along the old Peats Ferry convict road to a rock shelter which provides amazing views over the Hawkesbury River.
- Peats Crater – A 10-kilometre walk with a 200-metre descent and matching ascent which follows a convict road to the site of George Peat’s farm at Peats Crater.
- Bird Gully Swamp – A trail around the edge of a ‘hanging swamp’ containing unique plant habitat. Continue the ramble up to the top of a lovely waterfall and occupation sites of aboriginal Gu-ring-gai people.
What to See
If you choose to join in one of the volunteer guided discovery tours, you will get the chance to see Aboriginal rock engravings and learn about the area’s Aboriginal significance but, if like Rob and I, you choose to go at your own pace, then there is still a lot to take in and learn on your own.
Here are just a few captures of the brilliant displays of colour that greeted us on the day and if you look carefully, a few photographs show how healthy this reserve is with very busy bees enjoying pesticide free native wildflowers such as waratahs, angophoras, old-man banksias, pink boronias and orchids.
We Will Be Back Next Year!
The air was filled with fragrance and birdsong (birdwatchers may glimpse a lyrebird or wedge-tail eagle) and I felt really blessed to be able to enjoy our time. We will be back next year to try out the other trails but will aim to get there much earlier in the day…. If you live with a photographer, you soon learn to take any ramble at a snail’s pace!
Dates for 2019 general visits run from 10th August – 15th September 2019