I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published July 30th 2013
Muogamarra Nature Reserve is a beautiful, wildflower-filled, culturally-rich attraction that's well worth a visit. There's just one catch: it's only open for six weekends a year during August and September, when the wildflowers are in bloom. However, I strongly recommend finding the time to work it into your schedule.
You will find the reserve on the northern fringes of Sydney, nestled between the Pacific Highway, Berowra Creek and the Hawkesbury River. The entrance is around 3.5 kilometres from the bushland suburb of Cowan and involves a narrow dirt road (the kind where you need to beep before you go around corners).
There's an Aboriginal rock carving to be found on a rocky area next to the road
Upon arrival, you will be expected to pay an entrance fee, which is $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for children and $25.00 for families. You will then have to register before you go anywhere, which involves stating which walk/s you intend to do (so that if there is a car left in the car park after closing time, it's clear who it belongs to and where the owner is likely to be).
Once that's all sorted it's time to start start exploring, and the picnic area near the car park is a great place to start. There is a small, single-room museum here, which could be easily overlooked if you didn't know what is was.
However, it's the flowers that everyone comes here for and you don't have to go far to enjoy them. I found that the shorter walks in the immediate area include some of the best displays.
One great walk is Point Loop, a two kilometre track that begins and ends at the car park, taking you out to the rocky Western Lookout. You'll find yourself very out-of-place here if you don't have a camera.
Another great view, as well as more wildflowers, are on offer at Tipper Lookout, named after John D. Tipper, who founded the reserve. To find the site, just take the path that begins between the museum and the building where you registered. The lookout isn't too far away.
A pretty impressive view is on offer at Tipper Lookout
One flower reliably found in the area near Tipper Lookout is the waratah.
Past this lookout is the beginning of the longest walk at the reserve, Peats Crater Walk, which is five kilometres each way. It takes you down to the volcanic diatreme and old farming site of Peats Crater, then out to Peats Bight. Along the way you get to see rock carvings, historic sites and, of course, the ever-changing flora.
The last part of the walk follows the water out to Peats Bight
Reaching Peats Bight
Other walks that you can do at the reserve include the Lloyd Trig Walk and Deerubbin Lookover, however I didn't complete any of these because I visited with a friend who was familiar with the area and had already determined her favourites. If you want someone to show you around, there are guided tours you can join and information on dates and times can be found here. These tours also occur on special occasions throughout the year, so if you miss out on a spring visit, don't worry, you may still get to see the reserve yet.