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Published August 14th 2020
A tranquil National Park offering picnics, walks, & history
Please note: The recent bushfires impacted Thirlmere Lakes National Park, however, on my recent visit, it was wonderful to see more regrowth!
Being part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Thirlmere Lakes National Park is a 1,550 acre (629 hectares) protected National Park. It is home to some of the most spectacular aquatic plants including the rare frogmouth waterlily, ground orchids, as well as being home to around 140 birds including the white-faced heron, mush duck, and white-bellied sea eagle that inhabit the National Park.
Thirlmere Lakes National Park is also home to five freshwater lakes, which are thought to be around 15-million years old! The lakes are surrounded by lush native Australian plant species, lakes where swimming, canoeing or kayaking can be enjoyed as well as tranquil picnic areas.
For water-based activities, do check the water level as it can become quite low.
The national park is also one of eight protected areas that form the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains Area. It is also the most south-eastern and smallest of the eight within the World Heritage Site.
The heritage wilderness lakes extend over 5kms and are surrounded with walls of valley that is dense with scrub gum trees and native flowering bushes. The tall reeds line most of the banks of the lakes, and several sand beaches make popular swimming holes for over a century! The first lake is approximately six metres deep in its centre.
It was a mix of emotions- seeing the heartbreaking destruction caused from the unprecedented fires to seeing the power of nature with its regrowth and beauty
What makes Thirlmere Lakes National Park quite special is its unique ecosystem; the lakes are a series of lagoons that meander a path of a creek where it is perched above the local erosion levels of sandstone. It traps the water instead of allowing it to flow downstream.
The lake's ecology is also home to the freshwater sponge, plankton, jellyfish, worms, and mussels. On land, you will find an abundance of spectacular bushland, including eucalypts and shrubs, and wildlife, including wombats.
There are three main highlights at the national park, including the Thirlmere Lakes Walking Track, Heritage Pump Station and the Werri Berri Picnic Area.
The Thirlmere Lakes Walking Track starts at the Couridjah Picnic Area and winds its way around the lakes along 6km. There is no signage; however, the walk is moderate and well-maintained.
The Heritage Pump Station makes a wonderful attraction for locomotive enthusiasts. This attraction was once a historic site that was once used to replenish steam trains on the old southern railway line.
The restored sandstone heritage pumphouse is the only remaining example of a building of its kind. There are informative displays where you can learn more about this fascinating structure.
The Werri Berri Picnic Area offers free barbecues, plenty of open lawn space, and picnic shelters, making it perfect for enjoying a picnic feast after soaking up the scenery from the Thirlmere Lakes Walking Track.
Thirlmere Lakes National Park is the perfect day out where you can enjoy unspoilt bushland, tranquillity, and enjoy a day being surrounded by nature. Do note that no powerboats and camping are permitted at the national park.
Thirlmere Lakes National Park is located in the Macarthur/ Campbelltown region and is around 70km drive southwest from Sydney CBD.
Take the M5 south from Sydney, then the F5 heading towards Canberra. Take the Picton exit, then turn right heading towards Picton. Turn left on the Main Street, drive under the railway bridge, then turn right to Thirlmere heading towards Couridjah. The entrance is further along on the right near the Couridjah railway station.