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Top 11 Nature Photography Locations in South West Sydney

Home > Sydney > Outdoor | National Parks | Animals and Wildlife | Picnic Spots | Walks
by Phoebe Hackett (subscribe)
Freelance writer and photographer living in Sydney. To travel is to live. ― Hans Christian Andersen
Published June 15th 2018
Fantastic photo opportunities exist just around the corner
nature, photography, sydney, walks, tracks
Capture Nature - Photo by Phoebe Hackett


If you've been looking for more inspiration in nature photography, then Sydney's South West region is the next place you need to explore. Spend the weekend outdoors capturing the beauty of nature and life from some of the most stunning surrounds Sydney has to offer.

Think shimmering lakes, winding rivers, silver gums, hidden trails, bumpy tracks, striking landscapes and unique flora and fauna. Grab your camera and let these great locations catch your eye. The great thing is it's all free. The best things often are.

1. Thirlmere Lakes National Park

If you like landscapes and misty lakes, then Thirlmere Lakes National Park is for you. There are five freshwater lakes and excellent picnic and barbecue areas to enjoy with friends and family. If you prefer walking, there are some great tracks you can explore or even go bird watching or canoeing, if you want to get even closer to nature.

Thirlmere Lakes walking track is a 6 kilometre walk around three of the park's lakes and picnic areas - Gandangarra, Werri-Berri and Couridjah, and the historic Heritage Pump Station. The area contains an unusual and assorted array of flora and fauna, so it's the perfect location for bird life and water photography.

Location: Pumphouse Road or Slades Road, Thirlmere

thirlmere national park, nsw, photography, nature
Stunning flowers at Thirlmere Lakes National Park


2. Warragamba Dam

This is an ideal location for nature photography. Enjoy stunning views, beautiful bush surroundings and plenty of rich history.

Opened in October 1960, Warragamba Dam is one of the largest domestic water supplies in the world. It currently stores around 80 percent of Sydney's water.

Outside the Visitors Centre, you can take photos of the stunning Lake Burragorang. Visit each of the three viewing platforms to get different perspectives. There's pedestrian access to parts of the Warragamba Dam wall and is well worth the 80-steps down.

Make sure to see Haviland Park while you're there. A native Australian garden, it is perfect for snapping exotic plants and botanical species. It is also an ideal setting for a family picnic.

Location: Crest Road, Warragamba

warragamba dam, sydney, photography, nature
Warragamba Dam - Photo by Phoebe Hackett


3. Picton Botanical Gardens

The Picton Botanical Gardens is an ideal place to walk or cycle along the 6 kilometre track within the gardens. This fantastic park features barbecues, picnic tables, shelters, amenities and is open from sunrise to sunset.

Location: Regreme Road, Picton

picton, gardens, nsw, walks, photography, nature
Picton Botanical Gardens


4. Dharawal National Park

Enjoy a walk or cycle along the scenic tracks of The Dharawal National Park, a park you may not have even heard of. Bring a picnic and your swimming gear for a dip in Dharawal's Madden Falls and Minerva freshwater Pool. Minerva Pool is a sacred women's place for the Dharawal People. It is a request that only women and children enter the waters of the pool.

Keep an eye out for local fauna, like cockatoos and swamp wallabies. Featuring many lookouts, walking tracks and bike trails surrounded by beautiful sandstone formations.

A beautiful day out.

Location: Appin Road, Appin

Dharawal national park, nsw, photography, nature
A Waterfall in Dharawal National Park


5. Freres Crossing Reserve

Freres Crossing is an important heritage site containing the remnants of an old wooden bridge that formed part of a connection between Campbelltown and Newcastle up until 1917.

This crossing was named after George Pierre Frere, who owned a property at Eckersley. By 1913, all residents had been moved out of the area to make way for the military reserve.

Walk through endangered woods, gum trees and exotic flowers. The best thing about this place is, you may hear laughing kookaburras or be lucky enough to snap a photo of a koala.

Overall it is a nice getaway from the city, with lots to take in.

Location: 48 Freres Road, Kentlyn

freres, nature, photography, sydney, weekend, walk
Freres Crossing


6.The Georges River National Park

For nature lovers, The Georges River National Park features so many spectacular natural wonders, flowing rivers and stunning rock escarpments with breathtaking views.

You will want to take your time here, soaking up the best of what nature has to offer.

Location: Georges River Road, Kentlyn

thegeorges river national park, nsw, nature
Georges River National Park


7. Ingleburn Reserve

Situated on the Georges River, the Ingleburn Reserve contains the historic Ingleburn Weir, which was constructed in the late 1930's to provide a swimming area for the local community.

Find a spacious area surrounded by native forest and take your pick of plenty of tables and BBQ's for everyone to enjoy. There's also a playground with the latest equipment for kids. The amenities have also been recently updated to provide more comfort and safety.

Follow a short trail to the gorge through endangered bushland. Early morning or dusk is for best bird watching and glimpses of native wildlife.

You can even try your luck fishing from the Gorge or canoeing down the river. Whatever you do, you can be sure there'll be plenty of photo opportunities.

Location: Picnic Grove, Ingleburn

nature, nsw, photography, ingleburn
Bird Watching at Ingleburn Reserve


8. Keith Longhurst Reserve

The Keith Longhurst Reserve is rich with significant scenic and cultural value. The area offers many walking tracks, leading down to the Georges River.

The walk starts flat and allows you to get familiar with the stunning bush setting, full of colour and sound. Clear views of the mountains and Georges River are visible along the pathway.

The track begins to descend, meandering further downward, towards the basin. Soon, the basin comes into view, with it's waterfalls and local bird life. If you are lucky, you might see a tortoise, as we were lucky enough to, on a recent trip here. It is very relaxing, a great place to sit and reflect and recharge.

Going back up is a little more challenging, so feel free to take your time. Pretty soon you are back on the flat ground heading out of the bush.

A beautiful bush walk set among the silver gums, only 10 minutes from Campbelltown.

Location: 240 Georges River Road, Minto Heights

Keith Longhurst Reserve, south west sydney, walking tracks, nature photography
The View Heading Back Up the Reserve - Photo by Phoebe Hackett


nature, photography, sydney, walks, tracks
Beautiful Rock Formations - Photo by Phoebe Hackett


9. Simmo's Beach

Simmo's Beach is located on the Georges River. It has easy access, with picnic facilities and a nice beach area which make it a popular site for local residents.

The key features of the reserve are extensive areas of bushland, with proximity to the Georges River and connectivity with the Georges River Regional Open Space, ensures it provides a great range of recreational and photography opportunities.

Location: 41 Sixth Avenue, Macquarie Fields

simmos beach, nsw, photography, nature
Simmo's Beach


10. William Howe Regional Park

William Howe Regional Park is eye-catching with its natural vegetation and has lovely agricultural areas nearby. Expansive views of the surrounding areas are available from Turkeys Nest Dam.

There is a lovely walking track that leads visitors to the lookout platform and picnic tables. Dog walking on leads is permitted.

A great place to visit all year round.

Location: Mary Howe Place, Narellan Vale

william howe regional park, nature, nsw
William Howe Regional Park


11. The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan is Australia's largest botanic garden with more than 4000 species of native plants.

The Garden covers 416 hectares and features picnic areas with BBQ's and shelters. Open year round 8:00 am 5:00 pm, excluding Summer which is open 8:00 am 7:00 pm.

Location: Narellan Road, Mount Annan

mount annan botanic gardens, nature, sydney
Australian Botanic Gardens Mount Annan


Photographers, amateur and professional, find your glow trekking the greenest tracks, bike, swim and sun worship, revel in natures beauty and unearth all the hidden gems that South West Sydney has waiting for you.
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Why? Fantastic Photo Opportunities in Nature
When: All year round
Where: South West Sydney Region
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Phoebe, what a brilliantly unique idea for an article! Well done on the award - I'm sure your article is going to be very popular with photographers and wannabe photographers!
by Elaine (score: 3|5590) 150 days ago
Great article :)
by Gypsy Rose (score: 2|388) 145 days ago
nice Article :D if want more good locations around wollondilly or north area of southern highlands let me know i can point you in right direction and they are well worth the walk for photography :D
by p_bel (score: 0|4) 114 days ago
Great article! Very inspiring.
by dean. (score: 1|13) 150 days ago
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