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Dharawal National Park is a relatively unknown protected area in the Illawarra region of New South Wales. It is part of Dharawal (Tharawal) country, where the park gets its name from.



In 1927 the O’Hares Creek Catchment was proclaimed a water catchment, but it was decided in 1978 that the catchment would not be used for water supply, and so the government of New South Wales proposed creating a state recreation area over the catchment. However, it took until 1996 before the catchment area was declared a nature reserve and state recreation area (the park later became a state conservation area (SCA) due to a bill passed in 2001).

Since the state conservation area was established, there was Tahe distinction between the nature reserve and SCA, with the difference being coal mining being allowed in the state conservation area.

On March 26, 2012, most of the Dharawal State Conservation Area was declared a national park with a residual of three areas of state conservation area remaining on the western side and centre of the national park to allow ongoing mining operations. The government waited for its last mining exploration licence with BHP Billiton to expire before making the announcement. The national park status has meant that there are now much greater restrictions on activities such as coal mining within the protected area although in 2012 BHP Billiton was reported as continuing mining exploration in Darkes Forest, just outside the park’s border. The area is said to be protected to the centre of the earth which in theory means that no more mining activities can take place.


The Dharawal National Park is located on the southern rim of the Sydney Basin. The Woronora plateau gently slopes northwest towards the Cumberland Plain. The majority of the Dharawal region is located within the Nepean Ramp sub-region of the plateau, with a small portion in the west being part of the Macdonald region. The Dharawal National Park forms part of a larger protected area, which includes Royal National Park located in the north, the Budderoo and Morton national parks in the south and the extensive UNESCO World Heritage–listed Greater Blue Mountains Area in the west and northwest. Combined, these protected areas are one of the largest within the state of New South Wales

Flora and fauna[edit]

Of the 510 recorded vascular plant species in the region, Persoonia hirsuta and Acacia bynoeana are listed as endangered and Acacia baueri ssp. aspera, Leucopogon exolasius, Pultenaea aristata and Melaleuca deanei are listed as vulnerable. Another 14 species are listed as rare or threatened native plants. A further 24 species are considered regionally significant due to being uncommon, and the park is important for eleven others as it is their southernmost habitat within the region.

128 birds, 39 reptiles, 32 mammals, 23 frog, 5 fish, 2 crayfish, 1 shrimp, 1 freshwater mussel and 273 invertebrate species have been recorded in the park. Of these fauna, 23 vertebrate species are listed as threatened.


Mostly either warm or cool. Never too hot or cold.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Car is really the only way you can enter, as there are no other forms of transport here. From the gong, just use B69 Appin Road, and the same if you're coming from Campbelltown.

By other forms of transport[edit]

Most public transport don't run near Dharawal National Park, and since the park is a lot newer than others, tour buses rarely operate here.

Fees and permits[edit]


Get around[edit]


  • 1 Maddens Falls. A small tranquil waterfall accessible via an easy 2-kilometre walk. Includes a lookout and a small side path if you want to walk to the top of the waterfall (if you do this, do it with extreme care). Parking available in front of Glenbernie Orchard.
  • 2 O'Hares Creek lookout.
  • 3 Jingga pool. A natural pool, completely okay for swimming, just respect that the land is sacred.



There are no shops in this National Park.


There are no restaurants or cafés in the park. The nearest ones can be found at Appin or Wollongong.



There are no places to sleep in Dharawal National Park. The nearest are in Appin or Wollongong.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

This park travel guide to Dharawal National Park is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.