Lane Cove National Park is a protected national park that is located within metropolitan Sydney, in New South Wales. The 372-hectare (920-acre) park is about 10 km (6.2 mi) north-west of the Sydney central business district. The park consists of land near the banks of the Lane Cove River, which flows generally south-east into Sydney Harbour. It also extends to the outskirts of Pennant Hills and Wahroonga.
The Lane Cove National Park is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists. The Lane Cove River Tourist Park, operated by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, is located within Lane Cove National Park.
The park is surrounded on all sides by developed suburban areas and except for the upper northwestern region is never more than a kilometre wide. Much of the park is of fairly rugged terrain on the slopes of the river valley and covered by dense bush. The characteristics of the bush vary depending upon soils and topography.
The central section of the park, between De Burghs Bridge on Ryde Road and Fullers Bridge, was set aside as a park in the 1920s and developed with picnic areas interspersed in the bush along the banks of the river. The majority of these picnic areas are located between the Fuller's Road bridge and the road that leads towards the Tourist Park. North of this point the area becomes more rugged and there are no picnic areas until the Tunks Hill area which is away from the river behind the garden nursery on Lane Cove Road.
The main walking track along the Lane Cove River forms part of the Great North Walk from Sydney CBD to Newcastle. This track incorporates a number of old tracks that were, in many cases, old logging trails.
A fish ladder has been constructed next to the weir to enable Australian bass to access the freshwater breeding grounds upstream of the weir. Fishing is allowed in parts of the Lane Cove River as per restrictions managed by NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Lane Cove National Park is part of the traditional land of the Guringai People whose land extended from around Newcastle to Sydney Harbour. The Guringai people lived primarily by the water; fishing and hunting in the waters and hinterlands and harvesting food from surrounding bushland. The park protects a number of ancient Aboriginal sites.
Flora and fauna
Eucalypt forests, casuarina woodland and saltwater wetlands, each of which is home to a range of different plants, animals and birds. Echidnas are mainly nocturnal, but sometimes venture out during the day when the weather is mild you'll have to be quick and quiet to catch a glimpse though, the slightest noise will have them curling up into a ball for protection and camouflage. If you're walking along the river you could see an eastern water dragon - look for its distinctive black stripes and crest of enlarged spiny scales along its body.
- Southern boobook: also known as the mopoke, is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. It has a musical 'boo-book' call that echoes through forests and woodlands.
- Tawny frogmouth: Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. The ‘oom oom oom’ call of this native bird can be heard echoing throughout a range of habitats including heath, woodlands and urban areas.
- Grass trees: the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.
- Smooth-barked apple: Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30 m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.
- Old man banksia: Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.
From Sydney take the Pacific Highway to Chatswood and turn left into Fullers Road: turn right into Lady Game Drive just before crossing the bridge. Take the first left into Max Allen Drive for the northern side of the river.
From Pennant Hills there are several pedestrian access points to the park, including via Britannia Street and Ferguson Avenue.
Lane Cove National Park is accessible from North Ryde station and by bus from Chatswood station.
Fees and permits
Lane Cove National Park is open 9AM to 7PM during daylight savings (until 6pm at other times). The park may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
Park entry fees: $8 per vehicle per day. The park has coin-operated pay and display machines - bring correct coins.
- Great North walk. The park's part of this 250-km trail is 20 km one way. Stunning scenery across Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Newcastle. Tackle part of the track for an easy day walk.
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