The State Forests of the Watagan Mountains (Awaba, Heaton, Olney, Ourimbah, Watagan and Wyong State forests) won the Gold Award for Adventure Tourism in the Hunter Central Coast Tourism Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014, earning their place in the Tourism Hall of Fame. They also received a bronze award in the tourist attraction category in 2011 and won the silver award for adventure tourism at the NSW Tourism Awards in 2013.
Forests in this area have been harvested for timber for many decades, more than 100 years. The forests you see today are regrowth forests, having been harvested many times over and grown back. Today’s forest management practices protect biodiversity, soil and water quality and cultural heritage sites while also allowing for sustainable timber production
Abbotts Falls Walking Track
Starting from the Pines Picnic Area, the Abbotts Falls Walking Track starts in dry eucalypt forest and winds its way downhill through moist gullies of bluegum and rainforest, to Abbotts Falls Lookout before climbing out again into the drier forests around the Pines Picnic Area. Returns via German Point Road.
Casuarina Camping Area
Set amongst forest oaks and a variety of eucalypts, the Casuarina Camping Area can comfortably accommodate caravans and trailers as well as individual campers. Just a five minute walk from the Pines Forest Park and walking tracks.
Rock Lily Walking Track
Starting from the Basin Camping area, the Rock Lily Walking Track is a delightful walk featuring rock lilies, geebungs and ferns. The walk starts in a deep rainforest gully and passes by numerous rock overhangs as it climbs into dry eucalypt forest, then follows a short section of the Great North Walk back to the start.
Open grassy camp sites with easy access and a flowing creek nearby are the attractions of the Basin Camping Area. Located away and further inland of The Pines, Turpentine & Casuarina camping areas, the Basin is suitable for large groups. Nearby creeks can be used for swimming in the warmer months. The Great North Walk passes by this camping and picnic area.
The Pines Camping Area
The Pines Camping Area is positioned under large slash pine trees, providing excellent shade. The trees are remnants of trial plantings of different pine species established in the 1920s and 1930s. There is also access to three walking trails via a short walk to The Pines Picnic Area.
The Pines Walking Track
Starting from The Pines Picnic Area, the Pines Walking Track follows Dora Creek. Expect to see pockets of moist eucalypt forests and rainforest and a lovely rock pool.
The Pines Picnic Area
The most popular site in the State Forests of the Watagans, The Pines Picnic Area is located in remnant and towering slash pine trees planted in the 1920s and 1930s. There are picnic tables and wood barbecues scattered throughout this gorgeous area, while a covered shelter is also available and can be hired for exclusive use (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org). The Pines Picnic Area is also the start of three walking tracks, The Wildflower, The Pines and Abbotts Falls Walking Tracks. The Pines Walking Track leads to a small swimming hole along a bubbling creek, popular in the warmer months.
Turpentine Camping Area
Turpentine Camping Area provides many sheltered sites amongst beautiful turpentine trees. It is an ideal spot for smaller groups or families. Toilet facilities are located in the nearby Pines Camping or Casuarina Camping Areas.
Old Mill Picnic Area
Set alongside Watagan Forest Road, the Old Mill Picnic Area is a great place for family sport, with a wide and flat grassed area surrounded by forest. Please note that this site is for day use only, with no camping allowed.
Set alongside Watagan Forest Road, Olney Headquarters (Olney HQ) is named for it’s previous use as the site of a forestry building. Olney HQ is a great spot to have a quick rest and bite to eat, or set-up camp for the night. Camping, barbecues, picnic tables and toilets are available here, including a disabled access toilet.
Mountain Biking in Olney State Forest
The Hunter Mountain Bike Association manages a mountain bike track in Olney State Forest under a Forest Permit. For more information on the track and to learn about membership of the Club, go to http://hmba.asn.au/