When Is the Best Time
Morton National Park offers hiking trails for all fitness levels. If this is not adventurous enough, there are some caves located for exploring. Of course, caving only if you are experienced and with the right gear! One of the adventurous trails is the Red Track through the Bungonia gorge. The hike leads through the riverbed which should be dried-out if you plan to do this hike. An early start is recommended in summer. This trail is almost not marked. It takes some time to find the best way through the riverbed, to ford the creek, and to climb the huge rocks as well.
Good months for this strenuous trail are April/May (end of summer, the beginning of fall) and the winter as well. Usually, there is not the same boiling heat as you experience in summer. Start early for two reasons. First, in summer, it'll be boiling in the Slot Canyon, you need plenty of water, and the steep way back up to the top doesn't provide any shelter. Second, this area is affected by blasting from the mine at about 3 pm. This can cause falling rocks and boulders.
Bungonia is still a little gem and not overrun. If you are seeking a quiet spot except for the Christmas holidays, this is a good choice.
Lyrebird in the bush
More rainfall from November to February with its peak in November and February. During summer day temperatures are often around 25°C though in the Slot Canyon it's oven-hot. Nights are pretty cool; comfortable for camping. Winter months are drier and sunnier. The day temps are mild around 12°C, but nights can reach freezing temperatures.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
Bungonia became a State Conservation Area in 1974 adjoins Bungonia and Morton National Park. The park is well known for bushwalking, canyoning, and caving. When you enter the park, you see the Marulan Limestone Mine in the distance. This special limestone was used for the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Hiking Trails in Bungonia
The park offers 5 signposted trails from moderate to very difficult. Each trail is marked in a different colour.
- Orange; an easy 1.2 km walk.
- Yellow; the trails lead to the Jerrara Lookout and back. It's a moderate 2.5 km trail.
- Green; roughly 6.5 km return from the carpark. The trail leads to all main lookouts including Adams Lookout to the Slot Canyon.
- White; leads to Mount Ayre first and you can continue down to Shoalhaven River. The first part is moderate just 1.5 km long, but the track down to the river is pretty hard. Some hikers chose to extend the red track. They continue hiking through the riverbed to Shoalhaven River and the white trail back. This combined track is 9 km long and needs good preparation.
- Red; the most difficult one and poorly marked trail. This track is roughly 4.5 km long from the Lookdown Carpark. It's a steep descent and ascent of more than 400 meters. Hiking pools are helpful. Usually, very few people hike this track through the riverbed. Depending on the rainfall before fording the creek is necessary. It's great fun but only for the very experienced hikers. The duration of the trail is 5-6 hours. First, sign in for this track at the park rangers office. Bring plenty of water for the strenuous hike through this outstanding gorge.
Steep descent down to the Bungonia Creek
Packing List for the Red Track
- Plenty of water, it is strenuous and water is needed especially during the hot summer
- Energy food, well needed on the demanding hike
- Sunscreen and sunhat, there isn't any shade and it's hot in the gorge
- Hiking poles if needed for the steep ascent and descent
There are several caves to explore. A helmet and torch are essential. The beginner cave is Grill Cave shortly after the Rangers Station. You can climb in it as long as you want, but it takes more time to get back because it's a vertical cave. A detailed description and what is needed for this adventure in Cave B44 Grill Cave.
It's an excellent spot for camping. The facilities are clean with hot showers. There are a camp kitchen and electric BBQ's. Just a good Therm-a-rest is necessary for the hard ground. Wildlife is everywhere during the night. Even if you don't plan to camp, bring your lunch to this awesome place.
There is a ticket machine to pay the entrance fee either with coins or credit card. Display your ticket in the vehicle.