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Wollemi's Dunns Swamp

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wollemi National Park is the second largest national park in New South Wales and contains the largest wilderness area, the Wollemi Wilderness. It forms part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area.

There are many Aboriginal sites within the park, including cave paintings, axe grinding grooves and rock carvings. In 2003, the discovery of Eagle's Reach cave was announced. It was found by bushwalkers in 1995 but kept secret for its own protection until a team from the Australian Museum could go there in 2003.

The small cave is estimated to be around 4000 years old and consists of up to a dozen layers of imagery depicting motifs in ochre and charcoal. There are over 200 images, mainly of animals and birds but also stencils of hands, axes and a boomerang. The significant site's remote location is still not for general knowledge.

While it is the current jewel in the crown of Wollemi rock art, it is regarded only as the next clue in a big jigsaw of ancient Aboriginal land use in the area.

This place also has the only known wild specimens of the Wollemi pine, a species thought to have become extinct around 30 million years ago. Three small stands were discovered there in 1994, a discovery that caused a worldwide flurry.

Dunns Swamp was formed by trapped waters of Kandos Weir, established in the 1920s when the Cudgegong River was dammed to provide water for the Kandos Cement Works. It's a great spot for bushwalking, canoeing, swimming, birdwatching and fishing. Flora and fauna are plentiful and include platypus and kangaroo and amazing formations, known locally as pagodas, provide excellent views of the park.

Dunns Swamp camping ground is 20 kilometres from Rylstone on the western edge and has 50 sites suitable for caravans and camper trailers or you can camp beside your vehicle. Firewood is supplied for barbecues, there are picnic tables and pit composting toilets. The Cudgegong River provides water but is not suitable for drinking. You need to take your own supply.

Wollemi Afloat was established in 1999 and operates river cruises at Dunns Swamp, conducted by a local guide who points out wildlife and places of interest along the way.

Swamphen is their newest vessel. It was custom-built for ferrying passengers on inland waterways and carries up to 18 passengers. Twilight cruises are very popular as that is when you will see more wildlife — thousands of birds roosting for the night, micro bats, kangaroos swimming and more.

Canoes are available for hire by the hour and as this is one of the state's cleanest waterways, it's okay to swim. There is safety equipment.

As there are many walking tracks and rock formations, Wollemi Afloat also offers guided walks and eco-tours with qualified ranges.


129 kilometres north-west of Sydney.


Wollemi Afloat 1.5-hour guided river cruise is $25 for adults, $15 for children and $60 for families of four. They run every day during school holidays, weekends in summer and will cater for groups at any time. They also run nocturnal tours.

For more information

Tourism New South Wales
Level 2 Tourism House
55 Harrington Street
The Rocks 2000
Ph: 13 20 77

Wollemi Afloat
Ph/fax: (02) 6373 4300

National Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box A290
Sydney South 1232
Ph: 1300 36 1967

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