We all need a little escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There’s something about retreating into nature that really revitalises your soul and Morton National Park is the perfect backdrop. In this enormous adventure wonderland you can relax, breathe in the fresh air and be captivated by the grandness of the great outdoors. There are a multitude of activities on offer – go kayaking, stand under a cascading waterfall, head on a heart-pumping bushwalk or just take a leisurely stroll and photograph the beautiful native flora and fauna – there’s something here for every fitness level. Easily accessible from Nowra, it’s a great day trip to add to your itinerary, which you can build here. Grab your camera, pull on your hiking shoes, pack a picnic and get ready for some Morton Magic.
Historic Morton National Park
A supreme mecca for all outdoor adventurers, mighty Morton is regarded as one of the birthplaces of the NSW national parks movement and is steeped in rich history. The parklands are home to many fossils, including ancient starfish from around 270 million years ago when the surrounding sandstone cliffs were actually once the ocean’s floor! The Morton land is the traditional country of the Yuin people, boasting significant cultural heritage with several hundred Aboriginal sites having been recorded here. The imposing mountains, particularly Didthul and the majestic Fitzroy Falls are especially meaningful in Aboriginal mythology. Surrounding bushland also contains sites of great importance to indigenous communities, whose occupation of the area dates back over 20,000 years.
Stunning Landscapes & Abundant Wildlife
These days, Morton National Park is a hotspot for nature lovers. Who can really blame them? The epic vistas of the Shoalhaven hinterland, a plethora of Australian wildlife and the commanding stone monoliths of the Budawang Range are just some of the reasons why Morton is just pure magic. The parklands are a sanctuary for native animals and one of Australia’s oldest protected wilderness areas. There are many programs currently in place that promote the careful management of endangered species such as the brush-tailed rock wallaby and dingo conservation in key areas of the park. The land currently hosts at least 31 native animals – with over 150 different bird species and more than 50 varieties of reptiles and amphibians.
So what can you actually do inside Morton? This natural paradise has outdoor activities for everyone, in every season. In fact, it’s best to explore the national park during the cooler months as hikes are much less physically exhausting and the autumnal rains create ideal conditions for canoeing or kayaking down the Shoalhaven and Kangaroo Rivers. Cyclists will love tackling the trails in the north of the park around Kangaroo Valley, which weave through open forest and lead to stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Morton National Park is also a haven for birdwatching so make sure to bring your binoculars along. Our top recommendation though is a bushwalk on one of the many trails – it’s an absolute must to be able to really discover the precious beauty of the bushland and our Morton favourites are listed below to get the inspiration flowing. However you end up enjoying your time in Mighty Morton, we ask that all visitors tread lightly on the land. It’s important for everyone to do their bit to protect this unspoilt wilderness so future adventurers will get the opportunity to enjoy the national park for many generations to come.
Three Views Walk (Easy)
New to the outdoor adventure game? Ease your way into the wilderness with some less intense hiking expeditions. Three Views Walking Track gives you the option of three different trails including the Lake Yarrunga View (1hr 10min), the Tallowa Dam View (1hr 20min) and the Shoalhaven River View (2hrs). Embark on just one of them, or have a go at all three over a nature-filled weekend escape. All three of the walks are relatively easy, without any stairs or steep inclines, just be aware of the bumps on the large flat rocks along the way. There are plenty of excellent picnic spots on the trail where you can relax and refuel, so stock up on some local produce in Kangaroo Valley before you begin your voyage. A gourmet lunch surrounded by peaceful forest is an ideal treat at the end of your trek.
Granite Falls Track (Easy)
Those who are even more pressed for time might want to check out Granite Falls Walking Track which is only a 1km return journey that can be completed in about 45 minutes. This walk is all about minimum effort for maximum reward! What’s not to love about that? The end point of the trek is Granite Falls Lookout, a fantastic viewing platform that’s perched above the dense green valley below. The sweeping views of Morton National Park are panoramic and you’ll be completely mesmerised by the huge 63 metre-high waterfall trickling down onto the glistening rock face. We think that it’s a pretty awesome way of capping off a lovely bushwalk. The journey is relatively easy and visitors make their way through rich eucalypt-dominated bushland. Any time you smell eucalyptus in the future, we’re sure you’ll be reminded of this beautiful Morton walk. Mother Nature’s marvels are in abundance here – imposing turpentine trees, robust stringybark and red bloodwoods line the path and will make you feel like you’re at one with the earth.
Mt Bushwalker Track (Medium)
The aptly named Mt Bushwalker Track is perfect for the more experienced outdoor trekkers. This 7km walk can be completed in about 3 hours and is an ideal day adventure into the more remote reaches of Morton National Park. It’s a great journey for those who want to get a little bit off-grid during their holiday as there’s not much mobile reception along the way. Don’t worry, you can post those Instagram photos when you get back to civilisation. Trust us, you’ll definitely want to share these epic images with all your friends! As you walk through the heath you’ll be met with many local birds including black cockatoos, lyrebirds and honeyeaters. The endpoint of this slightly challenging track, though, is the ultimate prize. Mt Bushwalker Lookout is where you’ll be able to soak up spectacular westward views of Clyde Gorge, Folly Point, The Castle and Talaterang Mountain.
Pigeon House Mountain Didthul (Hard)
This South Coast natural landmark is accessible by a dirt road and nearby to the southern towns of Milton, Mollymook & Ulladulla. Pigeon House Mountain Didthul is a cherished icon of the unspoilt Shoalhaven. The path can often be a little bit rough so we do recommend heading out in a 4WD if you can. This track is one of the harder bushwalks in the region and definitely not for the faint hearted. There are many steep sections and you will eventually arrive at a point where you simply can’t walk any further and have to climb some metal ladders in order to reach the summit. Don’t let this put you off, though, because the amazing panoramic views at the top are 100% worth it! Catch your breath at the pinnacle and take in the views from the mountain – on clear days you’ll even be able see as far as Jervis Bay to the north and Bermagui to the south.
For all the hardcore hikers and adventurers, there are some nearby overnight camping trips that will really transport you into the serenity of nature. These overnighters are pretty serious stuff, though, so we only recommend them for the super experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Yadboro Flat, a popular bass fishing and camping spot, is a peaceful place to rest your head along the banks of the Clyde River. The campsite is dog friendly and offers spectacular views of adjacent magic Morton – just make sure your doggo stays clear of the national park. Another overnight camp spot that’s close by is Long Gully, located in a prime position, it is the starting point for advanced hikes such as The Castle. Our friends at We Are Explorers tackled this exact trail recently and their expedition video will give you plenty of motivation to pack your bags for the wilderness.