Bookings to Muogamarra Nature Reserve are some of the hottest tickets in town come springtime in Sydney, as the reserve is only open for six weekends a year. Emma recently ventured to the reserve with her five-month-old bub, Indy, in tow to relish in the abundance of native blooms.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Guringai people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

A Brief History of Muogamarra Nature Reserve

Muogamarra is believed to be an Awabakal word meaning ‘preserve for the future’. Which is very fitting considering the reserve’s history.

In 1934, concerned about the region’s loss of native flora and fauna and damage to Indigenous sites, local man, John Tipper leased the land that is now Muogamarra Nature Reserve before handing it over to National Parks and Wildlife Services in 1969.



Today, Muogamarra remains a peaceful place, rarely visited by many people except for facility maintenance, scientific research, and of course, when it opens to the public for six weekends in August and September each year. The reserve is shut off from the general populace to do exactly as the name suggests – preserve the unique wildlife and numerous Indigenous sites.

Read more: Sydney’s Exclusive Wildflower Reserve is Open For 6 Weeks Only!

Our Day Trip to Muogamarra Nature Reserve

I was a little nervous about taking my unpredictable five-month-old to Muogamarra Nature Reserve. How would he handle the walk, let alone the 40-minute car ride there and back? I really don’t enjoy a screamfest on a sunny Saturday. Only time would tell.



Upon arrival at the reserve, Indy, my mum, and I were ushered to our car spot along with other excited bushwalkers. We went over to the education shelter where a botanic display was set up and hot water was on the boil for tea and coffee lovers.

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After a brief chat with the staff, we quickly discovered there weren’t as many species in bloom as we’d hoped – we’d either arrived too early in the season (mid-August) or perhaps the flowers were having an off year. Of course, we made the best of it anyway, and after studying the possible walking routes, opted for the 4.8km Lloyd Trig and Deerubbin Lookout Loop.

Deerubbin Lookout Loop

This scenic route took us past JD Tipper Lookout, up to Lloyd Trig, and past some impressive Indigenous rock art depicting a whale.



Whales seem to be a common theme found throughout the Hawkesbury region highlighting the significance that these animals held in various First Nations groups’ lives.

After the rock scramble up to the Trig and taking in the 360° views across the valleys, we made our way to Deerubbin Lookout which became the real highlight of this route. ‘Deerubbin’ is a word from the language of the Boorerboorongal Clan of the Darug people that’s the traditional name for the Hawkesbury River meaning ‘wide, deep water’. From this vantage point, we could see the murky waters of the Hawkesbury River, the small township of Brooklyn, and the freeway – now so tiny – snaking north, off to our right.



Below us, Milson Island stood alone in the channel with its own interesting history.

Starting with the island being of importance to First Nations peoples of the area, particularly the Guringai, and then set aside for institutional use as an asylum in the early 20th century. Today it’s a sports and recreation facility used by the community for retreats and school excursions. The remains of Peats Ferry, which operated from the 1930s until the road bridge opened in 1945, were left to the imagination, as very few of the remains still exist.

Even though the flowers weren’t as prolific as we were hoping, there were still plenty of species in bloom to keep even the keenest of botanists classifying for eons. Mauve boronia and yellow bossiaea lined the tracks, while the famous Telopea speciosissima AKA waratah remained the pot of gold at the end of a botanists’ rainbow this early in the season.

Birds could be heard everywhere if not seen, including a flock of Yellow-tailed Black cockatoos and Eastern Yellow robins. At one point we startled a small wallaby on the track and sent it bounding off into the scrub. A few lucky groups even happened upon an echidna or two.

The volunteers and national parks personnel were an absolute wealth of knowledge and happy to pour endless amounts of information into an open ear. They had the setup of the reserve down pat and were stationed along the routes to assist with questions and directions, and were more than happy to become group photographers. Some volunteers were guiding tours on bird watching, botany, and history, but with a baby in tow, we opted for the self-guided tour.

Luckily for me (and the rest of the day trippers) Indy was an absolute angel! Uninterested in the fact we were in an exclusive reserve only open six weeks a year, Indy fell asleep soon after we arrived and slept for 90% of the walk and both car trips. Organisation and timing assisted this miracle, as well as a bit of early overstimulation from nature.

Where to find this hidden bouquet?

Bookings to enter Muogamarra Nature Reserve, whether on a ranger-guided or self-guided tour are limited, and must be booked through the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website. Bookings fill up extremely quickly so you’ve gotta have your finger on the pulse!

Missed out this year? Fret not! While visiting Muogamarra Nature Reserve is special unto itself you can see much of the same flora and fauna throughout the Hawkesbury sandstone country for free and at any time of the year. I recommend anywhere between Berowra and Brooklyn for such ventures.

Read more: Where to Find Wildflowers Near Sydney