MONGA NATIONAL PARK - January 2015
Trees, trees and more trees.
This 25,000ha National Park was gazetted in 2001 and contains a mixture of rainforest and regrowth and old growth forest. Easy tracks make this an interesting one-day excursion for softroaders.
Monga National Park lies between Braidwood and Batemans Bay, just off the Kings Highway that connects Canberra with the NSW South Coast.
Monga National Park forms an important link with Duea and Budawang National Parks, resulting in a 350km-long corridor between the Victorian border and the NSW Illawarra region.
Monga National Park is the only location in NSW where Plumwood and Black Sassafras trees share domination of the rainforest sections. Six threatened fauna species are protected within the Park.
One of the most rewarding activities in Monga National Park is to picnic beside the Mongarlowe River and walk among the trees. A loop boardwalk at Penance Grove makes this easy and prevents harm to the forest floor.
Penance Grove was so-named because of the anguish felt by Monga lovers when many ancient tree ferns were decapitated. Numerous fern stumps bear testimony to this sad event.
It’s also possible to walk the historic ‘Corn Trail’, from the Dasyurus picnic area just inside the Park to the Buckenbowra River.
This trail was the route used by farmers in the Buckenbowra River Valley to transport corn to the tableland towns of Braidwood and Araluen. The trail was in use for about 20 years, but was abandoned when a new route to the Clyde River at Nelligen opened in the 1850s.
The Corn Trail is difficult and steep, and is best walked downhill to the Misty Mountain Road.
The drive to Monga National Park from Goulburn on the Hume Highway to Braidwood is good bitumen and passes by Pelican Station ( camping and tours available), Lake Bathurst (fast food, tea rooms, a restaurant and crafts) to Tarago (Loaded Dog pub and a service station with workshop).
Historic Braidwood has motels, camping, ample supplies, tourism outlets, shops, restaurants and fuel. The next reliable fuel point is at Batemans Bay.
The route heads firstly for Captains Flat, Araluen and Majors Creek, but diverts 8.6km south of Braidwood towards Monga National Park.
The road becomes graded dirt just after the turn into Monga Lane from Reidsdale Road.
The road runs initially through undulating pastoral country, with many rocky outcrops visible, before entering the woodland on the edge of the Park. Once inside the Park, visitors drive through denser forest and many track sections are flanked by tree ferns.
The gravel and clay tracks around Monga National Park are well graded, and make easy all wheel drive routes in dry weather.
However, surfaces vary from smooth clay to sections dotted with sharp-edged stones, so care is needed. Large ‘floaters’ appear without warning in the middle of tracks, threatening softroader sumps and transmissions.
All major intersections are signposted, but some of the road names vary from those shown on older maps and guidebooks.
Shortly after entering the Park the route passes through private land at Monga Settlement, the remnant of a sawmill that once processed timber from the Monga area.
The marked route departs the Park boundary on the western side, for a glimpse of the pastoral land that borders the Park, then returns to follow the 4WD-only Link Road through the northern section of the Park, before ending at the Kings Highway junction.
Visitors with time constraints can do a half-day appreciation of the Park’s highlights by driving directly to Mongarlowe River and Penance Grove, then heading straight for the Kings Highway.
The Milo Road - Boundary Fire Trail – River Forest Road circuit offers some steep challenges and a river crossing. The circuit offers filtered glimpses over the Buckenbowra Wilderness Area out to the coast at Batemans Bay.
There is no camping inside the Park, but ample at Braidwood, Nelligen and Batemans Bay. No permits or fees apply
It's possible to visit Monga National Park at any time of the year, but avoid visiting after heavy rain.
Hema’s South East NSW and the NPWS 'mud map’ on the Monga NP fact sheet are adequate. The fact sheet is available from the tourist office in Braidwood or from NPWS Narooma (02) 4476 2888
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