The closest town to the trailhead is Goulburn, NSW. You will also pass close by the tiny hamlet of Bungonia
Start this trail from the David Reid car park
David Reid car park
Bungonia National Park is without a doubt a gem. Located in Country NSW close to the inland city of Goulburn, 90 minutes from the outskirts of Canberra, and not much further from the southern outskirts of Sydney. This National Park focuses on the Bungonia Gorge, a large gorge that provides panoramic views. There are plenty of key tracks to suit walkers of all levels of experience, including one that takes you into the gorge itself (the Red Track).
The Park’s White Track consists of two hikes. The full hike takes you down to the Shoalhaven River and includes a 2 km steep downhill stretch and a 2 km steep uphill back up the same track. This version is rated as hard but if you don’t feel like doing it in one day, you have the option of camping overnight before making the journey back up.
The Mount Ayre walk is the shorter, easier part of this track and will suit most hikers. It takes less than an hour to complete and that’s even allowing for a reasonable break at the lookout. This walk starts from the David Read car park which is the starting location for both the Red Track and the Green Track. While these other two tracks are circuits, the Mount Ayre Track is a 2.2 km out and back trip – the destination being the lookout that sits just below the summit of Mount Ayre. The walks starts on the same side as the car park and heads off into the bush from the information kiosk.
The first 400 metres of the track is shared three ways by the Green, Red and White tracks before the Red Track branches off to the left, the Green Track branches off to the right and the White Track continues on straight ahead. Overall the White Track up until you get close to the Mount Ayre lookout is relatively flat with just a few up and down sections that won’t stress most hikers. As you approach Mount Ayre you will see what looks like a track off to the left which has now been closed for regeneration and the current track now veers to the right, skirting around the summit. You can still access the summit from the lookout side if you are really keen.
The lookout area opens up to a flat saddle section that comes right up to a very steep drop off so if you have kids with you, keep a safety eye out. There is a lovely bench where you can spend as long as you like taking in the fantastic views across the gorge below, over to the adjacent Moreton National Park, and down to the Shoalhaven River. You can even see the quarry across the gorge to the left that sits just outside the park.
This viewing area was a real surprise for us and from our perspective was the best of all the main walks in the park, providing a good deal of serenity particularly if you do it early in the morning before it gets busy. Once you’ve had your fill of the views turn around and head back to the car park on the same track you came on.
All up this walk took us around 45 minutes and that was with a 15 minute stop. While this walk is a shorter walk aimed at people who are time short or not very fit, I would definitely add it to your list of hikes for this park and if possible, do it early in the day to take the advantage of the sunrise on the valley below.
Getting to Bungonia National Park takes a bit of weaving but the signage is reasonably good. Your best bet is to enter ‘David Reid Access’ into Google Maps and this will direct you very well to the start point
Follow the road signs to the Bungonia National Park
The signage is very obvious. This intersection is just before the Bungonia village
Entering Bungonia National Park
Visitor centre car park
Park entry fee machine
Water tap at the visitor centre. There is another one at the campground. The water tanks at the car parks contain unfiltered water
Close-up of trail register – make sure you sign in and out. There are copies of the paper trail maps just to the side of this register
Bungonia Gorge trail map. This image was current as at 18 July 2020. Use this as a guide but you are best picking up a hard copy at the park just in case there have been changes
Bungonia Gorge signage. These information kiosks are spread around the park and contain detailed information on the walks
Close up of map showing David Reid car park. This car park is less than a 5 minute drive from the visitor centre
There is a road that accesses all the main car parks and runs a short distance through the park. It can be a bit narrow in places so pay attention to the traffic
Turnoff to Adams Lookout. You will drive past this sign on the way to the David Reid car park. If you have family with you and plan on having a barbecue at the end of the walk, there are great facilities at the Adams Lookout car park
Entry signage to the David Reid car park
The White Track which takes you to Mount Ayre starts at the David Read car park and heads towards the Shoalhaven River. The Mount Ayre walk is a seperate walk on the White Track and for about the first 400 metres the track is shared with the Red Track and Green Track
The trail out to the Mount Ayre lookout is for the most part reasonably wide but there are a few narrow sections close to the drop off
Turnoff to the Red Track
The Red Track runs off to the left going downhill and the Green Track turns to the right. At this point go straight ahead on the White Track
This track was the original way to the summit of Mount Ayre but has been closed for regeneration. You can still access the summit from the lookout side if you wish
Heading to the lookout involves a bit of up and down but overall most hikers would find this walk easy
Approaching the summit
Trail marker. Small, white, metal squares
Mount Ayre lookout. This is really a spectacular place to sit – it has a great feel about it
View to the quarry across the gorge
Views to the Shoalhaven River down below
View down the gorge
The slope in front of the lookout is very steep so if you have children with you, keep a safety eye out
Views down the Shoalhaven River from the Mount Ayre lookout
For fit, keen hikers, the White Track extends down to the Shoalhaven River. It’s a steep descent and ascent so stopping at the Mount Ayre lookout is a great option if you are short on time or fitness
Track going downhill to the Shoalhaven River
Heading back to the trailhead
The section of this track near the trailhead is shared by the Green, Red and White Tracks
Mine across the valley which is just outside the National Park
Back to the David Reid trailhead
Don’t forget to sign out
Google Map to trailhead for the White, Green and Red Tracks. The trailhead is around 37 km from the Goulburn GPO and around a 30 minute drive
Car park signage at the entrance to the car park
This car park will comfortably fit around 20+ cars if people park correctly
David Reid car park toilets
A sign of the times – toilet paper theft!
Toilet view – basic but functional
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker