Wirrimbirra Sanctuary, Bargo, MacArthur, Sydney, NSW is a nature reserve that was founded in 1955. It is located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Sydney and covers 1,360 hectares (3,400 acres). The sanctuary is open to the public and contains a number of walking tracks as well as picnic and barbecue facilities.
The sanctuary was originally part of the Bargo Brush, a 12,000-hectare (30,000-acre) area of native bushland that was heavily logged in the 19th century. In 1955, the Nature Conservation Trust (now known as the National Parks & Wildlife Service) purchased 1,360 hectares (3,400 acres) of land from the State Government to establish a nature reserve.
The first Europeans to settle in the Bargo area were cedar-getters, who began arriving in the 1820s. The cedar-getters cleared large forest areas for timber, which was then transported to Sydney by bullock dray.
By the 1850s, most of the easily accessible cedar had been logged, and the cedar-getters moved on. The area was then taken up by farmers, who cleared more land for pasture. In the early 20th century, some of the lands were planted with eucalyptus trees for use in railway sleepers.
In 1955, the Nature Conservation Trust (now known as the National Parks & Wildlife Service) purchased 1,360 hectares (3,400 acres) of land from the State Government in order to establish a nature reserve. The Trust’s original aim was to protect the area’s remnant native vegetation and its associated fauna.
The sanctuary was opened to the public in 1965 and has since become a popular spot for bushwalking, birdwatching and picnicking. A number of walking tracks have been established within the sanctuary, including a 3-kilometre (2 mi) loop track that takes in some of the reserve’s highlights.
Location and Directions
The sanctuary is located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Sydney, in the suburb of Bargo.
To get there by car, take M1 in Darlinghurst. From M1, merge onto M5 and Hume Motorway/M31 to Avon Dam Rd in Pheasants Nest. Take the Avon Dam Road exit from Hume Motorway/M31, and follow Avon Dam Rd to Old Hume Highway in Bargo.
Parking and Timings
The sanctuary is open every day from sunrise to sunset. Ample parking is available if you are coming in your car but weekends may be a bit more crowded.
The sanctuary contains picnic and barbecue facilities, as well as toilets and a car park. Visitors are required to pay an entry fee.
The Wirrimbirra Homestead is located within the sanctuary and is open to the public on weekends and public holidays. The homestead was built in the 1880s and was occupied by a succession of farmers until 1955 when it was acquired by the Nature Conservation Trust.
Who Should Visit?
The sanctuary is an excellent spot for birdwatching, with over 150 species of birds having been recorded in reserve. The refuge is also home to a number of other native animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and reptiles.
Bushwalking is another popular activity at the sanctuary, with a number of walking tracks suitable for all fitness levels.
Kids will enjoy exploring the Wirrimbirra Homestead, which is open to the public on weekends and public holidays.
When to Visit?
The best time to visit the sanctuary is in spring (September-November) when the wildflowers are in bloom. Spring is also a good time to spot wildlife, as many animals give birth at this time.
Wirrimbirra Sanctuary is a great spot for a day trip from Sydney. With its abundance of wildlife and walking tracks, the sanctuary is perfect for nature lovers of all ages.
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