Strickland State Forest
Strickland State Forest is considered a unique ecotourist destination, and has been inducted into the Hunter Central Coast Tourism Awards Hall of Fame, after winning the Gold Award for Ecotourism three consecutive times, in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It also won the silver award for ecotourism at the NSW Tourism Awards in both 2013 and 2014.
North west of Gosford on the NSW central coast, Strickland State Forest is less than an hour's drive from Sydney. Strickland is no longer actively harvested and is now managed as a nature reserve for education and recreation purposes. Find out more about sustainable forest management practices in NSW.
Strickland has extensive walking tracks through varying forest types - past waterfalls, under cabbage tree palms and along creeks. These trails were built and maintained by the 'Friends of Strickland' in partnership with Forestry Corporation. The forest has excellent picnic facilities including an all-weather shelter, picnic tables and toilets.
Strickland State Forest is a gated forest and so is for day-use only. It is open from dawn to dusk.
Strickland State Forest was the site of the first government forest nursery (1886-1890) and first national forestry training school (1920 – 1927). Remnants of native and exotic tree plantings established during those times – known as an arboretum – are now among the oldest in Australia and can be seen on the Arboretum Trail.
- Strickland State Forest Map [152 KB PDF]
How to get there
Travelling from Sydney (approx 1 hour):
- Head North on the F3 Freeway for approx 51km
- Take the Peats Ridge Road Exit, merge onto Peats Ridge Road and drive for 1.3km
- Take the exit towards Somersby/Gosford, staying in the right lane and following the signs to Wisemans Ferry Road/Wisemans Ferry
- Turn RIGHT onto Wisemans Ferry Road, drive for 800m
- Turn RIGHT onto Dog Trap Road (the RSL is on your left at this intersection), drive for 4.8km
- Turn RIGHT onto Mangrove Road. This takes you over the F3. Drive for 270m
- Turn RIGHT onto Strickland Forest Road
- Welcome to Strickland State Forest!
Travelling from Newcastle (approx 1 hour):
- Head South on the F3 Freeway for approx 60km
- Veer left and take the Ourimbah/Palmdale exit
- At the roundabout turn LEFT onto the Pacific Highway
- Drive and at the second set of lights, turn RIGHT onto Dog Trap Road (the RSL is on your left at this intersection), drive for 4.8km
- Turn LEFT onto Mangrove Road. Drive for 270m
- Take the first RIGHT onto Strickland Forest Road
- Welcome to Strickland State Forest!
Taking the Train:
- Take the Newcastle-Central Coast Line. Alight at Narara Station
- Access to Strickland State Forest is via Mangrove Road, Narara (2.8km)
This track starts from the lower situated Stoney Creek Carpark, just a short drive from Banksia Picnic Area. This track proceeds across Stoney Creek and into one of the oldest arboretums (tree plantings) in Australia. This 2.2km loop track is an easy grade. Look out for the giant native hoop and bunya pines and their pine cones the size of footballs!
Banksia Picnic Area
Banksia Picnic Area is a delightful spot set amongst contrasting colours of grey gums, pink smooth-barked apples and banksias. It is also the starting point for three walking tracks: Cabbage Tree Trail; Stoney Creek Trail; and Strickland Falls Trail. Set high on the ridge, picnickers can enjoy views into Gosford and Brisbane Waters. A 10 minute drive from Gosford. Entry via Mangrove Road, Narara, or Dog Trap Road, Ourimbah.
This track starts from the lower Stoney Creek carpark, a short drive from Banksia Picnic Area. The track follows Narara Creek, meandering through rainforest and the arboretum. Simply follow the Arboretum Trail then the signs for Bellbird Trail. This 3.3km loop track is an easy grade for walkers.
Cabbage Tree Trail
This 1.6km loop track is a medium grade walk. Starting from Banksia Picnic Area, this track winds through a variety of eucalypts, such as grey ironbark, blue leaved stringybark and Sydney peppermint to a large grove of cabbage tree palms.
Stoney Creek Trail
This 3.6km return walk is a medium grade track. This track includes most of Cabbage Tree Trail, but continues into the rainforest and alongside scenic Stoney Creek. This walking track links the Banksia Picnic Area and the tracks starting from the lower Stoney Creek Carpark.
Strickland Falls Trail
The beautiful Strickland Falls, surrounded by mossy rocks, ferns and palms, is reached after walking through Gymea lilies, banksias and acacias. The track leads off from the road entering Banksia Picnic Area. This 1.6km loop track is medium grade.
Find out about the Friends of Strickland volunteer program.
Find out about school excursions at Strickland State forest.
Organised events and activities
A Special Purpose Permit is required for organised events and activities in State forests.
Join the conversation
- Important information when visiting state forests
- Call '000' in a bushfire emergency (www.rfs.nsw.gov.au)
- Total Fire Ban and Current Fire Danger Map (www.rfs.nsw.gov.au)
- Signs in State Forests
- Solid Fuel Fire Bans
Some State forests are declared for authorised hunting. Find out more about authorised hunting in State forests, including licensing and applying for permits.
Pesticide use This area is designated as ‘high public usage’ under Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Pesticide Use Notification Plan [PDF 3.83 MB].
Find out how to minimise the impact of your visit.