Cattai National Park
Make sure to stop by the wharf for some great views of the river
For many years I have visited Cattai National Park and I am always astounded at how few people are here. This great park has some excellent things to do and best of all it truly is one of Sydney’s secrets. You are not going to find an over-crowded park here, more a tribute to history and nature and a chance to relax and un-wind.
I have often come here with my kids and so have not fully explored the park, so recently I took some time out to head here on my own and I loved it even more! If I am honest the park is very quiet during the week so it was a bit eerie at times but I embraced the quiet and put on my exploring boots.
The order of my day went something like this:
- Dairy and Grain Silo
- Historic Cattai Homestead
- Cattai Park and campground
- Mitchell Park (which is actually located at a different location)
Here’s what I got up to.
First Stop Dairy and Grain Silo Complex
As you enter the gates of Cattai National Park you will shortly drive by a derelict looking silo complex. I have never stopped here before but was so excited that today was the day.
After walking around the area for a while I discovered that these ruins are the remnants of a farm that was originally run by the First Fleet Assistant Surgeon Thomas Arndell. It is actually quite weird looking through this derelict site. The feeling of the whole place is slightly spooky along with fascinating and interesting all at once. It feels so unusual because the buildings are not protected at all and you can touch and feel them and even enter them if you are dare.
You will also see the remains of a chook shed, sheep paddock and old farm equipment.
There are some worn out signs that give some history of the farm. There is also a sign to a lookout of which I was unable to find!
The silo complex is so interesting
Next stop is Cattai Homestead. You will find this house just a bit further up the road, but you will need to drive from the silos to get here.
For over 170 years the Arndell family farmed this area with this homestead being the heart of the farm. The house that stands today was built around 1821 with convict-built dry stone walls. The details of the first homestead have been lost, but there is some indication of the site it was located on.
While you cannot enter the homestead you can wander around its grounds and admire its beauty. It is a really enjoyable walk with a lot to see.
Cattai Homestead is still very beautiful
The main area of Cattai Park is a huge green, grassy area full of beautiful trees and shady picnic spots. Set right on the Hawkesbury River, there are great covered picnic areas, FREE bbqs and even a little sandy beach for kids to enjoy the Hawkesbury River. To find the sandy beach head upwards through the camp site and you will see it on the left. Cattai Park is especially beautiful during autumn when the huge trees lose their leaves.
There is not a huge amount of organised activities in the park area so bring along some activities for the kids if you wish.
It is good to note that the playground at the park has been removed.
While you are here make sure to stop and check out the wharf for some beautiful views of the river.
The beautiful Cattai Park
The Cattai National Park Campground is a really serene, bushland campground. It is full of grassy open sites, wood fires and good toilet and bathroom facilities. Having never seen the campgrounds before I enjoyed a walk through here. I think it would be great for an overnight or weekend get away.
Enjoy an open fire at the campground
After enjoying some time walking through Cattai Park I decided to head out of the main park and over to Mitchell Park. Mitchell Park is a totally separate entrance to the main park (you will find the entrance on Mitchell Park Road, Cattai).
To be honest when I first arrived here I was a bit disappointed. The area seems a bit scrappy and not much to do. However when you spend a little time here you start to appreciate it more.
There are lots of open grassy spots to sit, good access to the river and some great walks to go on. There was even a resident set of sheep here, which I am fairly sure should not be here!
Overall I think Mitchell Park is a good place to stop by if you are in the area or looking for a bushwalk.
The resident sheep at Mitchell Park
Five reasons to visit Cattai National Park
- Visit the historic silos
- See the beautiful Cattai Homestead
- Enjoy great views from Cattai Wharf
- FREE bbq facilities
- Paddle feet at the sandy beach
- Entry: Free (parking applies)
- Toilets: Yes
- Wheelchair friendly: Yes
- Free carparking: Yes
- Free BBQ facilities: Yes
- Time to spend here: 1 hour to all day
- Address: Wisemans Ferry Road, Cattai NSW 2756
- Further details: Visit Cattai National Park directory listing
More free things to do
After exploring the garden why not:
- Visit Scheyville National Park