Cumberland State Forest

Cumberland Forest urban oasis

Cumberland State forest is an urban oasis

It’s crazy to think with all the bush land surrounding Sydney that we only have one State Forest to our name, but it is the case. Cumberland State Forest, (sometimes referred to as Cumberland Forest) is the only metropolitan State Forest in all of Australia! 

And we are lucky to have it right here in North Western Sydney.

Situated in West Pennant Hills (in the Hills District) the Cumberland State Forest covers approximately 40 hectares of protected forest. The Forest includes a lot of free activities for everyone including a bush tucker garden, three bushwalks, free BBQ’s and a range of picnic areas.

I love coming here for a quick, easy bush-walk or if I have the kids with me I enjoy the fact that there is no playground so they need to find their own fun!

Visitors also love that it is dog friendly and with lots of trails and tracks to explore its a cracking day out.

So what can you get up to?

1. Go bush(walking) in Cumberland State Forest

One of the main attractions of the Forest is its bush-walks. There are three key walks within the forest of easy or moderate grade.

At 350 metres long The Sensory Walk is suited to all ages and fitness levels and even suitable for prams and wheelchairs. It includes well signed directions on how to ‘see and smell’ your way along the trail.

The Sensory Trail is a great short walk for all ages

There is also the Palm Gully and Forestry Trail, both around 1.0km long and of moderate grade. The Forestry Trail takes visitors through the parks Forest Arboretum (plant library) which is really interesting and very beautiful.


Palm Gully Walk

For ease of walking make sure you view the Cumberland State Forest map at the Visitors Centre and/or grab a copy of the parks information brochure (which includes a copy of the walking map).

2. Stay for lunch and bring your pooch

There are four picnic areas within the forest as well as free BBQ’s and seating. There are also some nice grassy spots to lay a picnic rug down. The park map is also useful to help you decide on the best picnic spot.

Enjoy some peace and quiet at one of the four picnic areas

One of the best parts of the Forest is that dogs are welcome on lead, so make sure you bring your furry friend too!

3. Fun for the little ones

Kids can take part in a ‘Forest Adventure Trail’ which gets them actively involved in their day at the Forest. You can grab copies of the Trail from the Visitors Centre.

The Visitors Centre also contains some interactive displays (for kids and adults) and information on the forest and forestry in NSW.

Make sure to visit the Visitors Centre

4. School Holiday Activities

The park runs a great school holiday program with activities for kids from 3 to 10 years old. Tickets are very reasonably priced and it is easy to book online. Themes include Forest Fairies and Elves, Forest Rangers and Amazing Animals.

5. Cumberland State Forest Cafe and Nursery

To relax after a bush walk you can also visit the onsite cafe, Cafe Salinga. This pretty cafe is situated next to the Visitors Centre and provides indoor and outdoor seating. It feels a bit expensive (especially for take-away drinks etc) but is a nice spot to stop for a coffee.

There is also a plant nursery on-site that sells a great range of plants and is a neat spot to explore.

A bit of background

Cumberland State Forest was originally privately owned land which was cleared in 1908. Management of the land was taken over by the Forestry Corporation in 1938 and became a State Forest in 1939. Some of the land was planted as an aboretum and the rest was left to regenerate naturally.

Along with NSW Forestry Corporation, an active volunteer group keep the Forest free of weeds and pests.

Forest in  Danger

The local community is currently concerned about a development that will back onto the Cumberland State Forest. If you are interested to know more please contact Forest in Danger.

Five reasons to visit Cumberland State Forest

  1. Enjoy an easy walk through one of the Forests bush walks
  2. Take some binoculars and go bird watching (with nearly 90 known species sited within the park)
  3. Enjoy a picnic or BBQ at Swains Picnic ground while watching guests enjoy Treetops
  4. Wander through the Calgaroo Bush Tucker Garden
  5. Purchase plants from the Plants Plus nursery (open seven days a week).

Freedays summary

  • Entry: Free
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Wheelchair friendly: Yes (some areas)
  • Free carparking: Yes
  • Free BBQ facilities: Yes
  • Time to spend here: 2 – 4 hours (including walks and lunch)
  • Food available: Yes, there is a dog friendly cafe on site
  • Address: 95 Castle Hill Road, West Pennant Hills NSW 2125
  • Further details:

More free things to do 

After exploring the forest why not:




Share and Follow: