The Gardens of Stone

A natural paradise near Sydney

Destination Pagoda Summary and Report

A new plan, created by the Colong Foundation, Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Lithgow Environment Group for the transition of state forests beside Lithgow to a state conservation area was launched on Monday April 8 at the Lithgow Workies. The summary and full report are below. The plan focuses on the tourism, economic and community benefits to Lithgow from the new reserve.





The Wollangambe Story

Video showing the coal fines spill by Clarence Colliery in the Gardens of Stone region.

In the 1980s sediment spills from the constuection of the Berowra By-pass [F1] into Ku-ring-gai National Park established procedures for cleaning up spills of this kind. Yet it took months before the clean up of the Wollangambe River started.

The EPA must ensure it establishes standing procedures and writes up a 'how to' guide from the Clarence spill experience. Like first aid, with pollution events, quick action prevents harm. It is by a great deal of luck that heavy rainfall did not sweep coal fines all the way down the Wollangamba River.

Save the Gardens of Stone

Please make a tax-deductible donation and help protect the Gardens of Stone

The Gardens of Stone is one of Australia’s most remarkable regions.

It is public land and yet still at risk.

The Gardens of Stone has almost as many rare plants and animals and endangered ecosystems as the rest of the Blue Mountains put together, all living in this spectacular pagoda landscape of rock pinnacles, canyons, cliffs, forests, heaths and wetlands.

The Gardens of Stone are must for conservation – and being in Sydney’s backyard is a major plus.

With your help we can save the Gardens of Stone.

Dr Bob Brown, 25th March, 2018

Please Donate

Save the Gardens of Stone

Just two hours west of Sydney is a popular wonderland of sandstone pagodas unique in the world. This public forest needs your help as it is being ruined.

The Gardens of Stone region is remarkable for its combination of dramatic landforms, rock pagodas, and a multitude of rare and threatened plants and animals. You and your family can experience nature close up and personal, a world of secrets, magic and delight. At once apparently daunting but accessible, you will find pagodas in clusters like fortified hill-towns with narrow passageways and walled courtyards, complete with overhanging caves, staircases and waterfalls. It is hard not to put its stunning natural beauty into a human context; with imagined walled gardens, rockeries, open woodlands and shrubberies.

It’s just the best place in the world for a bushwalk! Each visit to the Gardens of Stone is another unique wonderful experience.

Ignore it, and it will disappear

This 39,000 hectare region is proposed for protection as a state conservation area. Its diversity is equivalent to that of the nearby million hectare World Heritage Area. Its reservation would establish effective management for its 100 threatened plants, animals and ecological communities, and to enable it to be appreciated.

Poorly regulated coal mining has caused surface rocks to crack, cliffs and pagodas to crumble, aquifers to be lowered, swamps and creeks to dry out, and rivers that supply Sydney with drinking water to be polluted with mine water. All the while unlicensed and unregistered trail bike riders continue to impact the region without a thought to the damage they cause.

How you can help

An alliance of local conservation groups is developing more detailed plans to explain the substantial benefits of a proposed 39,000 hectare state conservation area reserve. It will examine how a vibrant tourist economy in the Lithgow region would work with the reserve plan and Lithgow Council’s strategy to broaden the local economy.

They have also commissioned award-winning Australian documentary film maker, Tom Zubrycki, to present the outstanding scenic values of Lithgow’s “pagoda” landscapes and how these pagodas will draw tourists to the region. A big new Gardens of Stone reserve should become the foundation for Lithgow’s diversified economy as local mining declines.

Stand shoulder to shoulder with those working towards a Gardens of Stone reserve and a better future for Lithgow. 

Please make a tax-deductible donation to help continue this work.

Donations over $2.00 are tax-deductible.

"the highest and best use of the area is for conservation purposes"
Planning Assessment Commission, 2014

Gardens of Stone - In Focus

From amazing landscapes with Aboriginal culture, secret places to visit, rare plants and animals,
and relics from the past, the Gardens of Stone region has it all. Watch the Video.

Visit The Gardens of Stone


THE GARDENS OF STONE STAGE TWO RESERVE PROPOSAL encompassing 39,000 hectares is located on the western edge of the Blue Mountains near Lithgow and adjoins the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. This landscape cradles many hidden secrets wich can be discovered by the average family on a relaxed weekend outing. It also provides significant challenges to attract the most ardent adventure seekers.

The Gardens of Stone Reserve proposal 

The Gardens of Stone is a paradise for bushwalkers, rock climbers and camping families who regularly visit to see:

  • Aboriginal sites and rock art dating back thousands of years; as well as
  • Incredible eroded rockscapes of pagodas, cliffs, natural arches, waterfalls, slot canyons, gorges and large caverns;
  • Rare vegetation communities, threatened plants and animals, some endemic to the area; and
  • Rare highland swamps and ancient wind-blown sand dunes.

Yet this landscape of unsurpassed beauty and unique plant and animal communities is under threat. Read more...

Visitors Map

The Gardens of Stone visitors map has been created to showcase the area and provide visitors with a guide to some of the more remarkable and accessible areas. Available for $10.

Gardens of Stone Heritage Report

The Gardens of Stone Heritage Report, commissioned by three NSW environment groups, was released this Saturday at Sydney University at an event to celebrate the unique heritage values of the Gardens of Stone. For the first time a report has taken stock of the cultural and natural assets of some 39,000 hectares of the Gardens of Stone region, near Lithgow.



The Gardens of Stone Alliance