Taste, smell, hear and feel your way through Dharawal National Park

Up close with nature: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s senior visitor services officer David Duffy, surrounded by nature in the Dharawal National Park. Picture: Chris Lane
Up close with nature: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s senior visitor services officer David Duffy, surrounded by nature in the Dharawal National Park. Picture: Chris Lane

Dharawal National Park is not just a picturesque landscape – it’s also a sensory wonderland.

In December and January, Macarthur residents will get two chances to taste, smell, feel and hear the national park for themselves.

The Summer Series Sensory Walks aims to provide a tour of the park from a different perspective.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s David Duffy said Dharawal Nartional Park was like a natural Woolworths, Coles or Aldi.

“For some it’s like a supermarket,” the senior visitor services officer said.

Mr Duffy said there were a range of native edible plants including sarsaparilla and geebungs, though what could be sampled depended on whether the fruit was in season.

He also warned residents not to embark on an unsupervised taste test as the wrong plant or unripened fruit could cause illness.

“One of our provisions is you don’t put anything in your mouth unless someone with knowledge (of the plants) says it’s okay,” he said.

Mr Duffy said it wasn’t just the taste buds that would get an incredible experience.

The sounds in the national park would also provide a treat for the ears.

“That’s the thing I really enjoy doing with kids,” he said.

“I say ‘pretend to be a powerful owl’. Their ears are offset which means they can triangulate where sound comes from. Their wings are silent so they can sneak up on prey without them knowing.

“So I tell the kids to quiet right down like a powerful owl and then you can hear the most amazing sounds like birds and lizards scampering along (the park) floor.

“When you get really tuned in, it’s like you experience an orchestra of nature.”

Even the smells are something to behold.

“When you get closer to the waterfalls you can smell the air changing. There are more rainforest type plants as opposed to the dryer plants closer to the top of the hills,” he said.

The 2.8 kilometre tours traverse the O’Hares Creek Lookout, are run at a leisurely pace and are suitable for people of all abilities. They are a result of a Campbelltown Council and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service partnership.

Details: Saturday, December 16 and Saturday, January 20, 4.30pm-6pm, cost $10, more information available at campbelltown.nsw.gov.au.

Up close with nature: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s senior visitor services officer David Duffy, surrounded by nature in the Dharawal National Park. Picture: Chris Lane

Up close with nature: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s senior visitor services officer David Duffy, surrounded by nature in the Dharawal National Park. Picture: Chris Lane