Cattai Farm on Sydney’s doorstep

We thought we would post a couple articles for those looking for a nice bush escape on Sydney’s doorstep. There are some wonderful national parks dotted around the city if you are looking for a close getaway. Situated along the banks of the Hawkesbury River and Cattai Creek between Windsor and Wisemans Ferry, Cattai National Park was once a land grant to Thomas Arndell, assistant surgeon on the first fleet. 2007_0805nth0041Initially the land was used for grain growing and in 1803 a granary and wind powered mill were built, the grain being transported down the Hawkesbury River by boat to Sydney for sale. In 1810 an original dwelling was built for Arndell and his family and by 1821 the homestead you see today was built replacing the original. The Arndell family continued to work the land enduring many hardships and floods with seven generations spanning some 180 years until 1980 when the farm was sold to the NSW government and gazetted a state recreation area. In 1992 the area became a national park. 2007_0805nth0049The park is split into two sections, both easily accessed off the Cattai – Wisemans Ferry Road. The main or Cattai Farm section to the west of Cattai Rd and the smaller Mitchell Park section to the east.
2007_0805nth0046The historic homestead is a highlight of Cattai and is open some Sundays and by prior arrangement with NPWS. There is the historic grain silos and other farm buildings to visit, you can take a walk to view the Hawkesbury River from the lookout with aboriginal rock engravings along the way or stroll through rare riverine rainforest. Access by boat is also possible to the Cattai Farm section. Large picnic shelter sheds are available to book through NPWS  for a special occasion and you can camp overnight in the designated campground.2007_0805nth0033Along with its historical features ironbarks, red gums and river oaks dominate the landscape within the Cattai Farm section while the Mitchell Park section has species of grey gums, bloodwoods, she oaks, uncommon scaly-barked gums and a rare strand of riverine rainforest along Cattai Creek.
Due to urban sprawl many native animals which were once common are now hardly seen. Despite this species of possums, swamp wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos, antechinus and several species of reptiles can still be found in the park.

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