From World Heritage wilderness to 19th century steam trains, Thirlmere will charm you with natural beauty, wonderful train rides and railway memorabilia. The small township is about 80 minutes’ drive southwest of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and is home to the fabulous NSW Rail Museum.

Thirlmere Lakes National Park is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. There are five tranquil freshwater lakes in this beautiful national park. You can enjoy canoeing, kayaking and swimming, and the Thirlmere Lakes walking track is a delightful 6km loop around several lakes.

Scenic view from Werri Berri picnic area, Thirlmere Lakes National Park

Please read these bushwalking safety tips before your journey. Bring a picnic hamper and enjoy lunch at the lakeside Werri Berri picnic area, near the walking trail. There are free gas barbecues, tables and toilets at Werri Berri, an enchanting spot year-round. Majestic eucalypts provide shade.

Some 140 bird species inhabit the park, offering marvellous birdwatching. There are white-bellied sea eagles, gang-gang cockatoos and little lorikeets, to name just a few. Along the waterways are rare aquatic plants such as frogmouth waterlilies. You can also explore railway heritage in the park.

A steam locomotive, Thirlmere Festival of Steam, NSW Rail Museum

The sandstone Heritage Pump Station, near Werri Berri picnic area, delivered water for steam trains on the old southern railway. You’ll discover more railway heritage in Thirlmere at the fabulous NSW Rail Museum, which has a comprehensive historical railway collection and steam train rides.

Steam trains operate every Sunday from March through November, departing several times a day from the historic Thirlmere Station, which opened in 1885. The enchanting round-trip takes about 50 minutes. The annual Thirlmere Festival of Steam in March is a fun weekend for the whole family.

Thirlmere was named after a lake of the same name in England. Among other lovely things to do and see around the area is a visit to Cedar Creek Orchard and a scenic drive on the Wollondilly trail, part of the Greater Blue Mountains Drive. You’ll pass through historic towns such as Picton and Camden.