Things to do
Hikes and walks
NSW hikes, walks and trails
Whether you're out for a short nature stroll or a five-day hike, walking tracks in NSW provide all kids of opportunities to explore the State's 820 parks and reserves. Take the kids along, go camping and bird watching, watch whales from lookouts along the coast or learn about Australia's incredible natural heritage.
Key places to go
Many of the State’s national parks offer wonderfully diverse walks of all lengths and for all levels of ability. In Blue Mountains National Park, a series of steps by The Three Sisters rock formation descends to the cool and refreshing valley floor. In Yuraygir National Park, a water wonderland in the state’s north, you can stride along the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the state – so isolated and empty that emus stroll and forage along the beach.
In remote and spectacular Warrumbungle National Park, a 30-minute drive from Australia’s astronomy capital, Coonabarabran, all eyes turn to the Breadknife. You can reach the base of this striking geological feature (a narrow rock sliver) after a steep climb. The effort is worthwhile and the Breadknife Walk is the most popular walk in the park. In spring, white daisy bushes, yellow wattles and orange pea flowers add splashes of colour.
Mungo National Park, Australia’s first World Heritage-listed park showcases the dry lakes where 40,000 year old human remains were found in 1969. The most beautiful section of the desolate park is the Walls of China, where years of wind and erosion have formed crescent shaped dunes that stretch for 30kms. Take a guided walk with an Aboriginal ranger who will share knowledge of the past, bush tucker and bush medicine remedies.
Another highlight is the newly formed Batemans Marine Reserve around Batemans Bay, an 85,000 hectare protected area from Murramarang Beach in the north to Wallaga Lake in the south. Here you can take a walk along one of the many uncrowded beaches of the South Coast. For the genuinely adventurous, the 43km-long Great North Road Walk from Wisemans Ferry to Mount Manning, in Dharug National Park, is of medium difficulty and takes three days each way.
Climb every mountain
Mount Gower is the dominant landmark of World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, and an ascent to its 875m peak is a badge of honour for all island visitors. Rated one of the top day walks in the world, it carries a grade 10 rating.
Tackle the recently restored Grand Canyon Walk at Blackheath. The 103-year-old trail is the only one built through a slot canyon in the Blue Mountains. The magnificent canyons and splendid waterfalls make it an experience to remember.
From the headland track at Byron Bay to esplanade strolls along Central Coast beaches like The Entrance, NSW is blessed with great beachfront walks. Take the ferry and start at Taronga Zoo for the Bradleys Head to Chowder Head Walk. Close to the city and immersed in bushland this walk weaves along harbor headlands.
Love walking but hate the hard yakka of carrying your gear? Sydney Coast Walks provides guided, fully catered single day or overnight walks through Sydney’s Royal National Park. Food and gear is transported ahead so walkers can enjoy the experience without the load. Other companies including Auswalk offer similar services in various coastal NSW locations.
Take your daily walk into the trees, exploring coastal rainforests on spectacular canopy boardwalks. The boardwalk at Sea Acres Rainforest Centre at Port Macquarie gives you a birds-eye view of the forest and the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk provides amazing coastal views from a spiral tower 45m above the forest floor.
A terrific introduction to Kosciuszko, and a winner with the kids, is the self-guided Enchanting Forest Walk. On a mostly level track, explore the rich forests around the Kosciuszko Education Centre at Sawpit Creek. Educational materials and games are available.
Blue Mountains glow worms
The Glow Worm Tunnel Walk, near Lithgow in the Blue Mountains, is a unique experience. The railway tunnel once took passengers to Newnes. When the tracks were pulled up, stunning glow worms made it their home and are a sight to behold.
North Coast rainforest
Become at one with the subtropical Gondwana Rainforest from the convenience of a gently sloping wooden ramp on the Lyrebird Walk. You’ll marvel at some of nature’s most intriguing creatures.
Bushwalking, Blue Mountains
Couple walking a trail through heathland, Blue Mountains. Image Paul Blackmore
Hiking, Mt Gower
Hikers along the trail on Lower Rd, Mt. Gower, Lord Howe Island. Image Don Fuchs
Bouddi National Park, Central Coast
Bushwalkers relaxing on the coastline of Bouddi National Park, Central Coast. Image The Legendary Pacific Coast
Moss Wall, Watagan Mountains, Lake Macquarie
The Moss Wall at Boarding House Dam, Watagan Mountains, Lake Macquarie, Hunter. Image Paul Foley