Things to do
Nature and parks
National parks in NSW
With close to 900 national parks, forests and reserves, New South Wales has some of the most diverse nature experiences in Australia with plenty of things to see and do. Sub-tropical rainforests, pristine marine parks, outback landscapes, mountain ranges and UNESCO World Heritage-listed areas are located across the State.
Key places to go
There are many extraordinary features that make nature experiences in New South Wales truly remarkable, from a vast and shimmering lake system, The Great Lakes, holding more water than Sydney Harbour; the highest mountain in mainland Australia, Mount Kosciuszko part of Kosciuszko National Park to the world's oldest known ceremonial burial site in Mungo National Park.
Lord Howe Island is one of just four island groups in the world possessing World Heritage status. It is distinguished by remarkable volcanic geology, exceptional ecosystems, a rare collection of plants, birds and marine life and the world's southernmost coral reef. Dorrigo National Park in the state's north (part of Gondwana Rainforest Reserves of Australia, selected as World Heritage sites for their exceptional biodiversity or rarity) offers wondrous waterfalls. National parks around Nimbin in the State's far north, including Nightcap National Park and Mebbin National Park, enjoy high rainfall and spectacular waterfalls.
A recent addition to the National Parks stable is Capertee National Park, about 50km north of Lithgow, a popular stop for visitors heading to Country NSW. Capertee is a breeding and feeding site for the nationally endangered regent honeyeater, a distinctive black-and-yellow bird with a sturdy, curved bill. Other great parks include Mutawintji National Park, with its ancient Aboriginal rock art and engravings, the Blue Mountains National Park, featuring the stunning Three Sisters, and Sydney's Royal National Park, Australia's oldest national park.
Find out more information about what's on in national parks.
The Rainforest Way
Enjoy the tranquility of scenic loop roads, stopping for a walk through forests dappled with sunlight or an invigorating swim in a creek fed by waterfalls. Rainforest Way is a series of drives through World Heritage-listed rainforests and national parks in northern NSW.
A day trip to Kiama’s Blowhole offers a chance to admire one of nature’s most endearing oddities. Gasp with awe as the ocean forces a fountain of spray through the rock shelf, the noise as dramatic as the tower of water.
In the summer months, take a guided walk along the rock shelf near Ulladulla. It once formed the coast of the supercontinent Gondwana, and fossils dating back 296 million years to the Permean period can be found there.
The Pilliga Forest, west of Dubbo, constitutes the largest semi-arid woodland in NSW. The landscape is as eerie as it is intriguing, with hot artesian bores and salt caves scattered throughout the ghostly, spindly forest.
To witness Australia’s flora at its most magnificent, head to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, the premier cool-climate botanic garden in Australia with over 5,000 species from around the world.
It may be officially called Sawn Rocks but this spectacular natural feature in the Mount Kaputar National Park near Narrabri is more reminiscent of a massive set of towering cathedral organ pipes and a reminder of the park’s volcanic past.
NaturEscapes for iPad
Discover coastal and country nature escapes in Sydney and New South Wales. The app has great tips on what to see and do, the best natural attractions to explore, and where to watch animals in the wild.