7 July 2017
Caz & Craig Makepeace are the founders of ytravelblog.com, one of the world’s biggest travel blogs and have been featured by notable brands such as Virgin Australia, Expedia, and Lonely Planet. When not traveling and writing about it, you can find them swinging in a beach hammock at sunset to the tunes of Jack Johnson, or screaming in the stands of their favourite sporting match. Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Whenever we travel, incorporating a visit to a National Park is always high on our list. As a family, there is nothing we like more than getting out in nature! Below is a list of our favourite parks in New South Wales.
This region offers some of NSW’s best skiing action and family fun activities in the snow like tubing, tobogganing, and snowman building. Thredbo is possibly the most well-known and loved alpine village with plenty of runs for all skiers; Perisher is one of the most bustling ski resorts with four main skiing parks; Charlottes Pass receives some of the most consistent snowfalls and caters to all abilities, and Selwyn Snowfields are great for families.
Here are 3 tips for skiing with children:
1. Invest at least one or two days in a professional ski lesson. The instructors are trained and have the patience to teach your kids the correct skiing techniques.
2. Don’t push your kids beyond their comfort level. They may not want to ride the lift – don’t force them.
3. Don’t try to ski all day. Your children will become exhausted. Take a break after lunch and go sledding instead.
However, don’t limit your thoughts to winter. Kosciuszko and the Snowy Mountains proved to be a fantastic destination for us in the month of October, and you can visit this destination without the attraction of the snow.
Thredbo is a beautiful alpine village and you can enjoy all it has to offer in the warmer months. If the weather is in your favour, a climb to the top of Australia is very achievable. Take the Kosciuszko express chair lift to Eagles Nest and follow the boardwalk to the rounded peak, a 13km return route. Go bobsledding down the mountain or explore the area by bike, there are plenty of mountain biking trails.
Yarrangobilly in the northern part of Mount Kosciuszko National Park is well worth exploring. Stay a night in Yarrangobilly Caves House and explore the nearby caves and thermal pools. Take a tour of the Jersey Cave and the easy 3km Yarrangobilly River Walk.
From Yarrangobilly, take a day trip to the Long Plain Drive. The barren plains of the Long Plain Drive stretch for miles and amongst the small rolling hills, you are almost guaranteed to see wild brumbies. Visit the Coolamine Homestead and do the Clarke Gorge walk.
The World-Heritage Blue Mountains National Park is Australia’s most visited park and it’s easily accessible being less than two hours from Sydney. You’ve probably seen photos of the famous Three Sisters, so visit Katoomba for a snapshot and also enjoy all that the Blue Mountains have to offer. To see it all, I recommend you stay longer than one day!
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is a wilderness playground with a range of activities for families, nature lovers, and adventure junkies.
With hikes to suit all ages and abilities, you can go hiking down amongst the rainforest into the valley below and you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away. Depending on the time of year, you can go horse-riding, mountain biking, canoeing, caving, abseiling, rock climbing, or four-wheel driving.
For an alternative view, head to Scenic World in Katoomba and ride the Scenic Cableway, Railway, or Skyway. You could also visit the lookouts at Govetts Leap Gap, Evans Lookout, Echo Point Lookout or Breakfast Point Lookout near Wentworth Falls.
There are also plenty of relaxation options in the area; we were impressed by the unbelievably good local produce, cafes, cosy pubs, and restaurants. Check out the Blue Mountains Chocolate Café, and sample the best beer at the Carrington Hotel.
In Booderee, we camped at the spectacular Greenpatch Beach (bookings essential), there are also campsites at Bristol Point and Cave Beach. We’d never heard of Greenpatch Beach before our visit, but it now ranks as one of our favourite beaches in NSW. There’s nothing like waking up to kangaroos hopping around your tent and being mere metres from a pristine beach.
When you walk onto Greenpatch Beach, head right around the rocks to a place called Scottish Rocks – these amazing rock formations hug the cliff and jut out into the bay. I couldn’t believe my eyes and kept saying to myself ‘this is as good as you would see anywhere in Australia.’
In Booderee National Park you can enjoy a range of bush walks, learn about Koori culture, and spot whales from the historic Cape St George Lighthouse during whale season.
The Jervis Bay region is truly magical – the beaches here are some of the best in NSW, if not Australia, and a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing and walks – don’t miss the White Sands Walk.
Most people who visit Sydney should also plan to experience the Royal National Park. It’s Australia’s oldest National Park and is situated only an hour south of Sydney with the main entry points are along the Princes Highway.
‘The Royal’ as the locals like to call it, is a beautiful park with stunning coastal cliffs surrounded by sandy beaches and mountainous sandstone ridges with deep river valleys that are home to a mixture of Eucalyptus woodlands and temperate rainforest.
Not only is the Royal National Park Australia’s oldest, it is also the world’s second oldest National Park after Yellowstone and I highly recommend a day trip from Sydney.
It offers great coastal and bush walks, picnic spots, camping, cycling and swimming. Feel like getting wet? The beach at Bundeena’s Bonnie Vale is a great swimming spot, as are Jibbon, Wattamolla and Little Marley beaches.
For any traveller wanting to experience true bush camping and true Australian countryside, consider Murray Valley National Park. It’s a place where kangaroos bound freely around you, wild koalas peer at you from the branches, and Aboriginal artists welcome you into their work shed sharing a bit of the history with you.
At night your campfire crackles and pops as you cook your evening meal under the stars and canopy of River Red Gums beside the Murrumbidgee River, Australia’s second longest river.
There is a beauty that is hard to describe in the River Red Gum Forest. The silence often cannot be heard, not because of the noise of the busy outside world, but because of the laughing kookaburras, and flocks of squawking cockatoos.
There are 150 species of birds and a wide variety of other forest animals learning to live harmoniously with each other. In 2010, the park was declared a National Park to protect the majestic river red gum forests of the Riverina’s Ramsar-listed wetland. It’s a popular place to visit for those wishing to travel outside of Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
Part of the largest continuous red gum forest in the world, this region hosts a unique ecosystem with over 60 threatened native animal species and 40 threatened plant species, and an important place for Aboriginal people.
It is bush camping so there are no amenities, but this is a great park for forest drive touring, bushwalking, kayaking, biking, fishing, boating, birdwatching and camping.
The Riverina area is in South West NSW. Narrandera is 549kms from Sydney and 341kms from Canberra on the junction of the Sturt and Newell highways.