Nature and Parks in NSW
NSW's national parks and UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites capture an astounding array of natural beauty. The State is spectacularly diverse and bursting with adventure, from whale watching and scuba diving to bushwalking, cycling and walking to the rooftop of Australia.
See native animals in NSW
Answer the call of the wild across regional NSW. In Narrandera, visit a riverside nature reserve that is home to a wild koala population, or count kangaroos at Pebbly Beach on the picturesque South Coast. There's also a special reserve near Bombala, in the Snowy Mountains which holds the promise of seeing platypus.
You can meet the stars of the animal kingdom up close at zoos and wildlife parks around the State. Enjoy encounters with Maya the lioness at the open-range Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, and meet Elvis the crocodile and Hugo the Galapagos tortoise at Australian Reptile Park. You can even pat a shark in Port Stephens.
On the South Coast, visit resident dolphins of Jervis Bay and camp by the beach in Booderee National Park, home to the endangered eastern bristlebird. You can also experience one of the world’s great wildlife adventures – snorkelling or diving with a colony of fur seals on Montague Island.
As part of your wilderness experience, you can try rock climbing, abseiling, caving and canyoning. Walk above the forest canopy on the Skywalk Lookout near Coffs Harbour and ride the waves alongside dolphins in a sea kayak in Byron Bay. Discover limestone formations in caves that date back hundreds of millions of years, including:
- Jenolan Caves, in the Blue Mountains
- Wombeyan Caves, near Goulburn
- Yarrangobilly Caves, in the Snowy Mountains
- Abercrombie Caves, southwest of Bathurst
National parks in NSW
NSW is crisscrossed with bushwalking tracks and mountain bike trails. Barrington Tops National Park, just north of Sydney, is popular with adventurers of all types. This extraordinary rainforest area is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, extending along the hinterland of the North Coast.
Astrotourism is taking off, too. Visit the Warrumbungle National Park near the astronomy capital of Coonabarabran, where Australia’s first Dark Sky Park offers incredible views of the Milky Way in a sky studded with stars. You can also get high on the summit walk up Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak, in Kosciuszko National Park.
Lord Howe Island, some 600km off the coast is a World Heritage paradise for diving, hiking and birdwatching. Head inland to discover the ancient landscape of Mungo National Park, in Willandra Lakes National Park. Follow the Light to Light Walk in the Ben Boyd National Park and see ancient rock art at Mutawintji National Park.