National Parks in NSW
Explore the natural wonders in NSW national parks, from UNESCO World Heritage to emerald rainforest, beautiful beaches, ancient caves and extinct volcanoes. You’ll see amazingly diverse wildlife, from kangaroos to whales. You can even walk to the top of Australia’s highest mountain.
The Blue Mountains are on Sydney’s doorstep. The vast World Heritage wilderness across a number of national parks is home to a third of Australia’s bird species and dinosaur trees, the nickname for Wollemi pines whose evolutionary lineage is 90 million years. The trees were discovered in 1994.
The Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains is one of the world’s oldest cave systems, with limestone 340 million years old. For sweeping views of the Blue Mountains and the famous Three Sisters rock formation, visit Echo Point lookout in Katoomba and ride the Scenic World glass-bottom cable car.
There are hundreds of memorable hikes and walks. The summit walk in Kosciuszko National Park is to the rooftop of Australia, Mount Kosciuszko. For the UNESCO Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, walking tracks include the 2.2km Eagles Nest loop in the New England National Park, near Armidale.
The coastal national parks are magnificent, too. Relax on lovely beaches, and enjoy fishing, kayaking and surfing. Whale watching is popular on the South Coast, Central Coast and North Coast between May and November when thousands of humpback whales migrate. The great coastal walks include:
- Light to Light walk in Ben Boyd National Park, Eden
- White Sands walk in Jervis Bay National Park, Jervis Bay
- Bouddi Coastal walk in Bouddi National Park, Killcare
- Tomaree Head walk in Tomaree National Park, Shoal Bay
- Sea Acres walk in Sea Acres National Park, Port Macquarie
- Yuraygir Coastal walk in Yuraygir National Park, Yamba
Before your adventure, please read these safety tips carefully. A great road trip in a coastal national park is the Grand Pacific Drive, which weaves through the Royal National Park, Australia’s oldest. There is a side trip to pretty escarpment rainforest in Budderoo National Park, near Jamberoo.
In the coastal hinterland on the North Coast is Dorrigo National Park, home to the stunning Skywalk lookout above a majestic rainforest canopy. In the World Heritage-listed Wollumbin National Park is Mount Wollumbin, formerly called Mount Warning, a volcanic plug in a rainforest-covered caldera.
You’ll discover some of the best volcanic features in the world in the iconic Warrumbungle National Park, Australia’s first dark sky park near the stargazing capital of Coonabarabran. The ‘bold volcanic landforms are unrivalled anywhere else in Australia,’ according to a national heritage report.
In the outback, starkly beautiful national parks are rich in Aboriginal heritage. UNESCO-listed Mungo National Park is where the world’s oldest ritual cremation site was discovered in 1968. You can take a guided tour in Mutawintji National Park to the famous ochre hand stencils, which date back thousands of years.