UNESCO World heritage in NSW

Explore the extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage in NSW. You’ll be amazed, from the Sydney Opera House and convict sites to the beautiful wilderness in the Blue Mountains, Gondwana Rainforests, Lord Howe Island and Willandra Lakes, where ancient human history dates back tens of thousands of years.

Just west of Sydney are the Blue Mountains, named after the natural blue hue created by the vast eucalypt forests releasing tiny droplets of oil that mix with water vapour and sunlight. A great place to begin your discovery is at Echo Point lookout in Katoomba, home to the famous Three Sisters.

The world’s largest subtropical rainforest sanctuaries are the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. The lineage of conifers and ferns is measured in tens of millions of years. North of Sydney, rainforest is in the Barrington Tops as well as in protected areas in Armidale, Glenn Innes and on the North Coast.

Camping on Cockatoo Island - Sydney Harbour

Bushwalking is an exhilarating way to explore the rainforest sanctuaries and other national parks. You’ll find a range of trails, such as the Washpool walking track near Glen Innes and the Lyrebird Link track near Dorrigo. Before your adventure, please read these bushwalking safety tips carefully.

The Waterfall walk meanders through rainforest in the Willi Willi National Park, about 90 minutes’ drive northwest of Port Macquarie. About 600km east of Port Macquarie is Lord Howe Island, a Pacific island paradise with lovely places to stay and the most southerly coral reefs in the world.

In outback NSW, the landscapes are spectacular. Mungo National Park is part of the Willandra Lakes Region. One of the most significant national parks in the world, UNESCO says ‘it is a unique landmark in the study of human evolution’. The world’s oldest ritual cremation site was discovered in Mungo.

The plunging Wollomombi Falls, Australia's second-high waterfall, near Armidale

One of great natural harbours in the world is home to the Sydney Opera House, a masterpiece of creativity. There are daily tours and performances or relax in the Opera Bar and admire the vistas. You can take a ferry from nearby Circular Quay to another World Heritage site on Sydney Harbour.

Cockatoo Island is a World Heritage-listed convict heritage area. There are audio tours of the convict and shipbuilding past on the island, the largest in Sydney Harbour. You can even hire a tent and spend the night camping on the island. Other UNESCO convict sites to explore in Sydney include:

Lord Howe Island from North Bay Walk

Lord Howe Island

This World Heritage-listed island paradise is only a two-hour flight from Sydney, and is famous for its breathtaking twin peaks and pristine beaches. The island lies on the worlds southernmost coral reef, home to 500 species of fish and more than 90 species of coral. Enjoy the stunning beauty of this idyllic island that accommodates up to 400 visitors at any time.

Walls of China in Mungo National Park - Outback NSW

Wilandra Lakes Region

For a trip way back into Australias past, visit the historic Willandra Lakes, home to Mungo National Park. The region consists of a system of ancient lakes formed over 2 million years and Aboriginal people lived here for at least 50,000 years. Explore the unique beauty of the dry lake bed and magnificent sand dunes, and take a tour to learn about the areas rich cultural identity. 

Discover more UNESCO national parks