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There are more than 225 national parks in New South Wales, each and every single park containing a hidden gem and each with its own unique beauty in its own right. This is about 4 times more national parks and reserves in the whole US combined. NSW has the second highest number of national parks in Australia as well, just after Queensland and also making a third of all national parks in Australia to be in NSW.

The NSW Parks and Wildlife Services (NSWPWS) logo, seen from about every national park in New South Wales.

Understand[edit]

National parks in New South Wales include some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the state, and they're often good places to go for different purposes, with hiking being the most common. Different parks are home to something unique in their own right, each hiding a hidden beauty within itself. The geographic variety between the places pose different landscapes, giving some parks different features to others hence why some parks might be considered a plain beauty by some, and "boring" by others, but in all fact, it depends on perspective..

Historic sites are also run by the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife services, and all have something to showcase. Some of these might not have much, but these are historically significant to the state in some way or another.

There are also four "Karst Reserves" as well, designed to protect the karst landscape. These are not national parks, but are still managed by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.

On top of all this, there are some "state conservation reserves" as well, and these may be more known or even more visited than some of their national cousins, such as Cape Byron State Conservation Area, a highlight for anyone coming to Byron Bay, is much more visited than most other national parks.

A brown colour on the map means it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while a darker maroon colour means it's a historic site. Other colours on the map is sorted out by its region.

Fees and permits[edit]

A typical sign before a park's fee collecting point

Of the many parks in New South Wales, only 45 parks collect fees. A full list of which parks do so can be found on the NSW Parks website.

There are also NSW Parks passes, which provide unlimited access to certain parks for a year, or two if you choose to get a 24 month pass. The passes also provides faster entry and is valid for 12 months (or 24 if you purchase a two year pass) from date of purchase. The fees per vehicle (as at 2021) as follows:

  • All Parks Pass – includes all parks in New South Wales, including Kosciuszko National Park ($195 for one year, $335 for two years)
  • Multi Park Pass – includes all parks in New South Wales, excluding Kosciuszko National Park ($65 for one year, $115 for two years)
  • Country Parks Pass – includes all parks in Country New South Wales, excluding Kosciuszko National Park ($45 for one year, $75 for two years)

There is also a fourth pass; the Single Park Pass, worth $22 for one year and $40 for two, main for for if you're wanting to visit the same park again and again. This is not valid in Kosciuszko National Park.

National parks[edit]

Map of New South Wales national parks

Sydney and surrounds[edit]

  • 1 Berowra Valley National Park – a national park just next to very-crowded-full-of-traffic Hornsby, with a drastic change, which takes a while to realise whether you're in Sydney or not. The answer to that is, yes. You are still in Sydney.
  • 1 Blue Mountains National ParkWV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site home to the Three Sisters, the most visited indigenous site in Australia, which also holds a deeper story behind it.
  • 2 Bouddi National Park – A small but yet scenic national park showcasing some of the best beaches the Central Coast has to offer, as well as the high amount of greenery here as well, right next to crowded Woy Woy.
  • 3 Brisbane Water National Park Brisbane Water National Park on Wikipedia – has pleasant and interesting walks that can vary from mild to rugged with varying environments
  • 4 Cattai National Park – while not particularly a large nor famous national park, it has stunning views of the Hawkesbury River with lookouts, and like every other national park; walking trails.
  • 5 Dharawal National Park – a national park on the border of Sydney, the Illawarra and the Southern Highlands, with stunning waterfalls and rockpools
  • 6 Dharug National Park – a park with nice and creative rock formations which also are home to a lot of Mangroves. Unusually though, parts of the park were actually disputed between the Dharug and Darkinjung countries before the British had arrived.
  • 2 Gardens of Stone National ParkWV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site with some stunning picturesque lookouts and hiking trails.
  • 7 Garigal National Park – popular with bushwalkers and mountain bike riders, there are over 35 trails in the park covering 120 km. 100% of the park is in Metropolitan Sydney and there have been over 100 Aboriginal sites recorded, including shelters, cave art, rock engravings, middens, grinding grooves and a possible stone arrangement.
  • 8 Georges River National Park – national park which has recreational activities such as hiking, picnicking, barbecues, boating, fishing, and water/jet skiing, segmented into 15 sectors along the riverbanks of the Georges River.
  • 9 Heathcote National Park – deeply dissected Hawkesbury sandstone plateau which formed about 200 million years ago, Heathcote National Park is home to a large amount of Aboriginal rock engravings, a lot more than some other neighbouring parks in Sydney.
  • 10 Kamay Botany Bay National Park – home of Captain Cook's landing spot as well as Bare Island Fort, the location of where Mission Impossible 2 was part filmed. Moreover, Kamay Botany Bay National Park is home to the French town of La Perouse, where French explorer Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse came. Much of his items have been recovered and are at the La Perouse museum at this park.
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
  • 3 Kanangra-Boyd National ParkWV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site adjacent to Jenolan Caves, with expansive mountain gorges, magnificent lookouts and a series of wild and scenic rivers give a special edge to Kanagra-Boyd's wilderness.
    Shark Island, Sydney Harbour National Park
  • 11 Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park – A big large national park right inside Sydney rich in Aboriginal culture, with one side alongside tributaries of the Hawkesbury river, and the other being beside the Hawkesbury, along with some WWII fortifications.
  • 12 Lane Cove National Park – a big national park right in the middle of the Macquarie Park/Ryde region surrounded by buildings on all four corners, but with a big blob of greenery and a river in the park, with walking trails and picnic spots.
  • 13 Malabar Headland National Park – The smallest national park in New South Wales at only 1.77km², but yet with very scenic with nice cliffs and a popular whale watching spot during the months of May to November.
  • 14 Marramarra National Park – offers bushwalkers a wide range of environments, from the mangrove communities along Marramarra Creek to the drier, sclerophyll scrub along the ridges.
  • 4 Nattai National ParkWV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site which mostly offers bushwalking, but also the views from this UNESCO world heritage park is quite unimaginable, particularly from Wollondilly lookout.
  • 15 Popran National Park Popran National Park on Wikipedia – takes its name from Popran Creek, mainly to protect the Popran Creek area but is home to a ton of mangroves
  • 16 Royal National Park – oldest national park in the southern hemisphere and the second oldest in the entire world just after Yellowstone
  • 17 Scheyville National Park Scheyville National Park on Wikipedia – in the northwestern suburbs of Sydney, it is mostly famous for the Longneck Lagoon, which before European settlers, this was used by the people of Dharug Country for food supplies.
  • 18 Sydney Harbour National Park – a national park rich in Aboriginal, military, WWII and colonial history, where history meets the harbour. It is also the only national park where the harbour bridge can be seen, as well as the opera house, but there's parts of this park where you could be lost in nature
    Mt. Yengo seen from Yengo National Park
  • 5 Thirlmere Lakes National ParkWV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site mostly known for its lakes which are just plain natural beauty
  • 19 Werakata National Park – in the 1800s when European settlers came, most of this park was destroyed. Forestry commenced and sawmills were established in and near area the area of the park (most of the timber going to local mines for pit props). The park now remains as a measure to protect what is left.
  • 6 Wollemi National ParkWV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site sadly home to the largest continuous bushfire affected area in the 2019-20 bushfire season, it is home to some of the world's oldest trees, which have still been up there since the Jurassic period.
  • 20 Wyrrabalong National Park – a national park mostly surrounded by water except for a small section on the north where it's connected to the mainland from Lake Tuggerah and the Tasman Sea, it is home to some woodland and water birds that are hard to find in other areas.
  • 7 Yengo National ParkWV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site rich in Aboriginal culture, flora and fauna, natural beauty and wildlife, with some sacred sites visitors can visit.

Central NSW[edit]

  • 1 Abercrombie River National Park Abercrombie River National Park on Wikipedia – protects an important area of remnant bushland within the south-western Central Tablelands, and contains a diversity of vegetation communities characteristic of montane and tableland species as well as of the western slopes of the state.

A view from Coolah Tops National Park
  • 2 Belford National Park

Hunter and Mid-North Coast[edit]

Northern Rivers[edit]

Northern Tablelands[edit]

Outback NSW[edit]

See also: National parks in Outback NSW
Aboriginal rock art in Gundabooka National Park
  • 1 Culgoa National Park Culgoa National Park on Wikipedia – impressive river red gums and expansive floodplains, is the landscape that is thought to be representative of the Australian outback. Additionally, the park's name comes from the river that flows through this park. Also home to two iconic mammals of the outback, the common brushtail possum and Little pied bat
  • 2 Gundabooka National Park Gundabooka National Park on Wikipedia – has some petroglyph rock art and ancestral ceremonial grounds are located inside the park which also has many exotic plants, right next to the Darling River
  • 3 Kinchega National Park – a quiet lesser known national park along the Darling River that allows visitors to understand the historical significance and the importance of both Outback life in the 19th century, and birdlife in the Outback. Also has some impressive river red gums and floodplains, but for a comparison on whether Culgoa or Kinchega differs on opinion, but both are unique in their own right.
  • 4 Mallee Cliffs National Park Mallee Cliffs National Park on Wikipedia – Mallee Cliffs National Park preserves the original clay red plains of south west New South Wales, protecting extensive areas of flat to undulating sandy red plains and linear sand dunes formed during arid periods from 350,000-500,000 years ago. Unusually though, this is one of the few places where the Malleefowl can be found, which is only found in arid areas only where the mallee grows. However, do note that this park is restricted in access, and can only be used for educational purposes.
The Walls of China in Lake Mungo, Mungo National Park, just a natural beauty. Oh, and if you're wondering where's the lake, most of it dries up during dry season similar to how Lake Eyre works.
  • 19 Mungo National Park – UNESCO world heritage park with the world's oldest human bodies dating back to about 42,000 years ago, with part of the reason why it's still well preserved today is because of the sheer isolation, getting here without a 4WD is almost impossible. Mungo N.P. is also popular for the Walls of China as well, mostly for how its shaped.
  • 5 Mutawintji National Park Mutawintji National Park on Wikipedia
  • 6 Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park – this vast large outback national park is often forgotten a lot, and is rarely talked about and is one of the least visited parks in the state.
  • 7 Paroo-Darling National Park Paroo-Darling National Park on Wikipedia
  • 8 Sturt National Park – the northwestern most park in New South Wales, it is also home to Cameron Corner, a marker encompassing three states. But apart from that, this park also gives a real feel for how life was like, living in the Outback in the 19th and early 20th century. It's also one of the few places in New South Wales where the dingo fence can be seen
  • 9 Toorale National Park Toorale National Park on Wikipedia
  • 10 Willandra National Park Willandra National Park on Wikipedia – Aboriginal occupation in the park dates back to more than 15,000 years ago, it is mostly known for its habitat for native species like the emu, the threatened Plains-wanderer, red and grey kangaroos, echidnas and a variety of reptiles, such as Gould's Sand Goanna and the Mulga Brown Snake.
  • 11 Yanga National Park Yanga National Park on Wikipedia – A rather new national park, having only formed in 2007, both well significant to both the indigenous people, as well as a significant site to local birdlife

South Coast, The Highlands and Snowy Mountains[edit]

The Pinnacles in Ben Boyd National Park
  • 1 Bangadilly National Park Bangadilly National Park on Wikipedia
  • 2 Ben Boyd National Park – southern most national park in New South Wales, Ben Boyd National Park is home to all sorts of things, but most notably its coastline and inlets.

Other parks[edit]

Cave Beach, Booderee National Park
  • 1 Booderee National Park Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens on Wikipedia – While treated like in NSW, zero percent of this park is in NSW, but actually in the federal territory of Jervis Bay Territory, and was formerly part of the ACT. NSW Parks passes aren't valid in Jervis Bay Territory. The area was planned as a grand "Pacific City" and the port of the nation's capital, but this vision was never realised, but instead, it is rather just a national park with only a population of 393 (2020), with 100% of the territory being Booderee National Park. There is also an indigenous village that interests travellers called "Wreck Bay Village", which is some fishermans secret fishing spot.
  • 2 Namadgi National Park Namadgi National Park on Wikipedia – The only national park in the ACT, apart from Booderee (although JBT isn't part of the ACT anymore), home to many unique bird species.

Historical sites[edit]

Shamrock Inn at Hartley Historic Site
  • 1 Cadmans Cottage Historic Site Cadmans Cottage on Wikipedia
  • 2 Clybucca Historic Site
  • 3 Davidson Whaling Station Historic Site Davidson Whaling Station on Wikipedia
  • 4 Hartley Historic Site Hartley historic site on Wikipedia
  • 5 Hill End Historic Site Hill End Historic Site on Wikipedia
  • 6 Innes Ruins Historic Site Lake Innes House Ruins on Wikipedia
  • 7 Koonadan Historic Site Koonadan Historic Site on Wikipedia
  • 8 Maroota Historic Site
  • 9 Maynggu Ganai Historic Site
  • 10 Mount Grenfell Historic Site
  • 11 Mutawintji Historic Site
  • 12 Roto House Historic Site
  • 13 South Solitary Island Historic Site
  • 14 Tweed Heads Historic Site
  • 15 Wisemans Ferry Historic Site
  • 16 Yuranigh's Aboriginal Grave Historic Site

Karst conservation reserves[edit]

See also[edit]

This travel topic about New South Wales national parks is a usable article. It touches on all the major areas of the topic. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.