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National parks • Marine parks • Indigenous Protected Areas
There are more than 225 national parks in New South Wales (NSW), every park containing a hidden gem and each with its own unique beauty. This is about 4 times as many national parks and reserves as in the United Stares. NSW has the second most national parks in Australia as well, just after Queensland. One third of all national parks in Australia are in NSW.
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. Many parks are home to something unique, with a hidden beauty. There is a lot of geographic variety between the places: some parks might be considered a plain beauty by some, and "boring" by others.
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 they are historically significant to the state.
There are also four "Karst Reserves" as well, designed to protect the karst landscape. These are not national parks, but are managed by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.
On top of all this, there are some "state conservation reserves" as well, and they may be more known or even more visited than some of their national cousins. Cape Byron State Conservation Area, for example, is a highlight for anyone coming to Byron Bay, and 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 indicate the region.
It's worth noting that not all parks in the state are accessible or have facilities. Some like Barakee, Belford or Cataract National Parks are only there for conservation, not recreation. However, these parks will not be promoted on the ground.
Fees and permits
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 many 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, mainly for if you're wanting to visit the same park again and again. It is not valid in Kosciuszko National Park.
Sydney and surrounds
- 1 Berowra Valley National Park – a national park next to very-crowded-full-of-traffic Hornsby. It 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 Park – 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, and a lot of greenery as well, right next to crowded Woy Woy
- 3 Brisbane Water National Park – it 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 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 disputed between the Dharug and Darkinjung countries before the British had arrived.
- 2 Gardens of Stone National Park – 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 – a 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 lot 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 filmed in part. 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. Many of his items have been recovered and are at the La Perouse museum at this park.
- 3 Kanangra-Boyd National Park – 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.
- 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 Park – 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 – 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 – the oldest national park in the southern hemisphere and the second oldest in the entire world just after Yellowstone
- 17 Scheyville National Park – 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
- 5 Thirlmere Lakes National Park – 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 Park – 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 Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site rich in Aboriginal culture, flora and fauna, natural beauty and wildlife, with some sacred sites visitors can visit
- 1 Abercrombie River National Park – protects an important area of remnant bushland within the southwestern 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.
- 2 Belford National Park
- 3 Cataract National Park
- 4 Cocoparra National Park
- 5 Conimbla National Park
- 6 Coolah Tops National Park – known for its wildlife, waterfalls and, not to forget, the stunning mountain ranges and lookouts seen here.
- 7 Garrawilla National Park
- 8 Goobang National Park – the few places where you can see both coastal and inland vegetation
- 9 Goulburn River National Park – a sanctuary for kangaroos, wombats, emus, goannas, platypus, and a wide variety of birds. It lies within the Mudgee-Wollar Important Bird Area, so identified by BirdLife International because of its importance for the endangered regent honeyeater.
- 10 Kalyarr National Park
- 11 Mount Kaputar National Park – mostly known for its iconic Sawn Rocks.
- 12 Murray Valley National Park
- 13 Nangar National Park
- 14 Oolambeyan National Park
- 15 Timbarra National Park
- 16 Turon National Park
- 17 Warrumbungle National Park – known for its breadknife shaped rock
- 18 Weddin Mountains National Park – despite the mountains being the main thing, it certainly is something that many find intriguing, and looking much nicer than the territory's Mount Conner.
Hunter and Mid-North Coast
- 1 Bago Bluff National Park – has shell fossils and a rich diversity of birdlife which include magpies, whistlers, kookaburras, among others.
- 2 Barakee National Park – another one of those parks with the usuals.
- 8 Barrington Tops National Park – most of Barrington Tops National Park is declared wilderness; large, natural areas of land that, together with their native plants and animal communities, remain essentially unchanged by modern human activity. Don't forget the rich diversity of flora and fauna here, with hiking trails. Also the southernmost of all Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
- 3 Bellinger River National Park – park by the Bellinger River with unspoiled forests and ecosystems, and one of the oldest in the world.
- 4 Ben Halls Gap National Park
- 5 Bindarri National Park
- 6 Biriwal Bulga National Park
- 7 Bongil Bongil National Park
- 8 Booti Booti National Park
- 9 Cascade National Park
- 10 Coorabakh National Park
- 11 Crowdy Bay National Park
- 12 Dooragan National Park
- 9 Dorrigo National Park – UNESCO world heritage site and is the most visited Gondwana Rainforest of Australia, and has a lot to offer if one is interested in rainforests. Not to forget, it is right within 2 km proximity of the waterfall capital of Australia; Dorrigo
- 13 Dunggir National Park
- 14 Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park
- 15 Hat Head National Park
- 16 Hunter Wetlands National Park – hidden gem in the northern suburbs of Newcastle, Hunter Wetlands National Park is a wildlife sanctuary, and one of the few parks suited for all kinds of ages.
- 17 Junuy Juluum National Park
- 18 Kumbatine National Park
- 19 Limeburners Creek National Park
- 20 Maria National Park
- 21 Middle Brother National Park
- 22 Mount Royal National Park
- 23 Myall Lakes National Park – mostly notable for fishing, camping, and kayaking, but that is not the only thing that Myall Lakes National Park is known for, but also for the sand dunes right nearby.
- 24 Nymboi-Binderay National Park
- 25 Saltwater National Park
- 26 Sea Acres National Park
- 27 Tapin Tops National Park
- 28 Tomaree National Park – while not like Stockton Beach, the sand dunes here are still huge, and has some sandy bush walks, and just one minute from Nelson Bay
- 29 Towarri National Park
- 30 Ulidarra National Park
- 31 Wallarah National Park
- 32 Wallingat National Park
- 33 Watagans National Park
- 10 Willi Willi National Park
- 34 Woko National Park
- 35 Yarriabini National Park
- 1 Arakwal National Park – a small beachside park off Byron Bay's eastern shore. It borders Cape Byron State Conservation Area, home to the easternmost point of mainland Australia (Norfolk Island contains the easternmost point of Australia)
- 11 Border Ranges National Park
- 2 Broadwater National Park
- 3 Bundjalung National Park
- 4 Bungawalbin National Park
- 5 Fortis Creek National Park
- 6 Goonengerry National Park
- 7 Koreelah National Park
- 12 Mallanganee National Park – this is perhaps one of the least visited parks of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia with only a lookout that's of interest to travellers.
- 8 Maryland National Park
- 13 Mebbin National Park – part of the Shield Volcano Group of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, and is home to numerous endangered species of birds. The park also forms the western edge of the Mount Warning volcano
- 9 Mooball National Park
- 10 Mount Clunie National Park
- 11 Mount Jerusalem National Park
- 12 Mount Nothofagus National Park
- 13 Mount Pikapene National Park
- 14 Nightcap National Park – another popular park that's part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia UNESCO World Heritage Site for its impressive waterfall
- 14 Ramornie National Park
- 15 Richmond Range National Park
- 16 Tooloom National Park
- 17 Toonumbar National Park
- 15 Wollumbin National Park (Mount Warning National Park)
- 18 Yabbra National Park
- 19 Yuraygir National Park
- 1 Bald Rock National Park – right next to the boerder with Queensland, this park has a very bald rock as the name says
- 2 Barool National Park
- 3 Basket Swamp National Park
- 4 Boonoo Boonoo National Park
- 5 Butterleaf National Park
- 6 Capoompeta National Park
- 7 Carrai National Park
- 8 Cataract National Park
- 9 Cathedral Rock National Park
- 10 Chaelundi National Park
- 11 Cottan-Bimbang National Park
- 12 Cunnawarra National Park
- 13 Gibraltar Range National Park
- 14 Guy Fawkes River National Park
- 15 Indwarra National Park
- 16 Kings Plains National Park
- 17 Kwiambal National Park
- 18 Mummel Gulf National Park
- 16 New England National Park – much known for its lush green Gondwana Rainforests and the breathtaking lookouts.
- 19 Nowendoc National Park
- 20 Nymboida National Park
- 17 Oxley Wild Rivers National Park – popular spot for camping that not to forget the huge, Wollomombi Falls.
- 21 Single National Park
- 22 Timbarra National Park
- 23 Warra National Park
- 24 Warrabah National Park
- 18 Washpool National Park
- 19 Werrikimbe National Park
- 1 Culgoa National Park – 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 – 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 Koonaburra National Park – protects an extensive area of sandplain
- 5 Mallee Cliffs National Park – 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.
- 20 Mungo National Park – UNESCO world heritage park with some of the world's oldest human bodies outside Africa 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.
- 6 Mutawintji National Park – filled with some gorges, canyons and a historic site in the centre
- 7 Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park – this large reasonably new outback national park is often forgotten a lot. The park protects one of the most incredible wildlife havens in the Outback
- 8 Paroo-Darling National Park
- 9 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
- 10 Toorale National Park – just a few kilometres northwest of Gundabooka NP, home to what was once the world's largest sheep station.
- 11 Willandra National Park – 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.
- 12 Yanga National Park – A rather new national park established in 2007. It is significant to the Indigenous Aboriginal people, and a significant birdlife site
South Coast, The Highlands and Snowy Mountains
- 1 Bangadilly National Park
- 2 Beowa 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.
- 3 Benambra National Park
- 4 Biamanga National Park
- 5 Bimberamala National Park
- 6 Bournda National Park
- 7 Brindabella National Park
- 8 Budawang National Park
- 9 Budderoo National Park – known for its rainforest, waterfalls, and is one of the most visited national parks on the south coast
- 10 Bugong National Park
- 11 Bungonia National Park
- 12 Clyde River National Park
- 13 Conjola National Park
- 14 Deua National Park
- 15 Eurobodalla National Park
- 16 Gourock National Park
- 17 Gulaga National Park
- 18 Jerrawangala National Park
- 19 Jervis Bay National Park
- 20 Kooraban National Park
- 21 Kosciuszko National Park – New South Wales's largest national park and home to the roof of mainland Australia. It's the only national park in NSW that gets a consistent level of snow, also home to one several ski resorts and villages.
- 22 Livingstone National Park
- 23 Mares Forest National Park
- 24 Macquarie Pass National Park – 90 km southwest from Sydney, although the name "Macquarie Pass" is often related to the pass on the Illawarra Highway (A48) for its windy bends, the road goes through this national park. Macquarie Pass National Park is home to a range of eucalyptus trees, and wildlife including unique birdlife and wallabies. There are hiking trails as well that allows visitors to experience this.
- 25 Meroo National Park
- 26 Mimosa Rocks National Park
- 27 Minjary National Park
- 28 Monga National Park
- 29 Morton National Park
- 30 Mount Imlay National Park
- 31 Murramarang National Park
- 32 Seven Mile Beach National Park
- 33 South East Forest National Park
- 34 Tallaganda National Park
- 35 Tarlo River National Park
- 36 Wadbilliga National Park
- 37 Woomargama National Park
- 38 Yanununbeyan National Park
- 1 Booderee National Park – While treated like in NSW, this park is not in NSW, but in the federal territory of Jervis Bay Territory. (It was once 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,. Instead, it is just a national park with a population of only 393 (2020). 100% of the territory is protected. There is also an indigenous village that interests travellers called "Wreck Bay Village", which is some fishermans' secret fishing spot.
- 2 Namadgi National Park – 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.
- 1 Cadmans Cottage Historic Site
- 2 Clybucca Historic Site
- 3 Davidson Whaling Station Historic Site
- 4Hartley Historic Site
- 5Hill End Historic Site
- 6 Innes Ruins Historic Site
- 7 Koonadan Historic Site
- 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
- 1 Abercrombie Karst Conservation Reserve
- 2 Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve
- 3 Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve
- 4 Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve