National Parks in NSW
New South Wales has more than 780 national parks and reserves, which protect everything from rainforests and rugged bush to alpine woodland and Outback deserts. Here is a taste of what you can expect from a handful of others:
- Botany Bay National Park straddles two headlands at the entrance to Botany Bay in Sydney. It commemorates the site of first contact between the crew of James Cook's Endeavour and the Aboriginal people of Australia in 1770. Here you'll find remnants of the heathland vegetation that Joseph Banks, Cook's botanist, studied in 1770. One of Australia's most iconic plants, the banksia, was named after him. Enjoy the Cape Baily Coast Walk, with its windswept heaths and spectacular coastal views.
- North of the Hunter Valley is Barrington Tops National Park, a huge area of World Heritage-listed subtropical rainforest, chock full of staghorns, vines, and birds, as well as an area of subalpine woodland on the high plateau. The woodland is regularly snowbound in winter. There are a series of well-defined walking tracks.
- Just north of Port Stephens is Myall Lakes National Park, one of the state's largest coastal lake systems -- a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance. As well as a myriad of bird species, there are plenty of beaches and sand dunes.
- If you want space and solitude, rolling red-sand dunes, wide open blue skies, giant eagles, kangaroos, and emus, then the remote, arid Sturt National Park is for you. In the far western corner of New South Wales, it is a land of rocky tabletop hills, saltbush, remnant dry woodland, and occasional creeks lined with river red gums.
- Lovers of true wilderness will be happy that Wollemi National Park exists. Though it starts just west of the popular wine district of the Hunter Valley, this largest wilderness area in NSW is no tame forest. In 1994, a bushwalker stumbled across what became known as the Wollemi Pine. It caused a worldwide sensation -- it was supposed to have become extinct 200 million years earlier! There are also remarkable Aboriginal cave paintings hidden within this maze of canyons and cliffs. The Glow Worm Tunnel, another favorite attraction, is part of the old railway that serviced Wollemi; access is from Clarence on the Bells Line of Road, heading toward the Blue Mountains. Dunns Swamp also has easy walks.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.