The state of NSW is jam packed with national parks, home to a variety of wildlife and native flora. Here are just a handful of the national parks that you should move to the top of your bucket list.
Mungo National Park
One of the oldest known spots on earth, Mungo National Park is a very special place. Located in south western NSW, the park is where scientists have discovered artefacts of ancient Indigenous Australian culture dating back more than 50,000 years across the expanses of the last ice age. The drive into the national park is a bit bumpy but it’s definitely worth it. You can also camp in the park, providing the campground and roads are open. Just make sure you check whether or not the roads are open before you visit to avoid disappointment. It doesn’t take much rain to close the roads in the outback!
Dorrigo National Park
Lush and green, Dorrigo National Park is nestled between Coffs Harbour and Armidale in the state’s mid-north. The park includes the famous Skywalk and a comfortable, paved loop track that winds through the rainforest, under waterfalls and over bridges. Entry is a gold coin donation and parking is free. Remember to pack water and snacks to enjoy at one of the scenic stops along the way.
Bouddi National Park
Located on the Central Coast, Bouddi National Park combines the beauty of the bush with the pristine waters of the coast. With walking tracks and birdlife to keep even the most inexperienced birdwatcher entertained. The 8km Bouddi coastal walk runs from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach and provides a scenic route to exercise along the coast.
Blue Mountains National Park
The expansive Blue Mountains National Park is located west of Sydney and is accessible via car, train and bus. Part of the Great Dividing Range, the park includes countless bushwalks, trails and scenic lookouts, including the famous Echo Point lookout near Katoomba, complete with panoramic views of Jamison Valley and the Three Sisters. Walking trails through the Blue Mountains National Park wander through bushland, behind waterfalls and to scenic lookouts.
Kosciuszko National Park
Home to Australia’s tallest mountain, Kosciuszko National Park is a favourite in both the warm and cooler weather. During winter, the slopes of Mount Kosciuszko are blanketed in snow and visited by snowboarders, skiers and avid snowmen-builders. During the dryer months, cyclists can catch the chairlift to the top and cycle down, or if you’re adventurous, you can always walk to the summit of the mountain. The bushland surrounding the mountain offers scenic walking tracks and views of the mountain ranges.
Ben Boyd National Park
If whale watching is more your thing, Ben Boyd National Park is for you. Spanning 47km of the states’ southern rocky coastline and sheltered inlets, it’s the perfect spot for whale watching. Visit the Pambula-Haycock area in the northern section of the park, located between Merimbula and Eden, to explore sparkling rivers, fascinating Aboriginal shell middens and secluded beaches. Green Cape area in the southern section of the park, located south of Eden is the gateway to the Light to Light walk, camping, lighthouse accommodation and superb whale watching.
Kinchega National Park
Located south of Broken Hill, in the heart of Outback NSW, Kinchega National Park combines local wool history with native bush. The self-drive loop tracks make it easy to explore the park and make the most of your time here. You can camp inside the park to truly immerse yourself in the outback, but you need to book this in advance and pay at entry, along with your $8 park entry fee. Remember to have the exact change with you because there’s an honesty box system.
Nightcap National Park
Located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, the park is home to World Heritage-listed rainforest, campgrounds, picnic areas, walks and stunning views of waterfalls, including the picturesque Minyon Falls Lookout. Just be sure to plan your visit ahead of time as storms can close roads in the region and make the park inaccessible.
Arakwal National Park
Found in Cape Byron, Arakwal is home to the most easterly point of mainland Australia. Once you’ve taken a photo at the infamous sign, move on to the secluded beach retreat, offering birdwatching, whale watching, swimming, fishing, and picnicking. Just keep in mind that the waves here are great for surfing, but are not always suitable for swimming.
Hat Head National Park
Located on the mid-north coast of NSW, this popular summer destination is popular for a reason. Whether you’re camping for the weekend or you’re visiting for the day, Hat Head is scenic, beautiful and fun. If the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters aren’t your thing, you can always venture into the bush.
Don’t forget that dogs and domestic animals are not allowed in any NSW national parks, so you’ll have to leave the furry members of the family at home. If you’re looking for an adventure they can join you on, you’ll have to stick to state forests.
Where’s your favourite national park in NSW? Let me know in the comments below!