Greater Metropolitan Area
Sydney Harbour National Park features secluded
beaches, forts and spectacular views. Guided tours to historic
buildings are offered, the most popular trails for walkers are
the 5 Bluff’ track to Watson’s Bay, the ‘Hermitage
Foreshore’ track to Vaucluse and the ‘Manly’
scenic walkway, the ‘Fairfax’ walk on North Head (which
is suitable for wheelchair access).
The Royal National Park is the
oldest park in Australia and the 2nd oldest in the world. Wattamolla
and Garie are popular swimming spots while Garie, Era and Burning
Palms are finest for surfing.
The park offers a variety of walking tracks along its 30 kilometre
(19 mile) procession of cliffs, headlands, forests and beaches.
Camping is possible at Bonnie Vale, but for bush camping, a permit
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (40 minutes north of
Sydney) is noted for its Aboriginal rock carvings (which can be
seen on the ‘Aboriginal Heritage Walk’) and a broad
range of walking tracks (1 of which, the ‘Discovery’
track, has wheelchair access). Stunning water views and good sailing
facilities are available at West Head, picnic areas can be found
throughout the park and it also contains a koala sanctuary.
The Blue Mountains National Park (a World Heritage
listed park), just 90 minutes drive west of Sydney, offers waterfalls
and panoramic views featuring landmarks such as the ’Three
Sisters’. There are several bush walks on offer, the ’Fairfax
Heritage Walk’ at Blackheath is a wheelchair friendly track
to Govetts Leap lookout.
The Myall Lakes National Park near Port Stephens is the
biggest coastal lake system in the State and a significant habitat
for many species of waterbirds.
Visitors are offered a range of activities, including a rainforest
walk at Mungo Brush, campsites, caravans and cabins along the
lake shores and beaches, and houseboat accommodation facilities.
The mountainous Barrington Tops National Park
in the Hunter wine-making region is crossed by 6 rivers and is
known for its striking altitude variations, allowing visitors
to experience snow capped mountains and subtropical rainforests
in a day’s walk.
The best views and walking trails are at Carey’s Peak, Gloucester
Tops and Williams River. The ‘Riverside’ walk is appropriate
for wheelchairs. Mount Warning National Park, 12 kilometres (7
miles) from Murwillumbah, offers a fantastic trek through rainforest
communities, culminating in a challenging rock scramble, to reach
the 1100 metre (3608 feet) summit of the ancient volcano. Views
from the top take in the vastness of the bowl shaped Tweed Valley.
Dorrigo National Park and Border Ranges
National Park, both in tropical New South Wales, contain
large stretches of rainforest, with educational tours, walking
tracks, picnicking and camping all available. The rainforest at
Border Ranges National Park grows on the rim of an extinct volcano.
Rock climbing and mountain walks attract visitors to Warrumbungle
National Park which is near Coonabarabran, whose ‘Grand
High Tops’ track through the remnants of ancient volcanoes
ranks high among Australia’s many spectacular walks. The
park is well known for its bizarre rock outcrops.
The Mutawintji National Park is located 130 kilometres
(82 miles) northeast of the old mining town of Broken Hill, and
offers the classic Outback experience.
Homestead Creek is the chief camping base (booking required) in
this park on the back of an ancient mountain range, with amazing
gorges and a variety of native animals. Tours to the Mutawintji
Historic Site, which contains an important collection of Aboriginal
art engraved on a hillside, are also possible.
The nearby Kinchega National Park is equally
rich in Aboriginal sites and contains large areas of forest backwaters
and lakes, camping and accommodation in former sheep shearers’
quarters are possible (booking is required).
South of Sydney by 450 kilometres (281 miles), the Kosciuszko
National Park and Snowy Mountains National Park
contain some of Australia’s highest mountains, including
Mount Kosciuszko (the highest) as well as the great Snowy, Murray
and Murrumbidgee rivers.
Winter sports are popular from June to September while, in the
summer, nature fanatics can enjoy rare alpine flora. The main
attractions of Morton National Park are its waterfalls –
1 at Fitzroy Falls, the other at Bundanoon. Camping is possible