Australia’s wilderness spaces are so wonderfully varied that you can never truly run out of places to explore and new pockets of natural beauty to discover.
New South Wales, in particular, has some of the most diverse natural scenery ranging from dry desert expanses to alpine regions covered in snow. We couldn’t possibly choose a favourite, but these five national parks in NSW are well worth a visit.
The Blue Mountains National Park
Spanning more than 260,000 hectares across the Carpetree Valley and the Great Dividing Range, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park is a worthy inclusion in our list of favourites. From the expansive networks of walking trails and thrilling water activities to the incredible cave drawing and local history waiting to be learned at Scenic World, there is something for everyone. Explore one of the oldest cave systems in the world at Jenolan Caves and take a ride on the epic skyway with its glass floor, gliding past the three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and the amazing Jamerson valley stretching deep into the horizon.
Find out more about what’s on offer in the Blue Mountains here.
Kosciuszko National Park
Feast your eyes on another one of our favourite national parks in NSW. Kosciuszko is home to the tallest mountain in Australia and a variety ski resorts including Charlotte pass, Thredbo and Perisher Valley. If skiing isn’t your thing or if you’re keen to visit during the warmer months, once the snow melts, you’ll discover plenty of walking and mountain biking trails that snake around the national park. Feeling fit? Take on the challenging hike to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko – but be sure to check the weather before you set off! If you prefer to explore on two wheels, try the Grey Mare Trail, Round Mountain Trail, Valentine Trail and Hellhole Creek Trail.
Lord Howe Island National Park
Pretty much untouched by civilisation, this national park lies in the middle of the Tasman Sea. Lord Howe Island is absolutely brimming with beauty, and due to its isolation and geographical location, has flora and fauna not found anywhere else on earth. Jump in the water and discover the coral reefs surrounding the island, teeming with rare and thriving sea life, or stay above the surface and spot dolphins from the shore. In many ways, Lord Howe Island provides a blueprint of what ecotourism should look like in Australia.
Mungo National Park
Explore one of the most fascinating expanses of land on the continent at Mungo National Park. From the aptly named Great Walls of China to the the enthralling tale of the Mungo lady found in 1968, this national park in NSW will certainly leave an impression on you. As the story goes, Mungo lady and Mungo Man were found to be some of the oldest bones in human history outside of Africa. During your visit, you can take a trip with an Indigenous guide around this ancient landscape and learn about its rich history.
Barrington Tops National Park
Barrington Tops is a quaint national park located about an hour north of Newcastle. This national park has some amazing waterfalls, lookouts and walking trails to discover. Adventure seekers can partake in a range of white-water rafting and kayaking, horse-riding, mountain biking, trail biking, motocross and 4WD. The remoteness and inaccessibility of a large part of the park have allowed some of the more sensitive animals to remain undisturbed. In winter, the mountain tops can become covered in snow so it’s best to check the weather before planning your trip.
Looking for more outdoor adventures in NSW?
Six refreshing destinations to enjoy a NSW hike
4WD trails in NSW: Five tracks for the adventurous