National Parks in and Around Sydney
One of the perks of living in Sydney is that the city is surrounded by various National Parks. It’s very easy to escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney and discover the natural beauty that these parks have to offer.
From picnic sites, reserves and campgrounds, to walking tracks, waterfalls and lookout points, you can find all this and so much more in our national parks surrounding the city.
There are currently more than 200 registered National Parks in Sydney and New South Wales, some very small and others the size of a country. Each park has its own unique characteristics so that you’ll never run out of new things to see and experience.
Below is a summary of seven of the largest and most popular National Parks in the Greater Sydney area, complete with various guides for walking tracks, lookout points and day tours.
1. SYDNEY HARBOUR NATIONAL PARK
One of the most beautiful National Parks in the Greater Sydney area is located in the city’s backyard: the famous Sydney Harbour.
Many Sydney-siders as well as tourists visiting Australia’s most beautiful city don’t always realise that the magnificent and unique Sydney Harbour, including its islands, bays and foreshore, is in fact officially a National Park.
Managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Sydney Harbour National Park was established in 1975 to protect islands, landforms and foreshore areas that exist in the Sydney Harbour, primarily east of the Harbour Bridge.
Home to a great variety of bushwalking tracks, picnic areas, secluded beaches, lookout points and historic sites, Sydney Harbour National Park truly has something for everyone. But hiking is by far the best way to discover the natural beauty of the park.
We have selected 6 awesome walking tracks in Sydney Harbour National Park that you should try. Some of these walks are quite challenging, while others are much easier and more relaxing.
2. ROYAL NATIONAL PARK
Established in 1879, the Royal National Park is the world’s second oldest and Australia’s oldest national park. Originally named National Park, it was officially renamed in 1955 after Queen Elizabeth II passed through on her way to Wollongong during her famous 1954 Australia tour.
From coastal heath, lookout points and waterfalls to bushland, beaches and natural swimming pools, this 15,000 hectares large park has something for everyone. One of the best things about the Royal National Park is that it is very close to the city and easily accessible, by car as well as by public transport.
It’s no surprise that the Royal National Park has lots of different walking tracks on offer. To make choosing a suitable walk easier, we have compiled a list of the 8 best walking tracks in the Royal National Park.
3. KU-RING-GAI CHASE NATIONAL PARK
Established in 1894, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is Australia’s second oldest national park, 15 years younger than the Royal National Park. Located only 25km north of the Sydney CBD, Ku-ring-gai Chase is a popular weekend recreation destination for Sydney residents as well as for tourists.
Measuring a generous 15,000 hectares, the park is characterised by thriving rainforest, Aboriginal sites, rocky cliffs, lookout points, mangroves, picnic areas, secluded beaches, mountain biking trails and various walking tracks.
With so many exciting bushwalking tracks available throughout the park, hiking is probably the best way to explore this beautiful part of Sydney. Check out our list of 6 great walking tracks in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
4. BOUDDI NATIONAL PARK
The 15 km2 large Bouddi National Park is home to some very pretty and unique bush and coastal walks. Lots of these walking tracks include some of the most beautiful secluded beaches you can find in New South Wales.
Established in 1967 as a National Park, Bouddi was named after the local Aboriginal name of the area. There are still lots of Aboriginal sites to be found in the park, such as middens, engravings and rock shelters.
Located on the southern point of the New South Wales Central Coast near Gosford and Woy Woy, Bouddi National Park is an excellent weekend getaway destination, with lots of opportunities for not only hiking but also swimming, fishing, camping and cycling.
Bouddi National Park has a very distinct landscape, with thriving bushland, sandstone cliffs, beautiful coastal paths and isolated beaches. What’s great is that some of these beaches can only be reached via walking tracks.
We have compiled a list of 8 great walking tracks in Bouddi National Park, ranging from an easy 1.5 km to a more challenging 8 km in length.
5. MORTON NATIONAL PARK
Not as well-known as the Royal National Park or the Blue Mountains, Morton National Park in the Southern Highlands deserves a lot more attention. Remote wilderness, scenic waterfalls, steep gorges, beautiful walking tracks and panoramic lookout points, Morton National Park has something for everyone.
Located around 170km south of Sydney, Morton National Park is easily accessible from Wollongong, Nowra, Canberra and Moss Vale. A popular destination for birdwatchers and photographers, the park is a great sanctuary for a great variety of wildlife.
Morton National Park is home to lots of exciting walking tracks, from short and easy trails, to longer overnight hikes. Check out our list of 8 of the best walking tracks in this national park.
6. LANE COVE NATIONAL PARK
Located only 20 minutes north-west of the Sydney CBD, Lane Cove National Park is a large pocket of scenic bushland surrounding the banks of the Lane Cove River which flows into Sydney Harbour.
Popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists, Sydney’s metropolitan Lane Cove National Park extends from Pennant Hills in the north to East Ryde in the south. The main section of the park sits between De Burghs Bridge on Ryde Road in Macquarie Park and Fullers Bridge in Chatswood West.
This central part is home to the Riverside Walking Track and the Lane Cove Valley Walk (part of the Great North Walk) that together from a moderately challenging yet pleasant 10km circuit trail. Several picnic areas, camping sites and cycle paths can also be found in this part of Lane Cove National Park.
The 10km riverside circuit walk in Lane Cove National Park consists of the family-friendly Riverside Walking Track along the west bank of the Lane Cove River and the slightly more challenging Lane Cove Valley Walk along the east bank.
The two tracks connect at the Lane Cove Weir in the east and at the De Burghs Bridge on the other side. The below notes describe the circuit trail starting at the Lane Cove Weir heading north.
7. BLUE MOUNTAINS
The Blue Mountains region is arguably the most popular tourist and weekend-getaway destination in New South Wales.
Just over an hour away from Sydney, this World Heritage listed area is home to a great variety of bushwalking tracks, waterfalls, deep valleys and canyons and numerous lookout points with breathtaking views.
The dense eucalyptus vegetation that you can find everywhere in the Blue Mountains was one of the reasons why this unique area was officially listed as a World Heritage site in 2000 by UNESCO.
The Blue Mountains is a true paradise for bushwalkers with hundreds of exciting walking tracks to choose from. Some of these hikes have been around for more than a century while others have only been opened to the public in recent years.
Here are 8 of the best walking tracks in the Blue Mountains. Some of them are short and easy trails, others are much harder tracks that require some level of preparation.
The Blue Mountains has no shortage of impressive lookout points that offer breathtaking views of valleys, mountains, waterfalls and canyons. Some of these lookouts are easy to get to, while others are far away from civilization.
Check out our top 10 lookouts in the Blue Mountains.
Wentworth Falls is one of the most popular bushwalking destinations in the Blue Mountains region. The name Wentworth Falls refers to the famous 3-tiered, 187m high waterfall, but it is also the name of the town where the waterfall is located.
There are lots of different walking tracks to choose from in the Wentworth Falls area, some very short and others quite long and challenging. In addition to walks, there are also several lookout points spread out across Wentworth Falls that offer spectacular views.
Deciding where to go and which walking track to conquer in Wentworth Falls can be quite a challenge in itself. Our hiking guide provides more clarity around the walks and lookouts in and around Wentworth Falls to help you plan your day out in the Blue Mountains.
Blue Mountains Tours
One way to experience the true beauty of the Blue Mountains is by booking a professional day tour from Sydney. A tour to the Blue Mountains is an excellent way to see all the highlights in comfort and style. This is especially true if you’ve never been there before and you don’t have your own transport.
We have selected 6 of the best Blue Mountains tours departing from Sydney. This selection is based on value for money, destinations along the way, duration, transport, inclusions and general quality and reputation of the tour operator.