destination NSW

Nature and parks in Sydney


No trip to Sydney is complete without spending some time in the city’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s in central areas like Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens or further out in Centennial Parklands, there’s plenty of green space to go out and enjoy, even when winter comes knocking. There are bushwalks aplenty, and popular coastal walks take you by some of Sydney’s most spectacular views.

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Sydney's natural wonders and attractions

Camping in the Royal National Park with Royal Coast Walks. Image James Pipino

With its rich natural environment, Sydney has some of the country’s best hiking trails and most relaxing leafy parks.

One of the best ways to enjoy Sydney's stunning natural attractions is on a coastal trail such as the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. It’s not only a great year-round workout, you’ll also discover secret nooks for picnics, be able to grab a coffee at a beachfront cafe along the way, or simply sit down and take in the spectacular views.

Leafy Centennial Parklands is an idyllic spot for cycling, walking, rollerblading and horseriding with plenty of room to move – 360 hectares, in fact. The Royal Botanic Gardens in the heart of the city is peaceful and beautiful. Lie back under a shady tree and watch the world go by or enjoy the views over Sydney Harbour. More central still is Hyde Park, home to Sydney’s ANZAC Memorial.

Sydney Harbour is the gateway to a world of natural attractions. Navigate your way around the inner-harbour islands by ferry, or hire a kayak and paddle your way to a secluded harbour beach for some peace and quiet.

A short drive from the city reveals even more beauty. The world’s second-oldest national park, the Royal National Park, lies to the south of the city, while the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is a scenic 90-minute drive west of the city. Both are popular tourist attractions and fantastic destinations for a range of outdoor activities ranging from bushwalks and hiking to camping, mountain biking, abseiling and canyoning. You’ll discover wetlands, eucalypt woodlands, rugged bushland, lush rainforests and sandstone gorges. With stunning photo opportunities at every turn, you’ll come away feeling refreshed and invigorated.

aerial view of Bradley's Head, part of Sydney Harbour National Park, looking towards the city. Image Hamilton Lund

National parks around Sydney

It's rare for busy global cities to be surrounded by nature. However Sydney has it all with its unique Sydney Harbour National Park. Lane Cove National Park and Ku-ring-gai National Park lie to the north of the city, Blue Mountains National Park to the west and Royal National Park to the south.

Explore the relics on historic Cockatoo Island. Image Hamilton Lund; Destination NSW

Sydney Harbour islands

Sydney Harbour has several small islands that are accessible by water taxi, by ferry or on a guided tour. Learn about Australia’s colonial heritage and admire the sublime views from Fort Denison, Shark, Clark, Rodd, Goat and Cockatoo Island.

Walkway through the Gunngai Aboriginal site at Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. Image Andrew Gregory

Sydney walks

Take to Sydney by foot and you'll be rewarded with beautiful scenery at every turn of the track. Popular walks include the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, the harbourside walk along the Manly to Spit Bridge Scenic Walkway or any number of bushland and river trails in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.