National Parks in Sydney

Highlights

Discover beautiful national parks in Sydney, from Australia’s oldest to the splendid Sydney Harbour National Park. The Royal National Park is among the oldest national parks in the world and is great for bushwalking. Explore a World Heritage convict-built road in a wilderness near Wisemans Ferry.

  • South Head Heritage Trail; Image David Finnegan
  • The Coast track, image Andy Richards

Explore beautiful national parks

On the edges of Sydney and right in the heart are spectacular national parks. Enjoy bushwalking and camping, island picnics and magnificent views, Aboriginal rock art and colonial heritage, and see kangaroos, wallabies and colourful birds. Australia’s oldest national park is in Sydney’s south.

In the Royal National Park explore rainforest, beautiful beaches and indigenous rock engravings. You can rent kayaks and paddle on tranquil waterways. The pretty village of Bundeena is a popular gateway to the park. Travel from the city centre by train to Cronulla and board a ferry for Bundeena.

In Sydney Harbour National Park enjoy island picnics, magnificent views of iconic attractions, history and heritage, and delightful foreshore walks in enchanting forests. Take a Captain Cook Cruises’ ferry from Circular Quay for a picnic on Shark Island and magnificent views of the city skyline and harbour.

Basin campground, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Australia’s second-oldest national park is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, in Sydney’s north, and is popular for bushwalking, camping and kayaking and contains significant indigenous rock art. The Red Hands Cave walking track will take you through red gums to a cave with ancient ochre hand-prints.

A World Heritage-listed part of Dharug National Park is the convict-built Old Great North Road, near Wisemans Ferry in the Hawkesbury. Closer to the city centre is Lane Cove National Park, a charming pocket of bushland with picnic tables, barbecues, a heritage trail and small rowboats for rental.

There are walking, camping, kayaking and indigenous cultural tours in national parks. The Adventure Project, Barefoot Downunder and Sydney Coast Walks offer experiences in several parks. For tours in Kur-ring-gai, join Go Beyond Tours, Sydney Outback or EcoTreasures for memorable adventures.

Swimming safety information

Swimming safety information

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options including beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes at the bottom of waterfalls. However to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, swimmers should follow this general advice:

Look for patrolled beaches (this is where lifesavers are on duty; you will see red and yellow flags that indicate this). You should always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest place to swim.

Never swim alone at night, or under the influence of alcohol, or directly after a meal.

Always check water depth, as rocks or trees could be submerged, and never run and dive into the water from a beach, riverbank or other surface.

Check for signs regarding advice on water conditions at your chosen swimming spot and at any natural swimming hole. Always proceed with caution as surfaces could be slippery and water conditions may not be immediately apparent; particularly if the area has recently experienced heavy rain or flooding.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. 

  1. Bundeena Kayaks

    Bundeena Kayaks is based on the beachfront in Bundeena in southern Sydney and offers a range of kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and hiking adventures in and around the Royal National Park. Kayaks and paddle...

  2. Go Beyond Tours

    Go Beyond Tours is an exciting and comprehensive Northern Beaches bus tour, from central business district locations, travelling all the way to Palm Beach and Ku-ring-gai National Park, plus all the best beaches in...

  3. Kamay Botany Bay National Park

    Kamay Botany Bay National Park is located at Kurnell and La Perouse in Sydney. Explore the historic Captain Cook's landing place on a school excursion, to learn about the rich Aboriginal history and cultural...

  4. Lane Cove National Park

    Lane Cove National Park is a beautiful pocket of bushland that sits on either side of the peaceful Lane Cove River. It’s in easy reach for Sydneysiders, extending from East Ryde to Pennant Hills and West Chatswood...

  5. Royal National Park

    A day trip or school excursion to Royal National Park in Sydney's south, will offer plenty of opportunities for barbecues, fishing, bushwalking, birdwatching and whale watching.Sydney’s heritage-listed Royal...

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