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Top National Parks Near Sydney

Home > Sydney > Day Trips | Escape the City | National Parks | Nature | Walks
by Gypsy Rose (subscribe)
I am a travel writer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and food! I love travelling and discovering hidden gems... experience the journey on Instragram! @gypsy_compass
Published October 24th 2019
National Parks to visit within 2 hrs drive from Sydney
Sydney's National Parks are home to world-class beaches, walking and cycling trails, spectacular wilderness, culture and colonial heritage overlap. They are also home to a diversity of landscape and wildlife, from rainforests, bush to seaside and alpine.

The list below features National Parks that are located within 2 hours drive from Sydney CBD. So why not explore one or all on your next day trip?!

Discover World Heritage sites and natural wonderlands with the list below:

1. Bents Basin State Conservation Area

Where: Bents Basin Road or Wolstenholme Avenue, Bents Basin (1 hour approx from Sydney CBD)

When: Park gates open at 9am-5pm (May-September) and 9am-8pm (October-April)

Cost: $8 per vehicle/ per day.

Details: Bents Basin forms a deep waterhole, part of the Gulguer Gorge on the Nepean River between Camden and Penrith. It is a popular picnic spot and offers plenty of things to do with the whole family.

Highlights: Water-based activities, including swimming and canoeing, an array of picnic spots, and Caley's Lookout Track.

Accommodation: Car-based and caravan camping is available. The camping area includes hot showers, electric barbecues, fire rings for campfires, and kitchen and shelter area for hire. There is also a kiosk opened on weekends.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Places to go, things to do in Sydney Facebook


2. Blue Mountains National Park

Where: Many access points including Great Western Highway between Glenbrook and Mount Victoria, Oberon-Colong Stock Route. There are also railway stations at Glenbrook, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath, and Mt Victoria. See website for all entry points. (1 Hour approx. from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 24hrs- Some parts do close overnight- see website.

Cost: Entry fee only applies in the Glenbrook precinct: $8 per vehicle/ per day.

Details: This World Heritage Listed landscape is home to massive cliffs, deep rainforested gullies, and water-smoothed sandstone canyons.

Highlights: Widespread eucalypt habitats, rare and threatened species, the many walking tracks (over 140km of trails), cycling trails, the impressive and iconic Three Sisters, the Giant Stairway at Echo Point, the many Lookouts, and scenic drives.

Accommodation: Car-based camping is available in the Euroka near Glenbrook and Murphys Glen near Woodford areas.

Click here for the website.

The spectacular and iconic Three Sisters


3. Bouddi National Park

Where: Putty Beach Rd, Killcare Heights (1 Hour approx. from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 24hrs

Cost: Entry fee only applies in the Putty Beach precinct: $8 per vehicle/ per day.

Details: This National Park offers diverse and delightful reserves, picturesque views along the windswept coastline and plenty of opportunities to enjoy a swim, picnic or leisurely walk.

Highlights: Small secluded beaches fringed by rainforests, sandstone cliffs, coastal heaths, coastal walks, picnic areas, and the wreck of PS Maitland located in the heart of the Park's marine protected area.

Accommodation: There are three campgrounds throughout the National Park. Campgrounds include Tallow Beach, Putty Beach, and Little Beach Campground

Click here for the website.

Enjoying a stroll through the lush greenery at Bouddi National Park


4. Brisbane Water National Park

Where: Near Gosford- Click here for Park entry points.

When: Daily, 24hrs, except for Girrakool Picnic Area open 9am-5pm, daily and Somersby Falls open 8am-8pm during daylight savings and open 8am-5pm other times, daily.

Cost: Entry fee only applies at Somersby Falls and Girrakool Picnic Areas: $8 per vehicle/ per day

Details: Brisbane Waters National Park is home to sandstone landscape that is rich in Aboriginal art. It is also home to the popular Somersby Falls Picnic Area. There is plenty to do and see here from swimming, walking paths, lookouts, picnics and more.

Highlights: The engravings at Bulgandry Aboriginal Art Site, boardwalks, beaches including snorkelling beach at Lobster Beach, Somersby Falls, Staples Lookout, The Great North Walk, and Girrakool Picnic Areas.

Accommodation: No accommodations available.

Click here for the website.

The beautiful falls at Somersby Falls, Brisbane Water National Park


5. Burragorang State Conservation Area

Where: Near Camden Nattai region, along Burragorang Rd (1-1 from Sydney CBD)

When: Daylight hours only.

Cost: $4 per vehicle / per day

Details: Burragorang State Conservation Area is a window on the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and from the lookout, there are breathtaking views of Lake Burragorang and the Nattai wilderness. It also accounts for 80 percent of Sydney's water supply!

Highlights: Burragorang Lookout, barbecue areas, kids playground, and short views of Nattai wilderness.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

Breathtaking views of Lake Burragorang can be seen from the Lookout


6. Cattai National Park

Where: Near Windsor- Wiseman Ferry Rd, Cattai (50mins-1:15hr from Sydney CBD)

When: All year round- 8am-5pm (May-September) and 8am-8pm (October-April)
Cost: $8 per vehicle / per day

Details: The Cattai Farm area was originally a land grant to First Fleet assistant surgeon Thomas Arndell. It features Arndell's cottage, historic grain silos, and ruins of a windmill believed to be the oldest industrial building in Australia.

Highlights: Variety of plant communities, rare dry rainforest, grassy picnic areas, barbecues, and shelter sheds near Hawkesbury River, extensive walking tracks, and picnic areas near Cattai Creek

Accommodation: Car-based camping is available year-round- bookings are essential.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Cattai National Park Facebook


7. Dharug National Park

Where: East of Wisemens Ferry- see website.

When: Daily, 24hrs

Cost: No entry fees

Details: This multi-hued sandstone landscape forms part of Sydney's green belt and protects vital clear-water tributaries to the Hawkesbury River. The National Park makes you feel like you have stepped back in time with the spectacular section of the convict-built Old Great North Road as you walk up to Devines Hill.

Highlights: Spectacular walks, Australian Convict Sites, picnic areas, cycle trails, and mountain biking.
Accommodation: Two campgrounds: Mill Creek Campground and Ten Mile Hollow Campground

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Dharug National Park Facebook


8. Garigal National Park

Where: Northern Beaches region- Garigal can be accessed from multiple entries across suburbs in the Northern Beaches- see website. (20-40mins from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 6am-6:30pm (8pm close during daylight savings)

Cost: $8 per vehicle/ per day at Davidson Park only.
Details: Impressive expanse of diverse bushland, great scenery, water and bush views, waterfalls, significant Aborignal sites and heritage can all be found at this National Park.

Highlights: Davidson Park popular for water-based activities including boating, canoeing, and fishing as well as picnicking can be enjoyed here, many walking trails, mountain bike trails, and lookouts.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Garigal National Park Facebook


9. Georges River National Park

Where: Henry Lawson Drive, Picnic Point (30-45mins from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily: 6am-7:30 during daylight savings and 6am-6:30pm at other times.

Cost: $8 per vehicle / per day

Details: Georges River National Park is home to steep forested hillsides, plateaus, and riverside flats that conserve some of Sydney's best river habitat for native plants and animals.

Highlights: Riverside picnic spots, network of fun walking tracks, Yeramba Lagoon- home to more than 100 bird species, birdwatching opportunities, and views of the spectacular river at Ridge Track.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Georges River National Park Facebook


10. Heathcote National Park

Where: There is no car access, but you can walk from Heathcote or Waterfall Train Stations on the Illawarra Train Line. See website for all details.https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/heathcote-national-park/visitor-info (40mins-1hr approx. from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: No entry fees.

Details: You will find wild and rugged landscape, making it perfect for walkers. In spring, Gymea Lilies give a scarlet glow to the gullies, making a stunning view not to be missed.

Highlights: The spectacular walking trails, swimming at a hidden pool along Heathcote Valley Creek, and remote camping.

Accommodation: There are three remote campgrounds: Kingfisher Pool Campground, Lake Eckersley Campground, and Mirang Pool Campground.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Heathcote National Park Facebook


11. Kamay Botany Bay National Park

Where: Entry to the La Perouse side is via Anzac Parade, La Perouse and entry to Kurnell side is from the end of Captain Cook Drive, Kurnell. (40mins-1hour approx. from Sydney CBD)

When: La Perouse: Daily, 7am-8:30pm (November-March) & 7am-7:730pm (April-October).
Kurnell: 7am-7:30pm (August-May) and 7am-5:30pm (June & July)

Cost: La Perouse Area: No Fees & Kurnell Area: $8 per vehicle / per day

Details: This National Park is rich in history; with two headlands of Botany Bay (La Perouse and Kurnell) are rich in Aboriginal and European history. Discover Captain Cook's landing place at Kurnell, enjoy the many walks or enjoy a swim at the beaches.

Highlights: Snorkelling beaches, spectacular lookouts, coastal and bushwalks, picnic areas, whale watching (during migration season), tour of Bare Island Fort at La Perouse, La Perouse Museum, diving beaches, Cape Solander, and Aboriginal Discovery Tour

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

Admiring the natural rock formations at Cape Solander


12. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Where: There is a ferry access to the National Park from Palm Beach Wharf or car access. See the website for details. (30-50mins approx. from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, sunrise to sunset- Bobbin Head and Appletree Bay are closed from 8pm-6am during daylight savings and from 5:30pm-6am other times. Gates to West Head are closed from 8:30pm-6am during daylight savings and from 6pm-6am other times.

Cost: $12per vehicle / per day

Details: There are plenty of things to do and see including, many spectacular walking trails, mountain biking tracks, marinas at Bobbin Head and Akuna Bay, and fishing. The rugged cliff lines and pristine waters make ideal for water-based activities.

Highlights: Spectacular lookouts and views, Aboriginal engraving sites, kayaking, canoeing and other water-based activities, fishing opportunities, camping, the many trails for walking and cycling, picnic areas, birdwatching opportunities, and Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

Accommodation: The Basin Campground is one of Sydney's popular beach camping spots. Facilities include amenities block, picnic tables, barbecue facilities, drinking water, public phone, showers, and toilets.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Facebook


13. Lane Cove National Park

Where: Max Allen Drive or Riverside Drive, Lane Cove

When: Daily, 9am-7pm (daylight savings) and 9am-6pm (other times)

Cost: $8 per vehicle / per day

Details: The picturesque Lane Cove River winds through a peaceful bushland valley. There are walks and cycle trails to enjoy through the bushland, breathtaking vistas and around the foreshores. Water-based equipment can be hired at the Lane Cove Boatshed.

Highlights: The 5km Riverside Walk, Great North Walk, and other walking trails, picnic spots, cycle trails, boating opportunities, canoe or kayak, and the Pennant Hills section for off-road biking, walking or running opportunities.

Accommodation: Camping and cabin accommodation options are only available at Lane Cove Tourist Park.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Lane Cove National Park Facebook


14. Marramarra National Park

Where: Bloodwood Rd, Arcadia or Canoelands Rd, Glenorie. Boat access is available from boat ramps at Berowra Waters, Brooklyn, Mooney Mooney or Spencer. (1-1:20hr approx. from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 24hrs.

Cost: No entry fee.

Details: This peaceful stretch of bushland overlooks the Hawkesbury River and Berowra Creek, with mangrove forest at Big Bay, Pumpkin Point, and Gentlemans Halt.

Highlights: The many walking trails, canoeing or kayaking at Marramarra Creek or one of the less-known waterways, wildlife-spotting and birdwatching opportunities, and bush camping.

Accommodation: Bush camping at Gentlemans Halt- access is via water or a 10km walk. Camping is also available at Marramarra Creek Orchards which is accessed via water or 4km walk.

Click here for the website.

15. Nattai National Park

Where: Off Wattle Ridge Rd or Wombeyan Caves Road, Wattle Ridge (1 -2hrs from Sydney CBD) (1:20-1:45hr approx. from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 24hrs
Cost: No entry fees

Details: This National Park includes the Warragamba Dam catchment, within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The National Park's wilderness makes it ideal for experienced bushwalkers.

Highlights: Starlights Trail, Wollondilly Lookout and Couridjah Corridor Walk.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Nattai National Park Facebook


16. Popran National Park

Where: Ironbark Rd, Mangrove Mountain (1-1 hr from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 24hrs

Cost: No entry fees

Details: This Central Coast National Park protects Aboriginal sites and offers an array of nature experiences. It also boasts 4km of Hawkesbury river foreshore, where you can paddle through mangroves and enjoying fishing.

Highlights: Walking trails to Mount Olive can be at the end of Ironbark Rd, lookouts, Emerald Pool, mountain bike trails, kayak, fishing and horse riding.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Popran National Park Facebook


17. Royal National Park

Where: Multiple access points- see website. (40mins to 1 hr from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 7am-8:30pm

Cost: $12 per vehicle/ per day

Details: This historic National Park is the first in Australia and is placed on the National Heritage List. It is home to an abundance of nature and outdoor activities from walking and cycling trails, scenic drives, lookouts, water-based activities, birdwatching and wildlife spotting, and more.

Highlights: Wattamolla, Garie, and Burning Palms beaches, the array of picnic spots across the National Park, historic Audley Boatshed, Kangaroo Creek- where you can hire canoe, rowboat or kayak, beach fishing, surfing, swimming and snorkelling, bush camping, bushwalking, cycle trails and scenic drives.

Accommodation: Bush camping, cottage stays and the only car-based camping at Bonnie Vale Camping Ground.

Click here for the website.

Enjoying a tranquil paddle at Kangaroo Creek, Audley


18. Scheyville National Park

Where: Scheyville (40- 1:15hr from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, 24hrs

Cost: No entry fees.

Details: Evidence of the rich history of European occupation can still be seen in the relics of agriculture, immigration and military training. The National Park is home to one of the largest remaining areas of Cumberland Plain Woodland.

Highlights: Walking trails, including the history trail of Migrant Heritage Trail, Longneck Lagoon, birdwatching opportunities, picnic spots, cycling trails, and horse riding trails.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Scheyville National Park Facebook


19. Sydney Harbour National Park

Where: Bradleys Head Road, Mosman and other entry points. (10mins-30mins from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, sunrise to sunset.

Cost: Bradley's Head Carpark: $8 per vehicle/ per day, North Head Carpark: $5 per vehicle / per day, Chowder Bay Road parking: Weekdays: $3 per hour or $16 all day, Weekends & Public Holidays: $4 per hour or $20 all day.

Details: This National Park protects islands and foreshore around Sydney Harbour. It is home to breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour, natural bushland, secluded sandy beaches, harbour islands, and rugged sandstone cliffs. It is also home to the oldest surviving fort in Australia.

Highlights: Hornby Lighthouse, spectacular coastal and bushwalks, swimming spots, snorkelling at Chowder Bay, convict-built buildings and military fortifications, Aboriginal sites, lookouts, picnic areas, wildlife spotting, birdwatching opportunities, Bradleys Head Amphitheatre, Goat, Clark and Shark Islands, Neilson Park, and Strickland House.

Accommodation: Q station and cottage stays.

Click here for the website.

Enjoying the beautiful and tranquil waters at Chowder Bay


20. Thirlmere Lakes National Park

Where: Remembrance Drive, Picton (unsealed road- 1 - 2hrs from Sydney CBD)

When:Daily, sunrise to sunset.

Cost: No entry fees at the moment- It is under review. Check website for updates.

Details: Being part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, this National Park is fringed with five-freshwater lakes that are abundant with waterbirds and surrounds of quiet patches of bushland. The Lakes are thought to be an impressive 15 million years old!

Highlights: Thirlmere Lakes Walking Track, the heritage pump station, birdwatching opportunities, swimming opportunities, canoeing or kayaking, and picnic spots. Do note no powerboats are allowed.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Thirlmere Lakes National Park Facebook


21. Wyrrabalong National Park

Where: Wilfred Bennet Drive or The Entrance Road, Magenta (1 - 2hrs from Sydney CBD)

When: Daily, sunrise to sunset, Crackhead Lookout closed from 8pm-5:30am daylight savings and 6pm-5:30am other times and Pelican Beach Road Lookout closed from 8pm-5:30am daylight savings and 6pm-5:30am other times.

Cost: No entry fees.

Details: Divided into two, the National Park conserves the last patch of coastal rainforest on the Central Coast. The varied landscape offers an array of nature-based activities to enjoy. The National Park is also home to striking coastlines, red gum forest, diverse wildlife, and rich Aboriginal heritage.

Highlights: Surfing and swimming beaches, fishing spots, whale watching opportunities (during migration season), Crackhead Lookout, Pelican Beach Road Lookout, The Coast Walking Track, picnic spots, and walking trails.

Accommodation: No accommodation facilities.

Click here for the website.

The lovely track to Wyrrabalong Lookout
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Why? There is something for everyone at each National Park
When: All year round
Where: Sydney & Surrounds
Cost: Free & Ticketed Entry- See Above
Your Comment
Beautiful places every one. We are lucky in this country to have so many natural areas preserved.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7411) 26 days ago
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