NSW is a great place to walk. From coastal scenery to rainforest gorges to alpine highlands to outback isolation, there is anything you could ask for.
But where to start?
You will find here some starting points for a range of bushwalking experiences for beginners to old hands looking for new challenges.
National parks have the widest range of bushwalks accessible to the public, and are scattered all over the state and ACT. There is a National Park or State Recreation Area within a hour’s drive of almost anywhere. Walks range from short strolls to challenging multi-day expeditions.
- In NSW, the National Parks and Wildlife Service manages national parks and other reserves.
- In ACT, the Parks and Reserves section of Town and Municipal Services manages national parks.
- The NSW Department of Planning,Industry and Environment also provides a number of bushwalking tracks on Crown Land outside national parks.
- Many State Forests in NSW have dedicated recreation areas, often with associated bushwalks.
- Great Escarpment Trail provides an outstanding recreation opportunity to explore the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, culture, history, and much more, stretching from the Mid-Coast region of NSW to the Queensland border ranges.
Land Management Authorities
Other land management authorities also provide walking tracks.
You might like to research:
- Water supply authorities
- Local councils
- Catchment Management groups
Bushwalking clubs are a great source of information on walks in their areas.
Often they will know of little-publicised tracks, or have access to private lands through long contact with the landowners.
A number of web sites list walking opportunities in various areas of the state:
- Wildwalks is a free online bushwalking and camping guidebook for NSW.
- The web site Bushwalking NSW provides practical information on bushwalking in NSW – national parks, track notes, walk reports, sketch maps, book reviews and links, just to name a few. (This is different to the site you are reading now although the name is similar.)
- The Blue Mountains are one of the most popular walking areas in Australia.
- Armidale Bushwalking Club have put together a comprehensive site describing walks in the New England area
- The Great South Coast Walk is being developed, linking existing tracks and creating additional tracks as required. The proposed route is from Bundeena in the Royal National Park south of Sydney to Mallacoota, just over the Victorian border
- The Walking Volunteers identify new walking routes from Palm Beach to Cronulla and west to Katoomba, map them and make the online maps available to the public. Maps include the Great West Walk and the Sydney Harbour and Coast Walk.
In addition to web sites, there are many books covering the whole state or just a part.
Local tourism groups will also often have information about well-known and not-so-well-known walks in their areas.
If you are thinking about a walk, but are uncertain of the current conditions in the area, do contact the local managers of the land. Often the web sites will list any issues, but sometimes talking to a real person can gather more useful information and tips.
A bushwalking forum site called bushwalk.com has sections for each state where you can ask questions about walks and local conditions, and benefit from the experience of the many members of the forum.