Recreational use

NSW is home to some of the most iconic and diverse spaces in Australia that are reserved for recreational activities such as camping, surfing, hiking and sport.

We manage the state’s parks and reserves, a number of caravan and camping sites and surfing and dive sites and more with other government agencies and local committees.

Parks and reserves

Our parks and reserves protect unique landscapes around the state.These range from rocky bushland and the natural wonders of the World Heritage Blue Mountains to vast recreational parklands on the foreshore and marine wonderlands such as Long Reef and Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserves off our coastline.

State parks

Mostly located around coastal or inland water and surrounded by bushland, there are 18 state parks in NSW.

From basic to deluxe accommodation options, a diverse range of recreation and family-friendly facilities and activities, state parks provide unique visitor experiences and a chance to reconnect with nature.

For more information visit NSW Parks and Reserves.

Bellinger Heads

North Coast

With a superb year-round climate and marvellous beaches, the towns of Urunga and Mylestom are one of the regions lesser known jewels, unpretentious, with a laidback and relaxed atmosphere.

For more information, visit:

Belmont Wetlands

Hunter Region

Belmont Wetlands State Park comprises seven coastal wetlands, some of which drain into Lake Macquarie. It features the largest single open water wetland in Lake Macquarie and is fed by an extensive wetland system from the north and north east.

Burrinjuck Waters

South West

Burrinjuck Holiday and Recreation Park is situated in 75 hectares of bushland nestled on the southern escarpment of Mt. Barren Jack in NSW. Located right on the shores of Burrinjuck Dam, with boat ramps and ample parking, the park is a great place to bring the family, relax and experience a unique holiday. The famous Hume and Hovell Track passes through the park.

Coffs Coast

North Coast

The Coffs Coast State Park is surrounded by beautiful beaches, foreshores, estuaries and wetlands which are perfect for surfing, swimming, diving, fishing and boating. The surrounding area has much to offer, from world heritage rainforests to a marine national park.

Copeton Waters

North Coast

Copeton Holiday and Recreation Park offers a fantastic opportunity to use and enjoy Lake Copeton, an inland water catchment three times the capacity of Sydney Harbour. Set on 900 ha of rural bushland on the western slopes of the New England Ranges this park offers a unique day trip or holiday experience.

Grabine Lakeside

Central West

Grabine Holiday and Recreation Park is located on the banks of Wyangala Dam in Central NSW which is fed by the Lachlan and Abercrombie Rivers. Two and a half times the volume of Sydney Harbour, the dam offers 42 km of waterways with boat ramps and access points.

Harrington Beach

North Coast

The Harrington Beach State Park 431 ha site stretches from Harrington to the picturesque fishing village of Crowdy Head and features a caravan park, lighthouse and boat harbour. The foreshores of the coastal beaches and estuary provide an array of year round recreation and tourism opportunities while the protected tracts of rainforests and other significant native vegetation provide habitat for many species of native fauna and flora.

Killalea

South West

Killalea State Park is approximately 265 ha of pristine coastal reserve with some of the best beaches on the NSW South Coast. With coastlines, rainforest areas, extensive wetlands and seabird breeding areas, Killalea is popular for day trips, educational groups, boating, surfing and fishing.

Lake Burrendong

Central West

Lake Burrendong offers year-round attractions for fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers, bushwalkers, campers and picnickers. Located only an hour between Dubbo and Orange, on the western shore of Burrendong Dam, the park is a fantastic base to stay awhile and explore the local area.

Lake Glenbawn

Central West

Set on the banks of Glenbawn Dam in a rural backdrop, the Lake Glenbawn Holiday and Recreation Park offers a wonderful diversity of bushland, wildlife and adventure.

Lake Keepit

Central West

Lake Keepit Holiday and Recreation Park is located about 40 minutes from Tamworth and around 25 minutes from Gunnedah. Situated on the banks of Keepit Dam which at maximum capacity holds around 425,510 megalitres of water.

Living Desert

Far West

Living Desert displays all the breath-taking beauty that the NSW outback has to offer. Taking three hours to complete, the park’s paths wind through the stunning sculpture symposium and the flora and fauna sanctuary, while the cultural walk trail educates visitors on the local Aboriginal heritage and importance of the preservation.

Manning Entrance

North Coast

The Manning Entrance State Park is situated on the NSW Mid North Coast and comprises lands surrounding and including the Manning River's southern entrance at Old Bar. The 487 ha site runs from Old Bar to the southern side of the Manning River's northern entrance at Manning Point and features a caravan park, primitive camping ground, sporting fields and historic airstrip.

Narrabeen Lagoon State Park

Northern Beaches

The creation of the Narrabeen Lagoon State Park reflects the significance of the lagoon and surrounding public lands to the people of NSW. It encompasses the largest of four coastal lagoons in the Northern Beacjhes Local Government Area and the majority of Crown land within the catchment.

Wyangala Waters

South West

Wyangala Waters Holiday and Recreation Park is located in Central Western NSW only 30 minutes from Cowra. Set on the banks of scenic Wyangala Dam, which has a catchment area of 8,300 km2.

Crown reserves

Crown reserves are land set aside on behalf of the community for a wide range of public purposes including environmental and heritage protection, recreation and sport, open space, community halls, special events and government services.

Tracks and trails

There are countless kilometres of walking, riding and paddling tracks and trails and accompanying picnic areas and more to explore in NSW.

You can purchase map kits for tracks and trails through shop.nsw

Maps are also available to buy at local Visitor Information Centres including the Blue Mountains, Yass, Tumut, Wagga Wagga. For more information, email the Tocal Agricultural College at tocal.college@dpi.gov.au

Abrahams Bosom Tracks

  • Currarong
  • Distance/time – 8 km/1 day | grade – easy
  • Activities: snorkelling, fishing, surfing, walking, running, cycling, dog walking, swimming

Abrahams Bosom Tracks include around eight kilometres of walking tracks winding around Beecroft Peninsula near Currarong on the NSW South Coast. The tracks pass through coastal heath vegetation and along sandstone cliffs with magnificent views up and down the coastline. Only a 35 minute drive from Nowra, the track is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels, dog owners and bicycle riders, with several spots being ideal for fishing, surfing, picnicking and snorkelling.

The Six Foot Track

  • Blue Mountains National Park
  • Distance/time – 46 km/2–3 days | grade – hard

The iconic Six Foot Track is a 46 km route following the original horse track from the Explorers Tree, Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves. The track winds through the Blue Mountains National Park and taking in various landscape and heritage features within the Blue Mountains World Heritage area such as Mount York, Nellies Glen, Megalong Valley and more.

The Hume and Hovell Track

  • Yass to Albury
  • Distance/time – 416 km/24 days, shorter walks and various day walks available | grade – hard
  • Activities: running, hiking, trekking, walking, camping, fishing, swimming, sailing, boating, water-skiing, cycling

The Hume and Hovell Track stretches over 416 km between Cooma Cottage, Yass and the Hovell Tree on the banks of the Murray River in Albury, passing through the town of Wee Jasper and near the towns of Tumut, Talbingo and Tumbarumba.

There are three tracks which are approximately 100 km apart and suitable for car-based camping:

  • James Fitzpatrick at Wee Jasper
  • Thomas Boyd on the Goobarragandra River 23 kms from Tumut
  • Henry Angel on Burra Creek near Tumbarumba

The Great North Walk

  • Sydney to Newcastle
  • Distance/time – 250 km/14 days, shorter walks and various day walks available | grade – hard
  • Activities: hiking, running, trekking, walking, camping, cycling, fishing, surfing, dog-walking, swimming

Initially constructed as a celebration of Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 The Great North Walk provides many different entry points and approximately 100 km of linked tracks connecting the walk to the Pokolbin vineyards and the Sydney-Newcastle bus and railway lines.

The Wiradjuri Walking Track

  • Wagga Wagga
  • Distance/time – 42 km/1–2 days | grade – easy–moderate
  • Activities: walking, cycling, fishing, dog walking, swimming

The Wiradjuri Walking Track follows a 42 km trail around the city of Wagga Wagga. It starts from the Wagga Wagga Visitor Information Centre, along the Murrumbidgee River to the Railway Viaduct, through town looping around Lake Albert, Murrambidya Wetlands and back along the river to return to the centre.

The Bicentennial National Trail

  • Cooktown QLD to Healesville VIC
  • Distance/time – 53,330 km/ 6–7 months minimum | grade – challenging
  • Activities: walking, trekking, cycling, horse riding

The Bicentennial National Trail follows the designated Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) in NSW, passing through some of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and various Crown reserves, state forests and national parks.

Fivebough Wetlands Loop

  • Leeton
  • Distance/time – 5 km/2 hours | grade – easy
  • Activities: Walking, bird watching

The Fivebough Wetlands Loop takes in the internationally listed Ramsar Fivebough Wetlands, two kilometres from Leeton NSW. The walk begins and ends at the Badyaan Baamira Information Centre and winds around the main basin of the wetlands with benches and bird viewing shelters along the way.

Bridle Track

  • Bathurst to Hill End
  • Distance/time – 70 km/ 1 day | grade – moderate
  • Activities: walking, horse riding, cycling, 4WDing, fishing, camping, swimming, dog walking

The Bridle Track is a 70 km, 4WD trail from Bathurst to Hill End, following the course of the Macquarie and Turon Rivers. It is currently blocked at Monahan’s Bluff.

Silverton Cycleway

  • Silverton
  • Distance/time – 8 km/half a day | grade – easy
  • Activities: walking, cycling

The Silverton Cycleway first stage is an 8 km section within the Silverton Common. Eventually the cycleway will be a 23 km elevated recreational cycleway following the former Silverton Tramway from Silverton to Broken Hill.

Nail Can Hill Trail

  • Albury
  • Distance/time – 11.3 km/1 day | grade – moderate–hard
  • Activities: walking, cycling, running, hiking

The Nail Can Hill Trail Complex comprises a series of mountain bike trails that are looked after by Albury Wodonga Mountain Bikers.

Bundian Way

  • Targangal (Mt Kosciuszko) to Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach)
  • Distance/time – 265 km | grade – moderate–hard

Bundian Way is an ancient Aboriginal pathway from Mt Kosciuszko to the coast has reopened as an Aboriginal-managed cultural tourism experience. For maps, reports and background visit the Bundian Way website.

Caravan and camping sites

There are over 260 caravan parks, camping areas and tourist accommodation sites located on some of the most beautiful Crown land.

These sites give you the opportunity to stay in a wide range of diverse and unique environments, from the beach, the mountains, to the outback.

You will find a range of accommodation from tent sites, on-site cabins, and areas for self-contained caravans.

In the coming months a redesigned Caravan and Camping NSW will be launched with updated park information and the site will have a more modern look and feel. Stay tuned and a link to the new site will be available shortly.

Dive sites

The Ex-HMAS Adelaide dive site is located approximately 1.8 kilometres off Avoca Beach near Terrigal on the Central Coast. It is an ideal place for experienced divers.

Scuttled in 2011, it's now a 32 metres deep dive site which supports local tourism and attracts divers from around the world.

Before diving on the site you will need to apply for an entry permit and book a mooring.

Make a booking

To book a mooring or to obtain an entry permit (dive permit), email hmas.adelaide.bookings@crownland.nsw.gov.au for booking forms.

After receiving the completed form, you will receive a response within two business days.

Find out more about the Ex-HMAS Adelaide at VisitNSW

Surfing reserves

Surfing reserves are areas protected for use by the general public and surfing community. These sites have an environmental, cultural or historical significance in Australian surf culture. This recognition also helps raise awareness about the importance of protecting our precious coastal environment.

We've partnered with the National Surfing Reserves (NSR) Organisation to make sure the sites are protected for generations to come.

There are 24 protected sites along Australia's 37,000 kilometres coastline. Some of the most popular sites in NSW include:

  • Angourie National Surfing Reserve on the north coast near Yamba, was the first legally protected National Surfing Reserve in NSW. Angourie is legendary amongst the surfing community for its breaks and natural beauty.
  • Crescent Head National Surfing Reserve stretches 3.5 kilometres of spectacular coastline north of Port Macquarie. Crescent Head became a well-worn trail for surfers following World War II and is known as a breeding ground for longboard surfing in Australia.
  • Lennox National Surfing Reserve is just north of Ballina on the north coast and includes the world-famous Lennox Point. The breaks at Lennox have been surfed by thousands of men, women and children since the late 1950s when surfing gained popularity throughout NSW.
  • Cronulla Beaches National Surfing Reserve is one of southern Sydney’s premier surf spots. It’s home to a number of former world champion surfers as well as other influential figures in Australian surfing.
  • Merewether Beaches National Surfing Reserve is one of Newcastle's iconic surfing beaches. The two kilometres of spectacular coastline stretch from Dixon Park in the north to Burwood Beach in the south.
  • Killalea National Surfing Reserve covers The Farm and Mystics beaches within the Killalea State Park, near Shellharbour on the south coast. The state park is 250 hectares and includes some of the best surfing beaches on this coast.
  • North Narrabeen National Surfing Reserve is a popular surfing beach on Sydney's northern coastline. The one kilometre shoreline includes part of the Narrabeen Lagoon which plays a role in the natural process of the unique breaks.

For more information visit National Surfing Reserves.

Lighthouses

For over 180 years lighthouses have served an important purpose in providing safe maritime navigation along the NSW coastline, warning ships of headlands, bars and reefs.

During the 19th Century, trade via shipping was an essential part of the establishment of early European settlers in Australia. Shipwrecks became a frequent occurrence in some dangerous coastal locations, to address this, colonial authority commenced construction of lighthouses along the coastline. Many of these lighthouses remain functional and continue to provide safe navigation to ships, despite significant advancements in technology.

Due to the historical significance, location and architectural values, the lighthouses are also tourist attractions. Our role is to maintain the land and building, and the NSW Roads & Maritime Services retain the light to ensure the safety of our boating community.

We manage 14 lighthouses across the state:

  1. Burrewarra Point Lighthouse
  2. Warden Head Lighthouse
  3. Crookhaven Head Lighthouse
  4. Kiama Lighthouse
  5. Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse
  6. Wollongong Head Lighthouse
  7. Norah Head Lighthouse
  8. Nobbys Head Lighthouse
  9. Crowdy Head Lighthouse
  10. Tacking Point Lighthouse
  11. Clarence River Lighthouse
  12. Evans Head Beacon
  13. Richmond River Lighthouse
  14. Fingal Head Lighthouse

For more information on lighthouses in NSW, visit Roads and Maritime Services

Dams

Across the state, water is held in many hundreds of dams for a variety of purposes including major irrigation,  agriculture, domestic supply and public recreation. Storages can also provide a valuable resource during flood times by holding back water, delaying and reducing flood peaks downstream.

We are responsible for a number of small dams across NSW. These include Bethungra, Bargo and DeBurgh in the south of the state, West Gosford on the Central Coast, Burraga, Gallymont and Junction Reefs in the central west and Moore Creek and Sheba dams in the north west.