The best places in NSW to bushwalk, now travel restrictions are lifting

The best places in NSW to bushwalk, now travel restrictions are lifting

International travel might be off the cards due to coronavirus restrictions, but it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the diverse and beautiful landscapes New South Wales has to offer.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced travel restrictions will lift from the beginning of June. This means it’s officially time to pack a day bag, grab a hiking buddy and enjoy the experience of getting back into nature by going on one of NSW’s best bushwalks.

The state’s diverse landscape means you can choose to stroll through an ancient rainforest, kick up the desert dust, visit a remote beach, wander through fields of wildflowers, or take a dip in a creek or river.

Here are some of the best bushwalks across NSW.

Best bushwalks in NSW

Northern Beaches + Manly to Spit Bridge Walk

Starting from Manly Wharf, this series of short tracks explores both bushland and sea, with a clutch of wooded trails and coveted vantage points offering spectacular views across Sydney Harbour. You can stop and take a dip at a number of beaches along the way to cool down and, depending on the time of year, you could spot a whale or two. The walk ends at the Spit Bridge in Mosman and, as it only takes between three and four hours to complete, it makes for the perfect active day trip for the family.

Where: Sydney Harbour National Park

Distance: 10km

Cost: Free

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READ MORE: The best health retreats to book, now that NSW restrictions are lifting

Central Coast Bouddi National Park + Maitland Bay Track

This is a short, but challenging walk that winds down through the rainforest to a secluded beach that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Where: Bouddi National Park

Distance: 1km

Cost: Free

Jervis Bay + White Sands Walk and Scribbly Gum Track

Taking only an hour to complete, this is one of the easier tracks to tackle – however that doesn’t mean it’s anything short of spectacular. Starting at Greenfield Beach picnic area, this walk will take you past Chinamans, Hyams and Seamans beaches, where you can stop for a swim or take in the bay views. You return on Scribbly Gum Track, which takes you away from the water and into the woodland where you might spot a ground parrot or even an owl.

Where: Jervis Bay National Park

Distance: 2.5km loop

Cost: Free

Snowy Mountains + Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk

You’ll feel on top of the world – well, the country – when you reach the highest peak in Australia at the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. This summer walk is popular with bushwalkers due to the picturesque scenery and challenging 12-hour long, 18.6km return trip, however, chairlifts are available if you would prefer a shorter version. Stop and unwind with a picnic at the iconic Snowy River or, if you’re licenced, a touch of fishing along the way.

Kosciuszko National Park is home to nationally endangered species such as the pygmy possum, as well as spectacular alpine herb fields, caves and lakes. Be sure to walk the track between September and May, though, as it’s snowbound in the colder months of the year.

Where: Kosciuszko National Park

Distance: 18.6km return

Cost: Free

Outback Mungo National Park + Red Top Boardwalk

One of the highlights of the NSW outback is the 33-km-long crescent of the Walls of China, where erosion has sculpted the sand and clay into dramatic formations. This short walk is wheelchair accessible. Stroll along the boardwalk to take in the views along the Mungo Lunette and Mungo Lake bed.

Where: Mungo National Park

Distance: 500m

Cost: Free

Gunderman + Old Great North Road Walk

Like your history? This is the bushwalk for you. The steep three-and-a half-hour walk overlooking the Hawkesbury River takes place along the Old Great North Road, built by convicts in the early 1800s. You’ll come across rocks with convict-carved graffiti, as well as the oldest surviving stone bridges in Australia’s mainland.

Where: Dharug National Park

Distance: 9km loop

Cost: Free

South Coast Royal National Park and Bungoona Path

This easy walk starts from the National Park regional office and has wheelchair access. It offers panoramic views of the park and the Hacking River.

Where: Royal National Park

Distance: 1km

Cost: Free

Bundeena + The Coast Track

Take a two-day trek through the nation’s oldest national park and feast your eyes on isolated beaches, waterfalls and ancient Aboriginal carvings. If you’re not up to the overnight trip from Bundeena to Otford, you can stroll the shorter sections, however the guided walks will ensure you see it all – including echidnas and eagles.

Where: Royal National Park

Distance: 26km

Cost: Free; guided walks from $97 per person

North West Warrumbungle National Park + Breadknife and Grand High Tops

This popular but strenuous walk begins from Pincham car park and follows Spirey Creek. A steep climb takes you to the base of the Breadknife – a narrow rock sliver – arguably the most famous feature in the park. Beyond the Breadknife is the Grand High Tops, a good spot for lunch and a rest.

Where: Warrumbungle National Park

Distance: 12.5km loop

Cost: Free

Boonoo Boonoo + Little Bald Rock Walking Track

This five-hour walk will be worth it in the end, with breathtaking views spreading as far as Girraween National Park in Queensland. As the name suggests, rocks are the main attraction on this walk, but while they may be “bald”, they aren’t little. As you traverse towards the summit you’ll be greeted by smooth behemoths nicknamed the “Granite Titans” due to their enormous size. If you reach the summit at dusk, the 750-metre long rock face below you will perform its own natural light show right before your eyes, with the setting sun turning the rock from orange to yellow hues.

Where: Bald Rock National Park

Distance: 14km return

Cost: $8 per vehicle entry fee to park

Blue Mountains + Fairfax Heritage Track

This pram and wheelchair-accessible track is one of the gentlest bushwalking options of the 140km in the Blue Mountains. Beginning at Blackheath, the track wanders through forests behind the cliffs of the Grose Valley and has plenty of benches along the way if you want to stop and take in the spectacular views.

Where: Blue Mountains National Park

Distance: 2.3km

Cost: Free

Best overnight walks in NSW

If you’re looking for an overnight hike, here are some longer walks in NSW you can check out.

Blue Mountains

The Six Foot Track

This three-day trek takes hikers from the Blue Mountains to Jenolan Caves, winding through state forests and national parks. The track follows the 42-kilometre route of the original 1884 bridle trail between Katoomba and Jenolan Caves. There are campsites along the track. You can also take a tour with the award-winning guides at Life’s An Adventure, at

Difficulty level: Hard

Newnes to Rocky Creek Walk

This 10-kilometre track wanders downstream along the Wolgan River and features stunning sandstone cliffs, swimming holes and plenty of chances to spot birds and other wildlife. The track mainly incorporates gentle to moderate walking slopes but it does have a few steep sections so is recommended for experienced bushwalkers. There is a small campsite where you can stay overnight.

Difficulty level: Hard

Sydney and surrounds

Great North Walk, Sydney CBD to Newcastle

For very experienced walkers looking for a challenge, this 250-kilometre bushwalking track is hard to beat. It links the Sydney CBD with the Hunter Valley and Newcastle and takes 16 days to complete. The walk passes through a number of parks and reserves, including Lane Cove National Park. The 27 kilometres of the walk that pass through the park feature steep-sided river valleys, rugged sandstone, mangrove swamps and plateaus. It’s not for the faint-hearted but you can do smaller sections of it and it does offer some of the best scenery in NSW. There are camping grounds and water facilities along the track.

Difficulty level: Hard

South Coast

The Coast Track, Royal National Park

This famous walk hugs the park’s coastline, taking you along the cliffs, beaches and escarpments from Bundeena to Otford on a 26-kilometre track. It offers variable terrain and stunning views. The walk can be done as a two-day backpack trip with an overnight stop at North Era, for which you will need to get a bush camping permit in advance.

Difficulty level: Medium

Heathcote to Waterfall Overnight Walk, Heathcote National Park

This 11-kilometre overnight walk with great views of Heathcote Creek is often used to introduce new walkers to overnight hikes. There’s a campsite along the way with a reasonable level of facilities, although you will need to bring drinking water and a camping permit is required.

Difficulty level: Easy

Regional NSW

Wilderness Walk, New England National Park

This track takes you from subalpine woodland into subtropical rainforest. The 33-kilometre (one way) three-day walk involves creek walking and river crossings and requires bush navigation skills, so it is best attempted by fit, experienced walkers. There are campsites and cabins near the start, but hikers need to bring tents and camping supplies for overnight stops along the way.

Difficulty level: Hard

Overnight Alpine Trek, Kosciuszko National Park

Enjoy dinner under the stars at a remote overnight campsite on this two-day guided trek. The trek, which covers about 22 kilometres, begins at Dead Horse Gap and winds up to the top of Australia for sunset, followed by an overnight stay in the heart of the mountains. Day two winds along the spine of the Great Divide past beautiful Lake Albina, across the Snowy River and back along a paved walkway to the Charlotte’s Pass lookout.

Difficulty level: Medium

North Coast

Bouddi Ridge and Coastal Walk, Bouddi National Park

Explore the park’s pristine beaches and spectacular scenery on this two-day loop walk. Day one starts out from the Putty Beach camping area, heads along the ridge towards Little Beach, then travels along the coast. The 27-kilometre circuit passes through lots of great beaches and lookout points before returning to the Putty Beach campsite. The second day covers the Box Head and Lobster Beach areas.

Difficulty level: Medium

Historic Nightcap Track, Nightcap National Park

This 16-kilometre track overlaps part of the original trail used by travellers and postal workers between Lismore and Murwillumbah in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The two-day walk passes through both Nightcap National Park and Whian Whian State Forest and bush camping is permitted; however open fires are not allowed so you need to bring in your own portable stove and carry out your rubbish. The route includes lush forests, waterfalls and spectacular mountain views.

Difficulty level: Hard

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