Sydney National Parks

Sydney offers a number of wonderful National Parks surrounding the attractive city. The Sydney Harbour National Park is made up of several islands and bushland around the harbour.

It offers Aboriginal carvings, history, views and walks. The areas included as part of the National Park are Ashton Park, Dobroyd Head, Fort Denison, Goat Clarke, Middle Head, Nielsen Park, North Head, Rodd Island, Shark Island and South Head.

Botany Bay National Park is situated south of Sydney on Botany Bay. The beautiful National Park offers plenty of fabulous walking trails around the bay. There is an interesting Discovery Centre, which tells the history of the area, and the story of the first European landing in Australia. There is also a monument at Kurnell for the arrival of Captain Cook.

Further south off of Port Hacking are both the Heathcote National Park and the Royal National Park. There are some fantastic walking trails within the Heathcote National Park, as well as a number of pleasant swimming pools. You can also bush camp within the park, which is a great way to see the rugged and beautiful Australian bushland.

Sydney Habour National ParkAdjoining Heathcote National Park is the Royal National Park which continues along the coastline. There are some fabulous beaches within the Royal National Park, as well as wonderful clifftop scenery.

A fantastic walk is the coastal walk which is 26km long, but well worth following. Along the way you will pass the pretty Wattamolla Beach, as well as Burning Beach, Era Beach and Garie Beach which are all great surfing spots. There are also a number of shorter walking trails throughout the park. To get a walking permit you should phone the Visitors Centre Ph: (02) 9542 0648.

You should also get permits for bush camping within the Royal National Park from the Visitors Centre. There is also a camping site at Bonnie Vale, as well as the Garie Beach YHA (members only), and the Imperial Hotel. You can get to the Royal National Park along the Princess Highway from Sydney and Wollongong or along the wonderful coastal road from Wollongong. There is also a train service which runs to nearby Loftus. There is also a ferry service to Bundeena, run by the Cronulla National Park Ferries Ph: (02) 9523 2990.

North of Sydney near Broken Bay and Palm Beach is the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. There are a number of fabulous walking trails around the beautiful bushland of the National Park. Several trails include the America Bay Trail, the Gibberagong Trail and the Sphinx Trail, as well as the Basin Trail and the Garigal Trail where you can see some fantastic Aboriginal Rock Engravings.

West Head gives fantastic views over Broken Bay, and although you can't swim there (due to sharks) there are some great swimming spots at the Basin and Illawong Bay. You can also camp at the Basin Ph: (02) 9972 7378 as well as at the Pittwater YHA Ph: (02) 9999 5748, which is just south of the basin. You can get to the park driving from Colah, Church Point, Terrey Hills and Turramurra. If you don't have your own transport then Shorelink Buses run a service from Turramurra into the park. There is also a ferry service from Palm Beach, run by the Palm Beach Ferry Service to the Basin and Bobbin Head.

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