There’s nothing quite like witnessing local wildlife in a NSW national park to give you a deeper appreciation for nature. You can do it on your own, sure. But let’s face it, wildlife is, well… wild (in other words: unpredictable). So here are three ways to increase your chances of spotting wildlife on your next adventure in a NSW national park.

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    Go on a birding tour with an expert


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    With more than 600 bird species in NSW, birdwatching is an easy way for nature lovers of any age to get involved in wildlife spotting. But if you consider yourself a bit of a birding enthusiast, you might want to take the next step and go on a birding tour. 

    If you’re on a tight schedule, head out with Australian Ornithological Services on a personalised birding tour in Murray Valley National Park, near Deniliquin. You’ll get a tailored itinerary that’s perfect for your needs, where you’ll be able to spot the plains wanderer and many other rare and elusive species sought by keen birdwatchers.

    Ranger tip: National parks are places to escape to, explore, and are home for our native animals. Keep yourself and our wildlife safe by understanding the risks of wildlife encounters.


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    For an immersive wildlife experience, join the 6-day birding tour with Inala Nature Tours. They’ll take you through a number of parks and reserves, including in Barren Grounds Nature Reserve, near Nowra. You’ll explore a wide variety of habitats, including a boat trip to spot seabirds and a night-time excursion to see sugar gliders and other fascinating nocturnal animals.

    Not quite ready for that level of commitment? Join Birding for beginners in Royal National Park, near Sydney. Your guides will share tips on how to identify birds in various habitats and help you learn more about what makes Australia’s birdlife so unique.

    Ranger tip:  Remember national parks are natural environments and can be unpredictable. Always check the NSW National Parks alerts page for up-to-date information on closed parks and safety alerts.

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    See native animals in their own habitat


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    Want to see a dolphin or turtle in the wild? Take a guided kayak tour in Cape Byron State Conservation Area, in Byron Bay. The experts from Cape Byron Kayaks will show you how to paddle on the sparkling ocean waters and point out any local wildlife along the way, before serving up a delicious morning or afternoon tea on the beach.

    At night, head out on a rainforest tour with Vision Walks Eco Tours in Nightcap National Park. The military-grade night vision goggles will help you spot elusive nocturnal wildlife that frequents the Byron Bay area, including bandicoots, bats and tawny frogmouths. If you’re more of an early bird, they also run daytime tours at Minyon Falls, which includes lunch and a swim.

    For a luxury day trip from Sydney, travel with Perfect Day Sydney to Morton National Park on the NSW South Coast. You’ll wander through temperate rainforest, past the beautiful cascades of Fitzroy Falls, before enjoying a tasty dinner surrounded by wombats and kangaroos in their natural environment at twilight.

    Two people exploring glow-worm cave. Photo: Daniel Tran © Daniel Tran / DPE
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    Two people exploring glow-worm cave in Wollemi National Park

    Wollemi National Park

    Daniel Tran © Daniel Tran / DPE

    Seeing the magical natural light show created by thousands of glow worms in Wollemi National Park near Lithgow is one wildlife experience you won’t forget in a hurry. Wolgan Valley Eco Tours will take through lush gorges, across mountain streams and past sandstone pegods, before entering the historic railway tunnel that’s lit by the soft blue light of the glow worms.

    Looking for some family friendly tours? Check out our activities happening in NSW national parks

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    Immerse yourself in nature

    We understand some people prefer to go at their own pace. Try your luck at wildlife spotting with these tips:

    • Do your research. Investigate things like the species you want to see, the best time of the year to see it, the best spots to see it, and its preferred habitat. For example, check out our guide to whale watching in coastal national parks.
    • Bring the right equipment. Don’t forget your binoculars, proper clothing, lots of water, a red filter flashlight for night-spotting, and comfy shoes.
    • Be quiet and hide! Waterholes are great places to spot a variety of species, if you have a bit a patience. Or you can hide somewhere like Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve to get really close to wildlife without disturbing it.
    • Remember, most native animals come out to feed at dawn at dusk so they can avoid the hottest hours of the day. So, camping in small, less popular campgrounds will help you maximise your dawn and dusk wildlife spotting time (just remember to avoid driving at these times for safety reasons).
    • Try a self-guided tour with our NPWS self-guided tour app. Heading to South Coast NSW? Check out the Minnamurra rainforest series of self-guided audio tours.
    • And of course, always be respectful of wildlife. Remember, you’re visiting their home. Don’t disturb them and keep our wildlife wild.


    Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a guided multi-day adventure, there are plenty of wildlife encounters in NSW national parks.