Sydney-siders are spoilt for choice when it comes to walks in their green backyard. There’s picture-perfect Bradley’s Head – Booraghee Amphitheatre to Chowder Bay – Gooree, North Head in Manly, South Head near Watson’s Bay, the Hermitage Foreshore Walk at Nielsen Park… all great, easy walks in Sydney Harbour National Park. A little further out there Lane Cove, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase and Royal National Parks are other family favourites!
But what about the rest of the state? There are hundreds of other fab walks – many of them easy and great for kids and families. Here’s a quick roundup of 5 awesome kid-friendly trails in NSW National Parks. None too taxing, but they still serve up a ‘million-miles-from-care’, wholesome green fix.
So if you’re planning a trip or just keen to get the kids outdoors, make sure these make your ‘to-do’ list.
Victoria Park Nature Reserve - 45 mins from Byron BayView this post on Instagram
The Northern Rivers part of NSW is stunningly beautiful – verdant, green, and home to a plethora of native animals and plants – many of them endangered. The Victoria Park Nature Reserve preserves and protects an important remnant of lush sub-tropical rainforest. Comfortably meander through this lush dreamscape on the Victoria Park boardwalk. It’s an easy-going 400m loop so you won’t break a sweat. The boardwalk and picnic area are wheelchair and pram accessible – good news for everyone.
Did you know? The region was once home to the ‘big scrub’– Australia’s largest low-lying rainforest spanning over 75,000 hectares. Sadly, due to aggressive land-clearing since the 1840’s (for prized woods such as cedar), only 300 hectares remain (and preserved in national parks) – less than 1% of the original area
Sea Acres National Park - 10mins from Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie a holiday favourite – is home to the beautiful Sea Acres National Park and boardwalk. Starting at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, visitors can access the 1.3km, flat and stair-free boardwalk loop. Breathe in the canopy – you’re right up in it; 7m above the ground. Kids will have fun spotting the scarlet robin, goannas, and – if they’re lucky – the diamond python! All facilities are completely wheelchair and pram accessible.
Gibraltar Range National Park - 2.5hrs from Coffs HarbourView this post on Instagram
About halfway between Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay, then inland an hour is Gibraltar Range National Park. Here you’ll find the Lyrebird Falls walking track. Park at the Boundary Falls Picnic Area and make your way through the ancient Gondwana forest on the mostly flat, 2km track (with occasional steps). The scenic lookout at the end of the track serves up cascading views; gorgeous waterfalls over Boundary Creek.
Heard something strange? If you’re lucky, it might be the shy Lyrebird up to some tricks…
Did you know? Lyrebirds are super crafty in the field of vocal mimicry. They’ve been recorded portraying chainsaws, car engines, fire alarms, rifle-shots, camera shutters, and crying babies. In the remote wilderness, the Lyrebird mostly mimic other birds such as the Kookaburra and the Satin bower bird, have also been known to falsify the calls of koalas, dingos, and other native animals.
Hunter Wetlands National Park - 2hrs from SydneyView this post on Instagram
The Hunter Wetlands, The Welcome walk is in the Ash Island precinct of the National Park. You can park at the info shelters where the walk begins. From here it’s an easy, flat (with occasional steps) 1km, one-way boardwalk trip above the saltwater wetlands of the Hunter River estuary. The area is a rich haven for animal life – both above and below the water. Over 200 bird species live here, 45 of them migrating internationally each year. Below your feet: fish nurseries, crabs,… sea celery! All the wonders of the mangrove saltmarsh – kids love it!
Did you know? Many visitors say spring is the best time to visit – delicate cream-covered flowers adorn the mangroves at this time of year.
Budderoo National Park - 2hrs from Sydney
On your next trip down South, head to Budderoo National Park and the lush and enchanting 1.6km Rainforest loop walk. It’s easy going with a few short, steep hills and occasional steps. Skip over suspension bridges enveloped in green. Pause at the elevated viewing platforms – you’ll see strangler figs strangling, colourful orchids and huge birds nest ferns. Spot king parrots, lyrebirds and eastern water dragons. This is an Avatar adventure! Start out at the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre where parking is available.
That wraps up 5 of the best – and most easy going – walks in NSW National Parks. Small investment – big thrills. Happy (outdoor) days.
Please note: Before heading out on your next green adventure, plan to visit outside of busy periods (11am to 2pm) and check the National Parks and Wildlife Service website for alerts – parks may be closed at short notice due to poor weather or hazard reduction burns.