Australia is full of natural beauty – stunning landscapes, multitudes of wonderful flora and fauna species. But ever wondered what’s stopping us turning it all into hotel resorts, car parks and golf courses? It’s simple: laws. Now legislation is pretty hard to understand at the best of times, and at 302 pages, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife (NPW) Act 1974 (No. 80) is packed with pure nature protection laws. Check out Section 2A of the Act, and you’ll find the heart of it – the four ‘objects’, or principles, which underpin NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services’ (NPWS) purpose.

  • 1/4

    The conservation of nature

    Aerial view of dense NSW national park bushland. Photo: DPIE
    Photo Information


    Nature – it’s in our DNA. Know the feeling of biophilia? Defined as the ‘innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other life forms’, it’s that urge you get to be surrounded by green and breathe crisp, clean air. Are you familiar with the tension you feel when you stay indoors or a city for too long? Yes – national parks are the answer and luckily, our parks are defended by the Act. The Act specifies that national parks exist to protect habitats, ecosystems, biological diversity, landforms, landscapes and natural features, including wilderness. Yep, the land, the flora and the fauna – all protected under law by skilled and experienced rangers all over the state.

  • 2/4

    The conservation of objects, places or features and landscapes of cultural value

    Red Hands Cave in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: DPIE
    Photo Information

    Red Hands Cave in Blue Mountains National Park

    Blue Mountains National Park


    Our purpose doesn’t just stop at the awesome NSW nature. Not to be confused with the other ‘objects’ (legal speak), NPWS is also charged with the huge responsibility of protecting a range of sites that conserve Aboriginal culture in NSW.  Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for tens of thousands of years, and NSW is home to Australia’s largest Aboriginal population. NPWS is also to protect many places and features of cultural and social value, and historic, architectural and scientific significance, ensuring they remain protected for generations to come.

  • 3/4

    Fostering public appreciation, understanding and enjoyment

    NPWS field officer in light rain. Photo: Branden Bodman/DPIE
    Photo Information

    Branden Bodman/DPIE

    Yes – another core part of the amazing Act is keeping the biophilia alive – by encouraging us all to care about, value, understand and enjoy nature. But it doesn’t stop there. Aboriginal culture and heritage are central to the mission and mandate of NSW National Parks so we encourage visitors to get out there and learn more about Aboriginal culture, nature, history and heritage. Luckily for us, there are already communities out there enjoying NSW national parks. So why not join them? Get out there, take your friends and family and cherish it.

  • 4/4

    The management of ecologically sustainable places for public recreation

    Landscape view of the mountains in Dorrigo National Park. Photo: Branden Bodman/DPIE
    Photo Information

    Dorrigo National Park

    Branden Bodman/DPIE

    But wait – there’s more! We also manage around 9% of the state’s land reserves, ensuring its ecological sustainability. Think rangers and field staff, behind the scenes, working day in day out to preserve the land and wildlife. From coast to desert, rainforest to rivers, all over the state, teams of staff, fire officers and volunteers tirelessly plug away to save the lives of humans and animals alike. And they do this according to Plans of Management, which are comprehensive, meticulous documents laying out how to achieve the ultimate goal of conservation. These Plans of Management are teamed with fire management strategies to cover the protection and conservation of wildlife and property across all NSW national parks.

The National Parks and Wildlife Act – it’s not a quick read, but it is pretty critical for the preservation of nature and culture for the generations to come. So get out there – NSW national parks are yours to discover, enjoy and cherish!