Five National Park Natural Wonders to Discover Near Sydney
Next time you're looking for an excuse to get out and take in some nature, make a day trip to one of these natural wonders.
March 08, 2022
In Sydney, you needn't travel too far to find some truly breathtaking natural wonders. Our national parks are filled with not only pristine beaches and adventurous walking tracks, but also magical sites. We're talking spots of awe-inspiring beauty that, at one glance, will carry you out of the ordinary.
On this list alone — which is only the tip of the iceberg — there's a towering waterfall, a panoramic lookout affording epic views, and giant-sized moving sand dunes.
All you have to do is jump in your car (or on a train) and make tracks.
WEST HEAD LOOKOUT, KU-RING-GAI CHASE NATIONAL PARK
There's no shortage of extraordinary vistas in Sydney, but West Head Lookout is one of the best. This mind-blowing spot gives you panoramas to the south over Pittwater, east over Barrenjoey Head and north to Broken Bay. Smack bang in the middle of it all is Lion Island, backdropped by the Central Coast's uncrowded beaches.
You could easily spend a day here, so it's a good idea to pack a picnic. To add some art, take a wander on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, along which is Red Hands Cave, where you'll see historic works from First Nations artists. Idyllic Resolute Picnic Area is nearby, too, as is the stunning and secluded Resolute Beach. West Head Lookout is a one-hour drive from the Sydney CBD, just off West Head Road.
BOUDDI COASTAL WALK, BOUDDI NATIONAL PARK
To see several of the Central Coast's wildest and most beautiful beaches, take the Bouddi Coastal Walk. This eight-kilometre adventure hugs the coastal edge of Bouddi National Park, beginning at Putty Beach in the south and ending at MacMasters in the north.
Stop by lookouts affording sweeping ocean views and rest at rainforest-encircled picnic spots. If it's low tide, see if you can spot the shipwreck of the PS Maitland at Maitland Bay. If you're keen to extend your visit, camp overnight at Putty Beach or Little Beach. It's also possible to split the trail into short sections, namely Putty Beach to Maitland Bay (three kilometres), Maitland Bay to Little Beach (3.5-kilometres) and Little Beach to MacMasters Beach (1.7-kilometres).
Note that a section of Bouddi coastal walk between Mount Bouddi walking track and Old Quarry trail is currently closed for upgrades until mid-May 2022. Check the website for more details.
STOCKTON SAND DUNES, WORIMI NATIONAL PARK
The 4200 hectares that make up Stockton Sand Dunes form the biggest system of sand dunes in Australia. Some are as high as 40 metres. You'll find them in the Worimi Conservation Lands, about 190 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD, just beyond Newcastle.
Adding to their beauty is their stunning location, foregrounded by Stockton Beach — which, at 32 kilometres, is the longest beach in New South Wales — and backdropped by 1800 hectares of forest. While you're there, consider a beachfront horse ride, a sandboarding session and/or a visit to Tin City, an 11-shack off-grid village that appeared in Mad Max (1979).
Note that Worimi Conservation Lands will remain closed until 10 March, 2022, due to extreme weather.
JENOLAN CAVES, BLUE MOUNTAINS
A classic for a reason, the Jenolan Caves are a long winding collection of stunning passageways. Located 175km west of Sydney, here you'll discover some of the most ridiculously beautiful rocks on the planet. There are nine caves altogether, filled with limestone formations, pristine underground rivers and secret chambers.
BELMORE FALLS, MORTON NATIONAL PARK
The area surrounding Kangaroo Valley is a haven for incredible waterfalls with both Fitzroy Falls and this towering beauty. Belmore Falls offers a wall of tall sandstone cliffs, plus a rewarding two-kilometre walking track with endless views of the surrounding bushland.
On your walk around the waterfall, take in the beauty of Australia's local flora and keep a lookout for sandstone flowers like the honey flower, banksia and wattle. The falls are located two hours south of Sydney with the option to venture back up through Wollongong and grab lunch or dinner at one of the city's beloved venues.
Top image: Destination NSW
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