There are over over 225 national parks and 890 national parks and reserves in NSW – the second-most of any state in Australia (although this may change as new parks are gazetted). The first national park in Australia was the Royal National Park, created in 1879 and only the second in the world at the time. There are over 60 million annual national park visits, with the most popular parks being Royal (6.1m visits), Ku-ring-gai Chase (3.9m) and Sydney Harbour (2.4m) based on a 2018 survey. Bushwalking and other outdoor activities are also possible in many of the 68 State Forests and 34,000 Crown reserves across NSW.
- National Parks are managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, with over 7.5m hectares of public land. Many have an entry free, and an annual pass can be purchased. Dogs are generally not allowed.
- State Forests are managed by the the Forestry Corporation of NSW, with over 2.2m hectares under management. They are free to visit with fewer restrictions (dogs and 4WD-driving allowed and usually camping anywhere away from roads)
- Crown Reserves support a wide range of uses and include bush reserves as well as sport fields and parks. View Crown Reserves Directory.
The second largest state of Australia, Queensland has the highest number of national parks – 237 national parks as at 2020. Unfortunately, Queensland has the least amount of area as a percentage that is protected (when you include other areas like nature reserves and conservation parks). Unlike most other other states, there is no entry fee for any national parks – but you need to make a Camping Booking and pay a fee for most campsites and get a Vehicle Access Permit for Bribie Island, K’gari (Fraser Island), Mulgumpin (Moreton Island), Cooloola and Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) recreation areas.
The Northern Territory has over 80 national parks and reserves, covering over 5 million hectares. They range from dry desert landscapes to tropical forests. Most are managed by the NT Government, except for Kakadu and Uluru which are managed by Parks Australia (a federal government agency). A Parks Pass fee applies to national and international visitors.