National Parks of NSW Australia.
This was my first time really exploring the national parks of NSW, It was just my girlfriend and myself in my tiny Toyota Echo packed to the roof with surfing and camping gear.
We drove from The Victorian border to the border of Queensland bouncing between beaches, rainforests and national parks. We did this over about two months, which allowed us to explore a lot but we obviously could not see everything. We eventually drove over 2000kms after zigzagging between every beach and mountain we could find.
The walk to Protesters is super lush!
Before I go any further I will mention that a lot of the national parks have paid parking or the parks have entry fees and it is super beneficial if you buy a national parks pass from http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees/annual-passes I bought the multi parks pass. It is only $65 and lasts a whole year and allows you to go to every park except Kosciuszko. It is also extremely beneficial if you end up making your way to Byron Bay because it allows you to park at the 3 best beaches in town as well as Broken Head and Cape Byron Lighthouse.
Gulaga National Park.
We started on the South Coast in a little town called Narooma. Just outside of Narooma is a small town called Tilba and that backs onto Gulaga national park, which is home to Mt Gulaga. We decided to hike the mountain to see the sun rise from the top. The hike up took about 90 minutes at a pretty solid pace and we arrived to the saddle just before the sun. From there it’s a short walk to the top. Sun rise was incredible looking over the ocean through ancient gum trees. One of the nice things was that there was no one anywhere. We didn’t even pass anyone on the way down.
The view from the saddle on Mt Gulaga.
Brisbane Water National Park.
Despite the name Brisbane Water National Park is west of Gosford on the Central Coast of NSW. It is the home of Sommersby Falls which was a multi levelled set of falls that seem to get more amazing the further down you walk. Once you get to the end of the actual track you can continue down the river to a few more waterfalls that are a little less visited due to the fact that it gets off the actual track and people either do not know or just do not want to venture too much off the track which is already a little slippery.
All the falls here were really beautiful and the rainforest was incredibly lush. We packed a lunch and ate at the bottom of one of the falls off the track.
Ben Boyd National Park.
Nothing is visible at night in Ben Boyd National Park except the stars.
This one is a bit out of the way but if you’re on your way to Melbourne via the coast then I would strongly recommend turning off the highway south of Eden into Ben Boyd National Park. There is a few beautiful little beaches, views of the cliffs lining most of the coast and a super cute little light house. It is pretty quiet down here most of the time so any time of year is good but I would suggest early autumn. There is beach camping and if you are so inclined you can stay in the heritage lighthouse accommodation.
Ben Boyd National Park lighthouse.
Budderoo National Park.
Budderoo National Park was one of my favourites. There are so many different view points, waterfalls and nature walks it took us from sun up to sun down just to get a few of the things we wanted to see done.
Bellmore Falls looking super crispy.
We came in from the coast so our first stop was Carrington Falls. It is just a short walk from a dirt car park to three different viewing platforms. One track was closed when I was there due to a fire but I just parked on the other side of the river and walked across it. After that we continued to head west where we got to Bellmore Falls.
The view at the bottom of Bellmore Falls is just as amazing as the view from the top.
The highlight of Budderoo for me was Bellmore Falls. It is a set of two large cascading falls with a walking track down to the bottom of one of the falls. I think technically it is not allowed for people to go down there but I am not really sure as parts of it has a defined walking track and steps but we did have to step over a fence to get to the track. Bellmore Falls is incredibly beautiful and if you only have time for one stop in this area I would suggest this one.
The next place we went to was Fitzroy falls which was further west again from Bellmore Falls. There was a little more infrastructure here with a visitors centre, bathrooms and a café. The falls were really beautiful but a little more crowded than the others and personally the best part for me was getting to drive through Kangaroo Valley after.
Dorrigo National Park.
I had driven past Dorrigo National Park so many times and I had never stopped. My mission was always surfing though so why would I bother going inland right… Well I regret that decision terribly. Dorrigo National Park was one of the most incredibly lush rainforests I have ever been in. This is a pretty big call as well considering I spent half of my life living in Northern NSW and have spent a good amount of time in the Amazon and travelling through Colombia and Central America. How ever this was one of the most beautiful rainforest areas I have ever visited. We arrived very early in the morning and watched the sun rise from one of the viewing platforms on the way to the Crystal Shower Falls walk.
Dorrigo National Park is only an hour west of Coffs Harbour but it seriously feels a world away! The walk down to Crystal Falls is this incredible montage of greens and browns and reds and almost every other colour you could imagine finding in a rain forest walk.
Personally for me Dorrigo was my favourite and something that I would add to any list of things to do in Australia if you are visiting.
I will add this in here although technically not in Dorrigo. We headed further west of Dorrigo after we were finished to a place called Ebor Falls. It is located in the New England region of NSW on Waterfall Way. There was several waterfalls along this stretch of road that we visited and stopped at. They are all beautiful and worth a look if you have the time. I will just list them quickly here.
Ebor Falls flowing pretty hard after a lot of rain.
First was Ebor then another 30 or so minutes from there was Wollomombi Falls. Also close to Dorrigo is another one called Danger Falls. Wollomombi was a particular highlight and I have never seen anything like that in Australia before.
Wollomombi Falls was like nothing I had ever seen in Australia and I was upset I couldn’t capture it.
Nightcap National Park.
This one is pretty close to my heart being in the region where I have spent the last half of my life. I have explored this region a lot with close friends and had a lot of incredible times here over the years. It is such a beautiful part of the world.
Nightcap National Park is west of Byron Bay and if you are planning a trip up the east coast of Australia there is a good chance that Byron Bay is on your list. The region west of Byron holds some incredibly beautiful waterfalls and nature that is so dense and lush and just driving around out west with no particular destination will bring you through some amazing areas.
My little car making it down roads it probably should not have gone down.
Nightcap National Park in particular is home to two beautiful waterfalls. One is Minyon Falls and the other is Protesters Falls.
Protesters Falls. Again we didn’t swim and it is advised that you don’t. For the nature! 🙂
Minyon Falls has a nice large walk you can do around the entire waterfall region with swimming possible at the bottom of the falls. The falls themselves are 100 meters tall and break into a decent sized pool at the bottom with incredible rock formations formed at the base of the falls.
This is Minyon Falls and swimming is highly recommended and fully ok.
Protesters Falls in another part of Nightcap National Park. You park closiesh to the falls and then it is just about a 20 minute walk to the base of the falls. Now it is possible to swim here but I would strongly recommend not swimming because there is an endangered species of frog that only lives in a few places and Protesters is one of them but the walk itself is exquisite and the falls are amazing.
On a side note there are so many beautiful spots around the Byron and Northern Rivers region and it is worth doing some exploring of your own and you may find something incredible that has no one around.
Now this is just a few of the National Parks in NSW and just the ones I have chosen to write about. We missed a few and visited a few I didn’t write about but if we had have had the time I would have visited the Blue Mountains National Park and I regret missing that this time but hopefully in the not too distant future I will end up there!