Regional NSW

The Castle Track, Morton NP

Introduction to Bushwalking in NSW

Although there’s still much to do, we’ve done excellent walks in regional NSW from the coast all the way to the outback. The Great Dividing Range runs down the east coast of Australia, and there many walks amongst these mountains, valleys and escarpments. The coast is dominated by sandy beaches. West of the Great Dividing Range is a mostly flat plateau that is used largely for agriculture, but there are still great walking destinations inland, like Warrumbungle National Park. Read on for more info, or go straight to a list of the walks. And if you want to learn about walking near Sydney, then go to the Around Sydney page.

Sophia climbing The Castle, with the tail of the Tadpole in the background, Morton National Park, NSW
Sophia climbing The Castle, with the tail of the Tadpole in the background, Morton National Park, NSW

It’s difficult to summarise walks in NSW because its a big and varied place, but many of our walks have been in areas that are similar to Sydney and surrounds: grand sandstone cliffs, thick Eucalypt forests, and sandy beaches. The main exceptions are the alpine walks in Kosciuszko National Park, which are described in more detail below, a few walks around the spectacular gorges of the New England Tablelands, and the walks we did on our first road trip to the outback. 

High point of the Pipeline Track, overlooking Wolgan Valley, NSW
High point of the Pipeline Track, overlooking Wolgan Valley, NSW

Finding Track Notes

There are guide books for various regions in NSW, and we used  Take a Walk in Southern NSW & the ACT by John and Lyn Daly, and Best Walks of the Southern Highlands and also of the Shoalhaven, both by John and Gillian Souter, for a number of walks in southern NSW. We’ve also used the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website, and the website Trail Hiking Australia is good for walks across the country.

The coast off Durras Mountain, Murramarang National Park, on the South Coast of NSW
The coast off Durras Mountain, Murramarang National Park, on the South Coast of NSW

Weather in NSW

The weather in NSW varies less between seasons than many places on Earth, but there are quite large variations between regions. The coastal areas are generally a bit milder and wetter; it can be humid up north. It drys out further inland to the west of the Great Dividing Range, and eventually becomes desert on the western edge of the state. There’ll be days in summer which are too hot for comfortable hiking, and this is particularly so in the west: definitely leave walking in the outback for autumn through to spring. Winter makes for pleasant walking in all but the alpine regions, although if you have the gear then get out in the snow too.

Kosciuszko National Park

Australia’s tallest mountains, including Mt Kosciuszko at 2228m, are situated in southern NSW bordering the state of Victoria, and offer alpine scenes that are pretty rare in Australia. The northern end of the park has some excellent walks at lower elevations.

Club Lake on the Main Range Track, Kosciuszko National Park
Club Lake on the Main Range Track, Kosciuszko National Park

One thing to note about walking in Kosciuszko National Park is that despite the high ground there are not really many big ascents. On the eastern side the land rises quite gradually, and it’s only the western side of the mountains-the Western Ranges-that are steep. It is possible to climb from about 400m of elevation to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, but the track is overgrown and it’s not a day return walk (Hannel’s Spur Track – I’ve never done it myself, just read about it). Instead you get a selection of walks through the vegetation of the high country, including attractive snow gums. Views off the western edge of the park are extensive, and can be seen on the classic Main Range Track, but not so much from the summit of Mt Kosciuszko itself. The ski town of  Jindabyne is a good base for these walks.

View from near Carruthers Peak (2145m) on the Main Range Track, Kosciuszko National Park
View from near Carruthers Peak (2145m) on the Main Range Track, Kosciuszko National Park

The northern end of the park is less famous, probably because of its lower elevation, but there is some unique scenery, not to mention a number of wild horses (known as brumbies). Tumut is a good place to stay for accessing the northern end of the park.

Nicole Gorge, Kosciuszko National Park
Nicole Gorge, Kosciuszko National Park

Kosciuszko National Park Track Notes

There are a number of guide books for this area, but we don’t go there enough to justify purchasing them, and found the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service resources were enough. Wildwalks describes some walks at the southern end of the park, and I have used a very old edition of the Geehi Bushwalking Club walking guide for a couple of the lesser known routes. 

Clarke Gorge, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW, Australia.
Clarke Gorge, Kosciuszko National Park

The Weather in Kosciuszko National Park

Summers are a bit cooler up high but you might be exposed in the alpine areas with little or no tree cover, so take a hat and sunscreen. The flies seem to go a bit ape in the high country summer, so be prepared for them too. They have proper winters in Kosciuszko National Park so definitely prepare for sub-zero temperatures and snowy conditions. They’re not called the Snowy Mountains for nothing.

The Walks in Regional NSW

You can browse through a list of the walks I’ve posted on so far…

Kosciuszko National Park

Mt Stilwell Track, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

Ten of my favourite bushwalks in the unique alpine and sub-alpine landscape of Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park.

Blowering Cliffs Track, Kosciuszko NP

There are waterfall, cliff and lake views on this shortish walk in Kosciuszko National Park near Tumut.

Buddong Falls Track, Kosciuszko NP

Views of the pretty spectacular Buddong Falls on this slightly out of the way but short walk near Talbingo in Kosciuszko National Park.

Bullocks Flat Circuit, Kosciuszko National Park

A pleasant circuit walk along a stretch of Thredbo River at Bullocks Flat. We saw quite a bit of wildlife in the area despite other walkers and cyclists.

Clarke Gorge Track, Kosciuszko NP

Pretty spectacular walking through Clarke Gorge in the northern section of Kosciuszko National Park (…but be prepared for wet feet).


South Coast

Bomaderry Creek Circuit, Bomaderry NSW

A very pleasant walk through a small but atmospheric gorge formed by Bomaderry Creek. There are rocky overhangs, small cliffs, and a variety of vegetation.

Byangee Walls Track, Morton National Park

Climbing through Byangee Walls to the summit plateau of Byangee Mountain in the Budawangs makes for an excellent day walk, and is a bit easier than the nearby ascent of the Castle, which looms overhead for part of the walk. Lots of cliffs along the route and great views from the top.

Drawing Room Rocks Track, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

This short but steep track provides easy access to extensive views of the NSW South Coast near Berry. Except not on the day we did it.

Granite Falls Track

A short walk to a rather unique copper coloured waterfall situated in Morton National Park, inland from Sussex Inlet.

Kangaroo Ridge Trail, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve

A long but flat walk in Barren Grounds Nature Reserve through heath and forest, with good views over the NSW South Coast from a couple of vantage points.


West of the Blue Mountains

Bluff Mountain & Grand High Tops Circuit, Warrumbungles

The must do circuit walk in the Warrumbungles, taking in famous views of the Breadknife from Grand High Tops, and a visit to Bluff Mountain (1200m) where there are more great views.

Ferntree Gully Reserve, near Rylstone NSW

The circuit walk through Ferntree Gully Reserve passes through a scenic gully containing interesting rainforest vegetation. This includes various types of ferns as the name suggests, as well as vines and trailing roots reaching down over rocks to find the ground below. There are also good views from above the gully. It’s a short but … Continue reading “Ferntree Gully Circuit, near Rylstone NSW”

Mt Exmouth via Burbie Canyon, Warrumbungles NSW

A long walk with excellent views from the summit over the whole of the Warrumbungles, although you might find the highlight are the huge numbers of fabulous grass trees in the final 200 vertical metres.

Pagoda Lookout Track, Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park

An excellent short walk on the Pagoda Lookout Track in Wollemi National Park, where there are views of rock pagodas & over the picturesque Cudgegong River.

Pipeline Track from Wolgan Valley

The Pipeline Track runs between two of the most spectacular valleys in NSW: Wolgan Valley to the east, and the more remote Capertee Valley to the west. In between, the excellent Pagoda Lookout provides views over the Wolgan Valley, and this was our turnaround point for the walk depicted here.

New England

Cathedral Rock & Woolpack Rocks, Cathedral Rock National Park

Lots of impressive boulders on this walk through Cathedral Rock National Park, and expansive views over the New England High Country.

Wollomombi & Chandler walking tracks, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Spectacular gorge scenery on these two shortish walks along the edge of Wollomombi Gorge in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

Apsley Gorge Rim Circuit, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

A very short and accessible walk around the rim of Apsley Gorge, with good views of Apsley Falls and the vertical walls of the gorge. 

Far Western NSW

Ephemeral lake walk, Broken Hill area

A walk along the foreshore of a shallow but expansive ephemeral lake somewhere in far western NSW, possibly a day trip from Broken Hill.

Mutawintji National Park Circuit

There’s proper outback scenery on this circuit walk in Mutawintji National Park, about 160km outside of Broken Hill in far western NSW.

Ngiyampaa walking track, Mount Grenfell Historic Site

The Ngiyampaa walking track takes you through mallee woodland to a trig point on Mt Grenfell for views over this typically flat section of western NSW.

Clickable map of Australian walks…