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

Jounama Creek Walk, Kosciuszko NP

An easy walk up the picturesque Jounama Creek in Kosciuszko National Park near Talbingo. Ends at a swimming hole and some big rocks.

Main Range Walk & Mt Townsend, Kosciuszko National Park

The Main Range Track is Australia’s highest walk, passing through rare alpine vegetation, and taking in a number of glacial lakes and Australia’s most extensive views. A side trip to Mt Townsend (2210m) is well worth it.

Mount Sentinel via Blue Lake & Mt Twynam

Some of Australia’s best scenery on this long and varied walk to Mount Sentinel in Kosciuszko National Park, where there are fabulous views of the dramatic Western Fall.

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk

The Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk is the longer of two day-walk options to the summit of Australia’s highest mountain, at 2228m.

Mt Stilwell Track, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

An excellent short walk from Charlotte Pass to Mt Stilwell (2040m) for great views of the Main Range and over an alpine plateau strewn with countless boulders.

South Coast

Macquarie Rivulet & Cascades Walks, Macquarie Pass NP

Two short walks through rainforest in Macquarie Pass National Park. You visit a small waterfall and walk up a scenic creek to a swimmable pool.

Monolith Valley to Nibelung Pass, Budawangs

The long but interesting walk into Monolith Valley will reward the enthusiastic hiker with 360 degree views of large rocky outcrops and shear cliffs.

Mount Bushwalker Track

A relatively straightforward walk to extensive views of the Budawangs Mountain Range in Morton National Park.

Narrawallee Nature Creek Circuit

A very pleasant walk through open forest, along long beaches and over colourful rocky headlands. And you’ll likely come across various birdlife along the way.

Pretty Beach to Pebbly Beach Circuit

This longish circuit in Murramarang National Park takes in an attractive stretch of the NSW South Coast, and also climbs to the top of the forested Durras Mountain.

West of the Blue Mountains

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP

Some of the best views in NSW on this easy enough walk in Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the south-west corner of the Greater Blue Mountains area. There are impressive cliffs, deep valleys, and karst landforms.

Waterfall Walk (Kalang Falls), Kanangra-Boyd NP

A very short (but steep) walk to the picturesque Kalang Falls. Worth doing if you are visiting the Kanangra Walls area.

New England

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Far Western NSW

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Clickable map of Australian walks…