The Best Places to go Bushwalking in NSW

The Best Places to go Bushwalking in NSW

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If you are into hiking, or simply walking in nature, the state of New South Wales has plenty of options. I love nothing like escaping city life to take adventurous hikes in the wilderness… Not to mention exploring walking tracks in Sydney. Whether you are keen on a coastal walk or an adventure deep in the forest, there is hike for you. Here is my list of the best places to go bushwalking in NSW.

The Best Places to go Bushwalking in NSW

In a period of little or no travel, I’ve had to refocus my attention on local destinations. I’ve always been into hiking but I now take it more seriously. I have my sights set on the Royal National Park coastal walk and I would love to do some Blue Mountains day hikes. I have covered a few of the best hikes in Sydney, including the harbour walks. And of course, I have done a number of NSW walks. 

Hiking Packing List

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For your NSW bushwalking, you need a hiking gear essentials. NSW bush walks require a minimum of preparation and having good bushwalking shoes, plenty of water, a good camera and sun protection is absolutely necessary.

Hiking Tips for beginners

Before you embark on the trail, make someone knows where you are going. This is one of my beginner hiking tips and I also use it when I go on Sydney national park walks. It happens way to often that people get lost and take days to be found because they failed to share their plans with a friend… I also make sure I have a spare power source for my phone, just to make sure I don’t run out of battery.

Bouddi National Park

North of Sydney, the NSW Central Coast is a peaceful suburban haven dotted with waterways and national parks. I discovered the Bouddi coastal walk a few years ago, famous for its spectacular coastal walk. It’s a 95-km drive from Sydney, perfect for a day trip or a relaxing weekend. There are several Bouddi National Park walks however the best one is the Bouddi coast walk. The distance from Putty Beach to McMasters Beach is only 8,5 km and it’s a hard track. For accommodation on the Central Coast, this beach house in Terrigal is a good option.

You can do some bushwalking on the NSW Central Coast
Bouddi Coastal Walk

Most walkers start the walk at Putty Beach, where parking and picnic facilities are available. The track follows the coast in a mix of boardwalk, stairs, fire trail, bush track and beach. The start of the walk is quite moderate and you can admire a stunning example of tessellated pavement. A little further on, the colours in the sandstone are an icon of Central Coast bush walks. Most people only walk as far as Maitland Bay, which is a charming little beach.

Maitland Bay is a lovely beach of the Bouddi National Park
Maitland Bay – Bouddi National Park

On my second visit to Bouddi National Park, I decided to walk all the way to McMasters Beach and realised that the track becomes a lot harder after Bouddi Head. But it’s also very rewarding. The track climbs and descends in the heath and the views of the coast are absolutely stunning.

The coloured rocks are a feature of Bouddi National Park
Bouddi National Park

I took a detour to Third Point, which is a great spot for whale watching. The views extend to Broken Bay and Barrenjoey Headland in Sydney’s metropolitan area. After that, the walk is mostly flat on soft fire trail, until the final descent to McMasters Beach. I did the walk in winter and the sun was still pretty harsh, so don’t forget to take a hat, water and appropriate sun protection.

The Bouddi Coastal walk also has some good fire trails
Bouddi Coastal Walk fire trail

When you get to McMasters Beach, the access to the beach is a little hard to find but it was nice to rest and have lunch at the local cafe. Since there is no public transport at McMasters Beach, I chose to head back to Putty Beach on the track. It was a pretty big day and demanding track, and you can take an Uber or taxi back.

Overall, this tough track is diverse and really beautiful, well worth the effort.

Kiama Coast Walk

Kiama is a small town on the NSW South Coast, some 120 km south of Sydney. It’s an easy day trip from Sydney but I also rate it for a weekend getaway from Sydney. There are many things to do in Kiama NSW and the coastal walk is probably one of the best hikes in NSW. The walk is 22-km long, from Minnamura to Gerringong. The recommendation is to do it over three days and split it this way:

  • Minnamura to Blowhole Point: 8,4 km, 3 hours, medium track
  • Blowhole Point to Loves Bay: 5 km, 1,5 hours, medium to hard track
  • Loves Bay to Gerringong: 6 km, 2 hours, medium to hard track.

I did the coastal walk over two days, combining the two last sections, and it’s perfectly doable. What’s more, the public transport options work perfectly that way with the local train. For accommodation, this house in Kiama Downs has beautiful ocean views.

The Kiama Coast Walk is on the best places to go bushwalking in NSW
Kiama Coast Walk

The Kiama coastal walk is beautiful all the way but the two sections are slightly different. The first half, from Minnamura to Blowhole Point, goes through the suburbs a bit and requires some beach walking. Jones Beach was a little taxing has the sand was quite soft. On the way, don’t miss Cathedral Rocks at the southern end of Jones Beach and Bombo Quarry. Both places are renowned as fantastic photography spots at sunrise. I made the effort and was wowed by Bombo Quarry.

Bombo Quarry is one of the best things to see in Kiama
Bombo Quarry – Kiama

After that, Bombo Beach has the most inviting surf and there are great views of Kiama Lighthouse. At the end of the trek, I enjoyed a meal on Collins Street, in the historical cottages.

On the second day, I started at Blowhole Point near the lighthouse. The blowhole is one of the best Kiama attractions but doesn’t always perform… This second section of the walk is even more beautiful. At the beginning, the track follows the coast alternating headlands and beaches. Kiama caravan parks are very neat! After Loves Bay, which is a little rocky beach, the landscape becomes more barren, leaving the houses behind. This is the last opportunity to get water and bathroom facilities and the track is quite exposed to sun and wind all the way to Gerringong.

Don't miss the lighthouse when you do the Kiama coastal walk
Kiama Lighthouse

There were fewer walkers on this section of the track, which was much more rural. Still, I found it to be incredibly beautiful. Combining the two southern sections makes for a longer walk, allow 4 to 5 hours from Kiama to Gerringong. I think next time I might try the opposite direction, Gerringong to Kiama coastal walk!

Blue Mountains National Park

Located 80 km west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains of Australia on the World Heritage List and the most visited national park in New South Wales. Famous for its numerous Blue Mountains lookouts, this area is home to dreamy waterfalls and deep valleys stretching out to the horizon. Caves and rock formations such as the Three Sisters in Echo Point are a landmark of this landscape, something you can’t miss when hiking in the Blue Mountains. For accommodation in the Blue Mountains, try this Luxe Loft.

There are some beautiful lookouts in the Blue Mountains
Megalong Valley – Blue Mountains

The eerie “blue haze” that floats over the valleys is a real thing, created by the eucalyptus oil emanating from the trees and mixing with the ambient air… There are some great hikes in the Blue Mountains, including the Grand Canyon, a moderate 6,5 km track. The Six-Foot Track is a three-day hike, 46-km long… Another famous walk is the National Pass, a hard 4,5-km loop. 

The views of the Blue Mountains are stunning when you go on a bushwalking
Jamison Valley – Blue Mountains

There are all sorts of walks in the Blue Mountains, from easy paved footpaths to hard, multi-day hikes. Check out the NSW National Parks website for track closures due to repairs and bushfire damage, and if you miss out, there are other activities in the Blue Mountains.

Pigeon House Mountain in Morton National Park

I always like to include a hike when I go away… On a weekend in Mollymook, I hiked up to Pigeon House Mountain Dithul Walking Track in Morton National Park. Visible from a distance in the Budawang Wilderness, this recognisable peak was named by Captain James Cook in 1770. I stayed at this Mollymook studio while I was there.

The Pigeon House Mountain track is hard but worth it for the views
Pigeon House Mountain

Starting at the picnic area off Yadboro Road, the track is pretty steep all the way and even includes some ladders. This means this track is best done in dry weather, things could be very slippery… The track meanders through forest, heathland and sandstone, with a few clearings allowing for panoramic views of the cliffs and gorges within the Budawang Wilderness.

The Budawang Wilderness is perfect for hiking in NSW
Budawang Wilderness – Morton National Park

Once you get to the top, the viewing platform is not very big and there is a narrow “balcony” for coastal views. We had a small picnic at the top and enjoyed the views. On a clear day, you can see as far as Jervis Bay and Bermagui. Note that this walk is quite taxing, so I recommend allowing enough time for several stops and carrying plenty of water. This is the habitat of lyrebirds, you might hear their unique song on your walk! Next time I visit the Morton National Park, I will try the Fitzroy Falls walks.

Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in Budderoo National Park

The NSW South Coast used to be covered in rainforest and some pockets still remain, which you can visit through bushwalking tracks. A fabulous example of this unique ecosystem, the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre is in the Kiama area, on Jamberoo Road. The Falls Walk goes all the way to the Minnamurra Falls. It’s a hard track due to its steepness but the footpath is easy to walk on, being either paved, boardwalk or a comfortable bush track. Thankfully, there are several benches along the way if you need to rest.

Minnamura Rainforest has a unique bushwalking trail
Minnamura Rainforest

The main reason for walk this track is to experience the unique atmosphere of the rainforest. The trickling streams, moss-covered rocks and feathered ferns create a peaceful and dreamy feel. When you get to the lookout overlooking the rainforest canopy and the waterfall, it’s as if the effort of the climb ebbs away in the ambient peacefulness… Another massive attraction is the presence of lyre birds. I had one running in front of me on the track for a period of time.. And even captured the mating song of a male, complete with the unique tail feathers…

Barren Grounds Nature Reserve in Budderoo National Park

Little-known Budderoo National Park has more than one hiking trail to charm you. The Barren Grounds Nature Reserve is on the escarpment of the NSW Southern Highlands. Access is via Jamberoo Road, coming from the township of Robertson. There is a well-appointed picnic area with tables, facilities and even a hut if you want to stay overnight in the area. There are several walks in the area, we did the Griffiths Trail, which is a moderate 8-km loop in the heath. If you extend to Cook’s  Nose to enjoy the stunning views, it would add 5 kms.

The Barren Grounds Nature Reserve is quite remove in the NSW Southern highlands
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve – Cooks Nose

The track is very pleasant, passing by the Illawara Lookout. The stone bridge is notable as it is a natural sandstone bridge over the stream. We started this walk in the fog and the weather gradually cleared to reveal blue skies… Indeed, the weather can change quite quickly in that area. The Barren Grounds are very popular for bird watching. This is also the spot where I got my first tick, bushwalking NSW has some downsides…

Wild Walks

There are so many walks I want to do in NSW… I need to plan some Blue Mountains adventures and I would love to try some Hunter Valley walks… The Great North Walk is a multi-day walk and is on my list for when I start camping and hiking…

Do you have any tips for great bush walks in New South Wales? Tell me in the comments below!

Save these NSW bushwalking tips on Pinterest!

This is a great list of places to go bushwalking in NSW
Bushwalking in NSW is a great thing to do in your spare time
This is my list of the best places to go bushwalking in NSW

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24 Comments

  1. Danik

    December 7, 2020 at 9:48 am

    OK, as a hiker (in Europe) who has never hiked in Australia, and wants to hike there, in NSW, I really don’t know where to start. All these suggestions look totally amazing. I love the looks of the Bouddi coastal walk (I love strolls along the coastline) but I also love a challenge and hit up the mountains and the Blue Mountains look ideal. Hiking, beer and a good time is what I like and NSW is a place I really should hit up soon. Have bookmarked this page for future reference.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 7, 2020 at 10:53 am

      Walking around Sydney and the Blue Mountains are probably the most obvious choices for first time travellers to NSW. And don’t forget to do a coastal walk, the NSW coast is absolutely amazing!

  2. Candy

    December 9, 2020 at 5:54 am

    I’ve only attempted short hikes as I don’t know I can handle really long ones. However, with these amazing views, I would probably give it a try. I boardwalk on Bouddi Coastal Walk is so perfect. I wish there was something like this around the coast where I live in Southern California.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 9, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      Surely there are some good hikes around Southern California, maybe you have to venture out a bit more. I now try and find a nature walk whenever I travel.

  3. Jeff Albom

    December 9, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    I have been to Sydney many times but have not ventured too far out of the city (and all of its attractions). As I have wanted to see the Blue Mountains for a while, I think I would do one of the short to medium walks in the area. I never knew why there was a blue haze in the valleys. Thanks for the explanation.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 9, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      Oh, I hope next time you spend some time outside of Sydney. There are so many great walks within two hours of the city… The Blue Mountains are especially popular with visitors and for good reason!

  4. Suzanne

    December 11, 2020 at 12:16 am

    I love hiking and these would definitely be on my hit list had we made it to NSW this year. I love coastal walks, especially the drama and cragginess of the Kiama coastal walk but the Blue Mountains are stunning too.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 11, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Craggy is a perfect term for the Kiama Coast Walk! I loved alternating small beaches and headlands, it’s definitely one of the best walks I’ve done so far!

  5. Kerry Heaney

    December 11, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    So many beautiful places to explore. Thank you for sharing this list. It’s a great reference for my next trip to New South Wales.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 13, 2020 at 8:48 am

      Thanks Kerry, I have so many more walks to explore in NSW!

  6. sam

    December 12, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Oooohh these walks look really good! If I’m ever in NSW i’ll be sure to check these out 😀

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 13, 2020 at 8:46 am

      I always plan some walking when I travel, it’s such a nice way to see the land!

  7. Andrea Cannon

    December 13, 2020 at 4:52 am

    These look like such beautiful places!

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 13, 2020 at 8:46 am

      NSW is really good for hiking, I especially love the coastal walks!

  8. Ophelie

    December 13, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Those hikes look so amazing! I really appreciate all the landscapes we can see in your photos!

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 13, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you, we are spoiled for beautiful scenery in Australia!

  9. Sharyn

    December 13, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Great list of walks. I did Pigeon House walk once and as I spend a lot of time on the South Coast of NSW I often do walks around Kiama. And I hope to do more from your inspirational post.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 13, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Kiama is a wonderful part of the NSW South Coast, I really loved my time there. Hopefully I can go back soon and visit Seven Mile Beach.

  10. Linnea

    December 13, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    So beautiful! I’ve never heard of this area before, but saved it for a future trip!

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 14, 2020 at 11:49 am

      There is plenty to do in NSW, not just hiking. I’m sure a future trip will be very busy!

  11. Or Amir

    December 13, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Australia is such a dream destination of mine, and these views are amazing! Bouddi National Park looks so beautiful (and I wish I was there right now!).

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 14, 2020 at 11:50 am

      Bouddi National Park is really good, there are more walks I haven’t done yet. I hope to go back there early next year and continue my exploration!

  12. Ummi Nadrah

    December 15, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Wow, there are so many hiking options in NSW! I can’t believe I went there and didn’t do any. The coastal walk looks especially inviting.

    1. Delphine Mignon

      December 15, 2020 at 7:39 am

      The coastal walks in NSW are a great choice if you are visiting for the first time. Remember it for next time!

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