Best national parks near Sydney


Sydney attracts motorhome travellers from far and wide keen to enjoy not only its bustling urban vibe but also the natural wonders of its national parks. There are hundreds of national parks in and around Sydney. Some are remote and rugged; others sit on the city doorstep. But each offers something unique and beautiful to make your Australian road trip unforgettable.

The best way to make the most of your national park adventure is to book a campervan hire with maui. Pick up your camper from maui’s Sydney branch and you can be enjoying nature at its finest in less than an hour. 

Not sure which of Sydney’s national parks to visit first? In this blog, we’ll take a look at five of the best national parks near Sydney worth adding to your travel itinerary.  

Oysters Family at the beach Salad

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The weather in Sydney

Sydney’s climate is generally sunny with warm summers and mild winters. Here’s what you can expect each season:

  • Summer (December – February): 18.6 - 25.8°C. Summer is the perfect time for hitting the beaches and lakes.

  • Autumn (March – May):  14.6 - 22.2°C. The fresh, crisp air of Sydney’s autumn makes this season ideal for coastal walks. It’s also a good time to spot humpback whales as they migrate north. 

  • Winter (June – August):  8.8 - 17°C. Sydney’s rainfall is usually highest in June with July being the coolest month. 

  • Spring (September – November):  11 - 23°C. The weather in Sydney during spring is warm but without the humidity of summer. This is the season to enjoy the wildflowers and blossoms abundant in many national parks. 


Entry fees for Sydney national parks

Most national parks in Sydney and New South Wales require you to pay a vehicle entry fee. This fee helps contribute to vital park management, environmental protection, and the maintenance of visitor services and facilities.

If you plan to visit multiple national parks, it’s a good idea to buy a park pass to save money and time.


Camping in Sydney national parks

There’s no better way to escape the city hustle and bustle than by camping in one of the incredible national parks near Sydney. From beaches and lakes to unspoilt bushlands, there are loads to choose from. Some have facilities such as rainwater tanks, flushing toilets, and showers. While others have very basic facilities without power or running water. 

There are also some great caravan parks to park up where you can charge up your camper and make use of laundry facilities etc. Note, camping fees apply at most campgrounds and need to be booked online in advance.

Aboriginal culture and heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for over 40,000 years. New South Wales is home to Australia's largest Aboriginal population. In many of Australia’s national parks, there are Aboriginal places of significance. These range from small ceremonial sites to mountains and valleys. When staying in a national park, it’s important to respect the Aboriginal culture at protected sites. A good way to learn more is to book an Aboriginal cultural tour.     

Caring for wildlife and the environment

National parks in Sydney are home to a diverse range of wildlife and fauna. If you’re visiting or camping, chances are you’ll get to meet some of the animals who live there. A few points to note about caring for our wildlife:

  • Dogs and other domestic pets are not permitted in New South Wales national parks.

  • Our national parks are refuges for wildlife. Please respect their home. Take all waste and rubbish with you. Don’t leave food scraps that they may eat as this could be unsafe for them.

  • If you find an injured animal in a national park, please contact the right people who can help. You may like to download IFAW’s Wildlife Rescue app. This app will help you find the closest licensed wildlife rescue group.

  • Follow paths so that you avoid disturbing fragile ecosystems that may be home to wildlife.

  • Don’t pick flowers or remove logs and fauna – these are food sources and homes for bees, insects, and other creatures.  

Bush fire safety

New South Wales is one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world. So it’s worth checking for fire updates and being familiar with fire safety tips. Due to the bushfire risk, not all national parks in Sydney allow campfires. For those that do, it’s important to understand campfire safety rules. Be sure to check the park’s signage or check the rules online before you light a fire. 

Your maui campervan hire comes with a fire extinguisher on board. If you’ve checked that it’s okay to light a campfire, take the time to become familiar with how to use the extinguisher, just in case. Keep a full bucket of water (at least 10 litres) next to the fire so that you can fully extinguish it once you’re finished.


The best national parks near Sydney

Ready to explore Sydney’s national parks? Here are our top picks: 

Royal National Park

Driving distance from Sydney CBD: 40 minutes

Sitting halfway between Sydney and Wollongong, Royal National Park is one of the world’s oldest national parks. This beautiful park spans 15,000 hectares comprising beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and ancient Aboriginal sites. The park is a great spot for walking and cycling with some excellent trails through bushland and along clifftops. For an easy hike, head along the Forest Path. This lovely 4.4 km loop track will take you past a variety of native plants, flowers, and birdlife and is suitable for all fitness levels. If you visit the park between May and November, head to Governor Game Lookout to spot humpback whales. 

A great spot to park up your camper is the riverside Bonnie Vale campground. This family-friendly campsite offers powered sites, barbecue facilities, showers, and toilets. Remember to book ahead. 


Sydney Harbour National Park

Driving distance from Sydney CBD: 1 hour

Encompassing Sydney Harbour’s islands and foreshore, the Sydney Harbour National Park has something for everyone. From superb swimming spots to military fortifications, you’ll find some of the best things to do in Sydney right here. A popular activity is a walk to the historic Hornby Lighthouse. Standing tall at South Head, near Watsons Bay, this iconic red and white striped tower is surrounded by incredible views. It’s also a great spot for whale watching during winter. Another must-do of this national park is a visit to Goat Island where you can learn about Sydney’s colourful convict past. Take the 1.5 km tour of the island and discover intriguing tales of punishment, death, and escape.

For a relaxing stay, book into NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park. This great park has all the must-haves for a fun family holiday including a water park, games room, laundry, barbecue pavilions and more.  


Blue Mountains National Park

Driving distance from Sydney CBD: 1 hour

This World Heritage-listed national park sits on Sydney’s doorstep yet feels a million miles away. Blue Mountains National Park is home to the famous Three Sisters, iconic lookouts, and magnificent waterfalls. Certified as an Ecotourism Destination, the park has 140 km of walking tracks and trails. To see the park from a great height, head to Scenic World. Take the 510-metre cableway journey into the Jamieson Valley where you’ll have first-class views of the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock and Mt Solitary.

Park up your campervan at Katoomba Tourist Park. The park has all the must-have facilities for a comfy stay. It is also ideally located within walking distance of Echo Point, Scenic World, and Katoomba township. 


Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Driving distance from Sydney CBD: 40 minutes

Australia’s second-oldest national park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a favourite for locals and visitors alike. This park not only offers beautiful landscapes and scenery but also numerous significant Aboriginal sites. To experience the best of both, take the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. Along the way, discover the best-known site in the park, Red Hands Cave. As you continue on the track, you’ll come across impressive rock engravings and a historic occupation shelter. 

Set in the bushlands of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Terrey Hills Caravan Park is a welcoming spot to set up camp. The park has laundry and kitchen facilities and is surrounded by beaches and bush.  


Dharawal National Park

Driving distance from Sydney CBD: 1.5 hours

The ancient landscape of Dharawal National Park encompasses tall eucalypts, swamps, waterfalls and rockpools, and special Aboriginal sites. For a relaxing afternoon, pack a picnic lunch and discover the beauty and history of the 2.4 km (return) Minerva Pool Walking Track. This special walk leads to a pristine waterhole with a cascading waterfall. As you walk along the track you may see some of the swamp wallabies or yellow-tailed black cockatoos that call this spot home.

Relax in the comfortable setting of the Poplar Tourist Park in Camden. Park up under a shady tree and make use of the great onsite facilities including a laundry, kitchen, barbecues, and a fully equipped recreation room. 


Ready to explore the best national parks near Sydney?

We hope you’re inspired to add some of these awesome Sydney national parks to your road trip travel itinerary. And the very best way to make the most of each is with a maui campervan hire. Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty and explore the sights and sounds at your own pace, all while enjoying the comfort and freedom of a campervan.

At maui, we have a wide range of motorhomes and campervans available for hire that are perfect for your next Australian road trip. Keen to start exploring? Book your campervan online, pick it up at our Sydney branch and get ready to hit the road!

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