Domestic visitation to NSW national parks
How many domestic visits in 2014 compared to 2012?
In 2014, park visitation was estimated at a total of 39.1 million, accrued from 31.4 million adult and 7.7 million child visits. This is an increase of 10.3% on 2012 results (35.4 million).
|PWG Park Visitation by Year||2008||2010||2012||2014
What parks do they visit?
In terms of volume of visits Blue Mountains national park re-gained its top position in 2014 with 4.2 million visits. This was followed by Royal national park 3.2 million visits, Ku-ring-gai Chase national park 2.6 million, Lane Cove national park 2.1 million and Sydney Harbour national park 1.9 million.
Table 1 Top 10 national parks
Visits by National Parks and Wildlife Service Branch
In 2014, Metropolitan and Mountains branches represented 52% of all visits, up from 50% in 2012, followed by Coastal Branch. Park visits to the Western Branch increased to their highest levels recorded to 1.4 million visits.
Table 2 Park visits by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Branch
Intrastate visitation comprised 91.8% of all visits, while interstate visitation comprised 8.2% of visits.
Table 3 Origin of visits
Age and sex of visits
As in the previous years, males (55%) were more likely to visit parks than females in 2014.
Visits by 18-24 year olds (10%) were underrepresented compared to the population (12%).
Visits by 25-34 year olds are underrepresented (18%) compared to the population (19%). This underperformance is largely driven by males.
Visits by 35-49 year olds (29%) are consistently greater compared to their proportion in the population (26%). This is predominantly driven by males in this age group.
Fifty-plus year olds: the proportion of visits from this group (42%) was the same as their proportion of the population (42%). This is due to the substantial contribution of males as females are significantly underrepresented.
Table 4 Age and sex of visits
What do visitors do?
Walking is consistently the most commonly named activity undertaken in Parks and Wildlife Group (PWG) parks at 49%. This has however, dropped from the level quoted in 2012 (56%). Walking is followed by water-based recreation (20%) and picnicking/dining which also declined significantly year on year (11%).
Camping and accommodation, exercise and sport and cycling are the next most popular activities. Sixteen per cent of respondents nominated an activity other than those listed.
Table 5 On park visitor activities
How satisfied are visitors?
Satisfaction with park visits in 2014 was even higher than in previous years, with an overwhelming 94% of visitors being satisfied to very satisfied.
Table 6 Overall visitor satisfaction with park visit
How many children visit?
Child visits to PWG parks rose to their highest level in 2014 totalling 7.6 million visits (6.7 million - 2008; 6.5 million - 2010; 6.6 million - 2012). Child visits contributed 20% of total visits in 2014, whereas in previous years the contribution has been 17-18% of all visits.
From 2008 to 2012 estimated child visits have remained relatively stable by age. In 2014 however, estimated visits for children aged 0-11 years jumped from 3.9 million to 4.6 million visits. This was primarily due to increases in visits from 6-11 year olds (from 2.0 million visits in previous years to 2.5 million visits in 2014).
Table 7 Estimated child visits by age
Source of data
NPWS used a telephone survey to collect this data. More than 1200 people were interviewed every four weeks in 2014, giving a total of 15,647 interviews. Respondents from NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT were asked about NSW parks they had visited within the last four weeks.
Read the full report on Annual Visits to PWG Managed Parks in New South Wales (PDF 3.3MB)
This survey will be repeated in 2016 to track changes to our domestic visitation.
The study was based on a survey method developed by Parks Victoria. OEH wishes to acknowledge the generosity of Parks Victoria in sharing their experiences and the method.
Page last updated: 15 September 2015