Steps closer to Great Southern Walk

Construction has begun on the Great Southern Walk, a brand new multi-day experience that will take walkers on a 67-kilometre adventure through three magnificent coastal areas.

Coastline aerial view Royal National Park

Minister for Environment James Griffin said work is underway on the first section of the new track on the Illawarra Escarpment, linking Bald Hill with Stanwell Park.

"This is such an exciting project for New South Wales because it will be five-day experience like no other, traversing a spectacular route from Sydney's Kamay Botany Bay National Park, along the coastline of Royal National Park, then down to Bulli Tops in the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area," Mr Griffin said.

"Our NSW national parks already attract more than 60 million visits a year, and we know that more people are looking for unique, multi-day adventures in nature, which this walk will deliver.

"The Great Southern Walk is right on Sydney's doorstep, and the project is part of the biggest infrastructure investment in the history of NSW national parks.

"This is all about helping people get into nature because as the great David Attenborough said, no one will protect what they don't care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced."

The Great Southern Walk is a 5-day, 4-night journey through stunning coastal scenery and places of national heritage significance.

New camping and accommodation facilities are earmarked for sites along the route, so walkers of all levels of experience can enjoy an overnight walk in the NSW bush.

Member for Heathcote Lee Evans said the new walk will deliver exceptional nature-based tourism that supports Aboriginal owned businesses.

"An Expression of Interest process is underway to provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to bring visitors onto Country and showcase local culture," Mr Evans said.

"The NSW Government is seeking an Aboriginal owned business or an operator partnering with the Aboriginal community to deliver multi-day walking experiences that connect Great Southern Walk visitors with the world's oldest living culture."

Parliamentary Secretary for Wollongong and the Illawarra Peter Poulos said the construction that has started on a new track between Bald Hill and Stanwell Tops will create a link between the southern end of Royal National Park and the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area.

"This truly 'Great Walk' will boost the local tourism economy, create local jobs and drive visitation to our national parks," Mr Poulos said.

"It will showcase our spectacular coastline, our communities and highlight the beauty of this part of the world, right here on Sydney's doorstep."

Since 2019, the NSW Government has secured 600,000 hectares for addition to the national park estate to protect threatened habitats, wildlife and cultural heritage in perpetuity.

National park management and visitation generates $18 billion in economic activity annually and supports more than 74,000 jobs. About 75% of the economic benefits of national parks are delivered in rural and regional NSW.

The Great Southern Walk Project is part of the NSW Government's commitment to deliver more than 200 visitor infrastructure projects by 2024, including 750 km of new and upgraded walking and mountain-biking tracks, 61 new or improved picnic and visitor areas, and 36 campground upgrades.

For more information visit Great Southern Walk.