Domestic visitation

The latest Department of Planning, Industry and Environment research for domestic visitation to NSW national parks shows visits increased over 16% from 2016 to 2018.

How many domestic visits in 2018 compared to 2016?

In 2018, park visitation was estimated at a total of 60.23 million visits, accrued from 45.33 million adult and 14.9 million child visits. This is an increase of 16.6% on 2016 results.

NPWS Park Visitation by Year

Adult Visitation

Child Visitation

Total Visitation

2008

31,128,875

6,798,741

37,927,616

2010

27,262,279

6,581,347

33,843,626

2012

28,745,337

6,750,287

35,495,624

2014

31,674,661

7,761,387

39,436,048

2016

40,103,897

11,558,047

51,661,944

2018

45,333,817

14,902,193

60,236,009

What parks do they visit?

In terms of volume of visits Blue Mountains National Park retains its top position in 2018 with 8.43 million visits. This was followed by Royal National Park 6 million visits, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park 3.9 million, Kosciuszko National Park 3.27 million and Sydney Harbour National Park 2.42 million.

Table 1 –  Top 5 national parks

Graph showing the 5 most visited national parks in NSW

Who visits?

Intrastate visitation comprised 87.2% of all visits, while interstate visitation comprised 12.7% of visits a proportional increase from 2014, 2012 and 2010. Melbourne at 4.3% was our most significant interstate market.

Table 2 –  Origin of visits

Final adjusted annual park visitation estimate 2018 Adult Visits Child Visits Total Visits
No. % No. % No. %
Sydney 24,826,398 54.76% 8,496,187 57.01% 33,322,585 55.32%
Remainder NSW 14,937,565 32.95% 4,280,507 28.72% 19,218,072 31.90%
ACT 686,397 1.51% 259,833 1.74% 946,230 1.57%
Melbourne 1,920,081 4.24% 682,206 4.58% 2,602,287 4.32%
Remainder VIC 575,303 1.27% 219,814 1.48% 795,117 1.32%
Brisbane 1,099,846 2.43% 605,504 4.06% 1,705,350 2.83%
Remainder SE QLD 753,086 1.66% 164,702 1.11% 917,788 1.52%
Remainder QLD 64,888 0.14% 23,455 0.16% 88,343 0.15%
SA 120,192 0.27% 43,446 0.29% 163,638 0.27%
WA 219,565 0.48% 79,368 0.53% 298,933 0.50%
TAS 105,414 0.23% 38,105 0.26% 143,519 0.24%
NT 25,081 0.06% 9,066 0.06% 34,148 0.06%
Total Australia 2018 45,333,817 100.00% 14,902,193 100.00% 60,236,009 100.00%
Margin of Error ±2.61% n/a ±6.64% n/a ±3.61% n/a
 Total Australia 2016
40,103,897  100.00%  11,558,047 100.00%  51,661,944 100.00%
 Margin of Error
 ±2.89% n/a
 ±6.24% n/a
 ±3.64% n/a
Total Australia 2014 31,674,661 100.00% 7,761,387 100.00% 39,436,048 100.00%
Margin of Error ±2.84% n/a ±7.99% n/a ±3.85% n/a
Total Australia 2012 28,745,337 100.00% 6,750,287 100.00% 35,495,625 100.00%
Margin of Error ±2.90% n/a ±8.02% n/a ±3.87% n/a
Total Australia 2010 27,262,279 100.00% 6,581,347 100.00% 33,843,626 100.00%
Margin of Error ±3.18% n/a ±7.44% n/a ±4.00% n/a
Total Australia 2008 31,128,875 100.00% 6,798,741 100.00% 37,927,616 100.00%
Margin of Error ±3.34% n/a ±4.40% n/a ±3.54% n/a

What sort of trips are they on when they visit parks?

Over 40% of visits to our parks are part of a regular routine, 32.4% are day trip based and 19% are part of an overnight or multi-day trip.

Table 3 –  Trip Type

Graph showing the types of trip national parks visitors are taking

How important are parks for generating tourism travel?

Over 45% of NSW national park visitors indicated that the only reason for their trip was to visit the NSW NPWS park and another 25.2% indicated that the park was their main reason for their trip.

Table 4 –  Role of Park visitation in trip generation

Graph showing the role of park visitation in trip generation

Age of visitors

The proportion of visits made by 18-24 year olds in 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018 are significantly higher than in 2008 (Table 5). The proportion of visits from 18-34 year olds in both 2010 and 2018 are also significantly higher than in 2008, 2013 and 2016, indicating that the age profile for visits made is younger in 2010 and 2018. The same upward trend is also apparent for 25-39 year olds and there is an indicative decrease from 2016 in visits by those over 50 years of age.

Table 5 –  Age of visitors

Graph showing the age of national parks visitors

What do visitors do?

Walking is consistently the most commonly named activity undertaken in parks at 64%. Up indicatively  from the level quoted in 2016 (63%). Walking is followed by water-based recreation at (21%) up from 2016, Touring and sight-seeing (14%) and picnicking/dining which remains at (14%).

These are followed by a host of other activities including enjoyment and appreciation of nature, which is up from previous surveys at (6%), followed by cycling, nature play and camping and accommodation.

Table 6 –  On-park visitor activities

Graph showing on-park visitor activities

How satisfied are visitors?

Satisfaction with park visits in 2018 stayed at the high level attained in 2016 with an overwhelming 94% of visitors being satisfied to very satisfied. 65% of those were very satisfied a higher rating than achieved in 2016.

Table 7 –  Overall visitor satisfaction with park visit

Graph showing overall visitor satisfaction with park visit

NPWS used a random representative population based telephone (Landlines & Mobiles) survey to collect this data. More than 1200 people were interviewed in 13 four weeks waves in 2018, giving a total of 15,645 interviews. Respondents from NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT were surveyed about NSW parks they had visited within the last four weeks. Visits from the rest of Australia were estimated.

Read the State report on Annual Visits to NSW NPWS Managed Parks in New South Wales (PDF 2.7MB).

An infographic summary of main findings is in the 2018 Park Visitor Survey Infographic (PDF 185KB).

This survey will be repeated in 2020 to track changes to our domestic visitation.

The study was based on a survey method developed by Parks Victoria. The Department of Industry, Planning and Environment wishes to acknowledge the generosity of Parks Victoria in sharing their experiences and the method.