Commercial activities in parks

Parks provide many opportunities for commercial activities that are compatible with the protection of our natural and cultural heritage.

Commercial activities in national parks include:

Any commercial activity in a park or reserve must be permissible under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and compatible with the park's plan of management.


The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) provides facilities in its parks and reserves for visitors to enjoy and learn from. These facilities are often operated by NPWS, but sometimes they can be managed more effectively, efficiently or flexibly by the private sector. Private-sector operation also provides NPWS with additional income that can be used to protect and conserve natural and cultural heritage.

What form does an agreement take?

NPWS is part of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (the Department). The Department can enter into agreements to allow commercial or business activity on land it manages. An agreement is a legally binding contract and may take the form of a:

  • lease
  • licence
  • permit
  • consent
  • franchise
  • easement.

Benefits of an agreement

An agreement in the form of a lease, licence, permit or consent gives you:

  • a legal right to carry out your proposed activity
  • a formal relationship between you and the Department so that both parties are aware of their responsibilities and obligations
  • security of tenure for the term of your concession, provided you comply with its conditions.

Requirements of an agreement

Any contractual agreement must:

  • be offered in a way that meets government requirements for probity
  • secure fair, market-based returns to the Department.

How can I apply to run a commercial activity?

NPWS licenses commercial recreation and tour operations (Parks Eco Pass) and commercial filming and photography in national parks and reserves.

Department of Planning, Industry and Environment commercial opportunities (for example, to run existing accommodation or food services) are advertised on the NSW Government tenders website. You can also approach the Department for permission to operate a new business or commercial activity.

If you’d like to run a business in a park, first check the park’s plan of management to see if it’s allowed. If no plan currently exists, discuss your proposal with local NPWS staff (call us on 131 555 to be directed to the most appropriate person). Either way, speak to NPWS staff before you put time and effort into preparing a proposal.

Contact us

Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - Commercial enquiries


Property Leasing Guidelines

This document aims to provide clear guidance on the process that will apply to the grant or renewal of commercial or retail leases and licences over NPWS managed land and infrastructure.