Planning for the future

A new plan of management is needed to guide the future management of the Royal parks.

The Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area are located between the major urban centres of Sydney and Wollongong and are part of the traditional country of Aboriginal people of the Dharawal language group. Situated on the doorstep of Australia’s most populated city, the parks welcome more than 6 million visitors each year.

A new draft plan of management has been developed for these parks and is accompanied by the Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area Planning Considerations document. Readers of the plan should refer to this document for detailed explanations of the parks' values and management considerations.

Once adopted, this plan of management will replace the existing plan, which was adopted in 2000.

Key issues addressed in the draft plan include:

  • the continued protection and management of natural and cultural values
  • managing increasing visitor numbers and improving the visitor experience, including upgrades to visitor facilities and a zoning system to guide future management of the parks
  • a draft mountain biking plan which proposes a network of tracks in the parks and provides strategies for ensuring environmental protection and maintaining rider and visitor safety. This plan is open for public comment with the draft plan of management.

Parks and reserves established under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 need to have a plan of management. The plan includes information on important park values and provides directions for future management. Once the plan is adopted, no management operations can be undertaken in the park unless they are consistent with the plan.


The first plan for the parks was adopted in 2000. The parks now face a number of challenges including growing visitor numbers, increasing urbanisation of the surrounding region and impacts from climate change. A new plan is needed to respond to these challenges and guide the future management of the parks.

The new plan will support continued delivery of upgrades and new visitor facilities as well as asset renewal across all 3 parks. This includes over $10 million of funding that support improvements and restorations at the Audley Visitor Precinct, upgrades at Bonnie Vale Visitor Area, new visitor facilities at Garawarra Farm, and renewals of Burgh Ridge and Honeymoon Walking Tracks.

This investment in visitor facilities is possible because of the NSW Government’s record $257 million investment, over the next three years, to deliver 170 new and improved infrastructure projects across the national parks’ estate. This is the largest ever investment in national parks visitor infrastructure and aims to improve visitor experiences and boost local economies while also promoting enhanced conservation of important natural assets.

Cycling and mountain biking are growing in popularity in the parks covered by this plan. To support sustainable mountain biking opportunities a draft mountain biking plan has been developed and is also open for public comment with the draft plan of management.

Cycling and mountain biking are growing in popularity in the parks. To support sustainable mountain biking opportunities a draft mountain biking plan has been developed and is also on exhibition for public comment until 2 August 2021. This draft plan proposes a network of tracks in the mountain biking areas and provides strategies for ensuring rider enjoyment and safety while preserving the environment. Tracks outside these zoned areas will be closed and rehabilitated.


The draft plan of management is accompanied by the the Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area Planning Considerations document. This document provides a more detailed explanation of the parks' values and the management considerations associated with the development of the plan of management. It is a complementary document to the plan of management for those who are looking for more detailed information on many of the management issues.


Submissions are still welcomed through our usual channels of email, letter or online feedback.  We have added a new engagement tool for this plan which allows the community to explore issues and provide feedback using a new map based survey tool. 

This is our first time applying this particular approach to our plans of management.  Our aim is to improve the accessibility of the plan and make it easier for the community to give us feedback on particular issues. The results, along with our existing channels for providing submissions, will all inform the finalisation of the plan of management.

At the close of the public exhibition period, we consider all submissions on the draft plan and prepare a submissions report. We provide the Greater Sydney Regional Advisory Committee and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council with the plan, all the submissions and the submissions report. They consider the documents, make comments on the plan or suggest changes, and provide advice to the Minister for Energy and Environment.

The Minister considers the plan, submissions and advice, makes any necessary changes and decides whether to adopt the plan under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Once a plan is adopted, it is published on the Department's website and key stakeholders, including those who made a submission on the draft plan, will be notified.


At the close of the public exhibition period, we consider all submissions on the draft plan and consdier them as part of the plan of management submissions report.

Following assessment of submissions and advice, the draft plan will be finalised and submitted for approval as a supporting plan under the Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area Plan of Management.

Once the plan is approved it will be published on the Department's website and key stakeholders, including those who made a submission on the draft plan, will be notified.


You can see printed copies of the draft plan of management, planning considerations document and the draft mountain biking plan at:

Royal National Park Visitor Centre
2 Lady Carrington Drive
Royal National Park

At the close of the public exhibition period, we consider all submissions on the draft plans and prepare a submissions report. Multiple submissions received by the same author will be counted as a single submission.

We provide the relevant local advisory committee and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council with the draft plans, all the submissions and the submissions report. They consider the documents, make comments on the plans or suggest changes, and for the draft plan of management, provide their advice to the Minister for Energy and the Environment.


Download

Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park, Garawarra State Conservation Area Draft Planning Considerations

Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area are located on the north-eastern edge of the Woronora Plateau in the southern part of the Sydney Basin Bioregion. The parks cover approximately 18,912 hectares.

PDF 14.7MB

Download

Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area Draft Mountain Biking Plan

This draft plan proposes providing mountain bike riding opportunities in the Temptation Creek, East Heathcote and Helensburgh mountain bike zones.

PDF 7.4MB