What visitor and tourism opportunities are planned for the new reserves?
An initial $49.5m in capital investment will create a “must see” destination that will generate jobs and economic growth for the Lithgow region.
The centrepiece of this investment will be a spectacular new attraction – the Lost City Adventure Experience - that will showcase the extraordinary natural beauty of the area. It will include one of Australia’s longest ziplines, the first “via ferrata” rock climbing opportunity in NSW, and spectacular canyon walks.
We will also establish new and upgraded facilities including lookouts, walking trails, camping areas, a 35-kilometre network of mountain biking tracks, and all-weather 4WD touring circuits, with work commencing early 2022.
Licensed and registered four-wheel drive and trail bike users who have been accessing the state forests will continue to enjoy designated four-wheel drive routes. NPWS will be working with 4WD clubs to develop designated 4WD touring routes and supporting infrastructure.
What is the Gardens of Stone-Wollemi Walk?
The Gardens of Stone-Wollemi Walk is expected to become one of the world’s great long-distance wilderness walks. This multi-day walk will feature incredible views across Australia’s largest declared wilderness.
Walkers will experience an array of birdlife, kangaroos, wallabies, and gliders, while enjoying a range of accommodation options, including purpose-built eco-cabins.
What are the economic benefits for the Lithgow region?
The new Gardens of Stone reserves are expected to attract up to 200,000 new recreational visitors per year which will generate more than $30 million in economic output in the Lithgow region each year. This is estimated to generate over 200 ongoing jobs in the region.
The new reserves will help the Lithgow region to recover from economic impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. In the long-term, the proposal will also help to diversify the Lithgow economy and increase its resilience.
Will hunting be permitted?
Hunting will not be permitted in the new reserves, consistent with all other land reserved in the national park estate. Hunting is currently excluded from Ben Bullen and Wolgan State Forests, and part of Newnes State Forest.
Hunting will continue to be permitted in several State forests within a 50km radius of Lithgow (about 70,000 hectares across 11 forests), including the pine forests in the Oberon area. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is working with DPI Hunting to develop information for recreational hunters and recreational hunting groups.