Many Australians associate horse riding with exploration, settlement and bush skills, and enjoy riding in natural areas. Some geographic areas will be more closely associated with the use of horses than others.
All recreational activities, including horse riding, can generate impacts on a park’s environment and must therefore be managed in accordance with legislative requirements and the objectives for which certain lands are reserved. The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 requires that the principles of ecologically sustainable development be applied to achieve the purposes of the Act.
Where can I ride in a park?
1. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will allow appropriate recreational horse riding in selected parks, subject to conditions. Appropriate locations will be identified during the development of a plan of management or statement of management intent for a park. Where a park does not have a plan of management or statement of management intent, recreational horse riding may be permitted with the consent of NPWS or by the authority of a notice erected within a park.
2. Because of the inherently diverse range of landscapes, soils and ecological communities represented within the park system, the appropriateness of horse riding will be assessed for each park and for specific locations within a park.
3. In determining whether recreational horse riding will be allowed within a park, NPWS will consider the impacts that horse riding may have on:
- the existing environment
- threatened species, endangered populations or endangered ecological communities
- soil erosion and weed invasion
- water quality
- areas or objects of cultural heritage significance.
NPWS will also consider:
- the management principles for the park
- the adopted plan of management or statement of management intent for the park
- the history of horse riding in the park
- opportunities for horse riding in the region surrounding the park
- outcomes of any research or monitoring of visitor use in the park.