Healthy parks, healthy communities

Stream/s: Improving health amd wellbeing; Enhancing diversity and quality of governance; Reconciling development challenges
Host Organisation: New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service
Location: Dharawal National Park (northern entrance)

Book here

Above & Tile Image: Nick Cubbin OEH

New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service invites you to head south to one of its newest national parks and discover why the local community fought so hard to preserve this beautiful area and its rich biodiversity.

On this excursion you will get a chance to explore the exquisite rock pools and dramatic sandstone gorge country of Dharawal National Park located on Sydney’s southern urban fringe. You will hear stories about the park’s ancient and continuing cultural connections as well as the long community battle that has been fought to protect it from urban and mining expansion. You will visit an expansive viewing platform with a panoramic vista of the stunning natural sites of this park. Talks will be given about how community support, union activism (green bans), and government negotiations with mining interests culminated in the establishment of the park.

Then you will then be invited to embark on a one and a half hour guided walk led by National Parks and Wildlife Service Discovery Rangers and local Dharawal people. The walk will take you to tranquil rock pools within Sydney’s drinking water catchment – keep an eye out for resident honey eaters and red wattle birds. The walk requires a good level of fitness and sturdy shoes so come prepared for a real Australian bushwalk.

Morning tea will be enjoyed in the company of Dharawal Aboriginal community members. The concept of healthy parks as sources of community wellbeing in the Indigenous and broader community will be explored over a cup of tea. You will be given insights into the spiritual, emotional and physical connection between communities and nature at Dharawal over past millennia to the present day.

As well as hearing about how management of parks is adapting to changing community needs, you will be among the first to test out the new visitor facilities, which are designed to encourage community use and enjoyment of the park. Lunch will be taken at the half way point on the walk by the tranquil rock pools before returning to Sydney Olympic Park where you can enjoy the afternoon entertainment at PlanetFest.

Expect an enjoyable, participative excursion in a beautiful setting.

Particulars and requirements

This excursion includes medium grade nature walk. A good level of fitness is required.


Transportation: Return travel to Sydney Olympic Park via coach. There will be a communique to delegates closer to the date regarding options to get to/back from Sydney Olympic Park pre/post excursion.
Meals: Morning tea and lunch *Catering will include some vegetarian options. Delegates with other special dietary requirements will need to bring their own packed food/beverage.

What to bring

  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Closed-toe sturdy walking/hiking shoes
  • Sun lotion
  • Weather gear (hat, rain jacket, a sweater/warm clothing in case the wind picks up)
  • Water bottle


Weather conditions can be checked at

IUCN WCPA Parks Australia NSW NPWS