Bushwalking Group Size Limits for National Parks Association NSW

There are many issues leaders will consider when setting the maximum group size for each walk. Group size must always be within legal limits, but leaders will also consider potential safety, environmental, and enjoyment impacts. It can be challenging to find the legal limits on each NSW national park estate; this document helps understand the core group size limits in place.

General advice on maximum groups sizes for NPA bushwalks

  • Wilderness – 8 people (Declared Wilderness areas)
  • Sensitive Conservation land – 12 people (walking off track in natural places)
  • Conservation land – 20 people (national parks, nature reserves etc.)
  • Recreation land – 30 people (Such as metro parks, Botanic Gardens etc.)

Although these guidelines are helpful, there are a few exceptions, so check below for specific park legal limits, namely for Barren Grounds NR, and Gardens of Stone NP.

These 4 points are general helpful guidelines, not hard and fast rules. There will often be times when having smaller groups is wise. There will occasionally be times when larger group sizes are a good idea, requiring more work to ensure the journey will be legal, safe, low impact and enjoyable. Other limits, such as the maximum or available campsites or specific track permits, may exist.

Leaders resources

Leave No Trace information

NPWS plans of management

Map of NSW wilderness areas

NSW National Park limits

By default, all NSW national estate has a maximum walking group size of 40 people before you need to seek permission for the ‘event’. Some parks have specific rules applying a lower that limit to part or the entire park before approval is required. Below is a table of NPWS parks with limits lower than 40, or you might expect to be lower. If larger groups are helpful, safe and low impact, consider asking NPWS staff about applying for a permit. NPWS can reduce limits anytime, such as with signage on track heads or with alerts on their website. See the following pages for detailed group limit information.

Other legal limits may apply

We walk on many different land tenures; each may have other legal or suggested limits. This table is a partial list, but helpful to consider possible options.

Tenure Limits
Sydney Catchment Authority 8 people, on allowed routes
NSW State Forests No general limit found
Crown Land reserves No general limit found
Local Councils No specific limits were found in limited search
QLD National Parks General rule is 40 people, but 15 people when off-track
Tas National Parks Some walks have daily departure limits, where bookings are required.

NSW National Park Estate – walking groups size table

The following table lists NSW National Park estates with a walking group size limit other than the default 40 or where the park contains a wilderness area. The limits mentioned are found in the POM of the park unless otherwise linked. Greyed out ‘40’ refers to the default 40 group limit for all NPWS estates, but no other specific limit was found. ‘NA’ means there is no wilderness area in the park. ‘NS’ means no specific walking group size limit was found for that particular wilderness area. This table only covers bushwalking; other group size limits may exist for rock climbing, abseiling etc.

Park Park limit Wild limit Wilderness areas/comments
Barren Grounds NR 15 NA
Barrington Tops NP & Mount Royal NP 40 NS Barrington (The majority of Barrington Tops NP, (excluding the NE corner), as well as the NE and E parts of Mount Royal NP)
Bimberi NR 40 NS Bimberi (covers most of the park)
Blue Mountains NP 20 8 Grose (much of the BMNP north of Great Western Hwy, excluding areas above the cliff near Blackhealth – from Docker Head to Lockley Pylon) Kanangra-Boyd (Southwest corner of BMNP from west of Lake Burragograng to southern edge of Dumphy’s Campground and north of Yerranderie SCA). Park limit 40, 20 within 300m of public road.
Border Ranges NP & Limpinwood NR 40 NS Levers, Warrazambil, Lost World
Budawang NP 40 NS Budawang (none given, but fair to assume same as Budawangs Wilderness area within Morton NP, see below)
Bundjalung NP 20 NS Bundjalung (covers most of the western section of the park)
Carrai NP 40 NS Carrai
Cathedral Rock NP 40 NS Cathedral Rock (covers most of the park)
Chaelundi NP 40 NS Chaelundi
Cottan-Bimbang NP 30 10 Mount Seaview (The majority of the North East corner of the park is covered)
Curracabundi NP 40 15 Curracabundi (covers most of the park)
Deua NP 40 NS Woila Deua (covers much of the southern section of the park) Burra Oulla (covers part of the NE section of the park within the boundary of Little Sugarloaf Rd, Merricumbee Firetrail, Oulla Creek Firetrail, and Coondella Firetrail)
Gardens of Stone NP 12 NA
Glenrock SCA 30 NA
Guy Fawkes River NP & NR 40 NS Guy Fawkes (covers most of the parks)
Kanangra-Boyd NP 20 8 Kanangra-Boyd (Most of the NP south of the Black Range Rd and excluding the Ben Lomond to Morong Swamps area. Excludes the Six Foot Track). Park limit 40, but 20 within 300m of a public road.

Kosciuszko NP

20 8 Bimberi, Bogong Peaks, Bramina, Byadbo, Goobarragandra, Indi, Pilot, Jagungal, Western Fall. (Strongly encourage to limit of 8 people)

Ku-ring-gai Chase NP

20 NA

Lane Cove NP

30 NA

Limeburners Creek NP

40 NS Limeburners Creek (covers most of the park)

Monga NP

40 NS Buckenbowra (Central and southern section of the park covered)

Morton NP

40 12 Budawang (overnight limit of 12 people, request limit of 8, Day walks request limit of 12). Ettrema, North Ettrema, West Ettrema (none given, but fair to assume same as Budawang limit above).

Mount Kaputar NP

40 NS Grattai (most of the park north of Killarney Gap Rd). Nandewar (most of the midsection of the park, North of Kaputar Rd and south of Killarney Gap Rd). Rusden (most of the southern section of the park, south of Kaputar Rd).

Mummel Gulf NP

40 NS Mummel Gulf (covers most of the park)

Mutawintji NP

40 NS Mootwingee

Nadgee NP

40 8 Nadgee (covers most of the park, limit of 8 for overnight walks)

Nattai NP

40 NS Nattai (covers most of the park). A limit of 8 exists in the Sydney Catchment Authority area.

New England NP

20 10 New England (covers most of the park)

Oxley Wild Rivers NP

40 NS Macleay Gorges, Kunderang

Scabby Range NR

40 NS Bimberi (covers most of the park)

South East Forest NP

40 NS Brogo (Northern section of the park) Genoa (southern edge)

Tomaree NP

20 NA

Wadbilliga NP

40 NS Tuross, Yowrie, Brogo

Washpool NP & Gibraltar Range NP

40 NS Washpool (most of the parks covered), Bindery-Mann

Werrikimbe NP

40 NS Werrikimbe

Whian Whian SCA

20 NA

Willi Willi NP

20 10 Willi Willi (covers most of the park)

Wollemi NP

40 NS Wollemi (covers most of the park)

Yengo NP

20 10 Yengo (majority of the park is covered – Mt Yengo and east excluded)