6 unique historical places to stay in NSW national parks

national park stays

Whether you’re a tried and true history buff or a unique experiences enthusiast, NSW national parks are home to a range of historic and heritage-listed properties unlike any others, ensuring the stay of a lifetime.

From lighthouse cottages to European homesteads, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating history of these buildings while enjoying spectacular natural surrounds.

Here then are the top picks from the staff at NSW National Parks for a getaway that will go down in your own personal history books as one to remember:

1. Steele Point Cottage

national park accommodation
Pic credit: G Pickford

Historic Steele Point Cottage in Nielsen Park, Vaucluse, reopened for guest accommodation in March following an extensive restoration. The quaint cottage is perched on a headland, offering sensational views across the harbour. The cottage was built in 1880 as a gunners’ barracks to support the adjacent Steele Point Battery – part of the elaborate system of harbour defences – and was designed by the NSW Colonial Architect James Barnet. Enjoy learning about the fascinating history of the cottage and surrounding area, and exploring walks and beaches from your doorstep.

2. St Bernard’s Presbytery

national parks stays in nsw
Pic credit: J Spencer

A deluxe four-poster bed, spa bath and Chesterfield lounge – this historic sandstone cottage has it all. Perched on a hillside and commanding a lovely view of picturesque Hartley Village, St Bernard’s Presbytery is a beautifully-restored reminder of the town’s colonial past. Hartley Historic Site dates back to the 1830s and preserves the history of the settlement of inland Australia – you’ll be surrounded by orchards, cottage gardens, rolling pastures and quaint sandstone buildings. Located near the Blue Mountains, this country cottage is an easy drive from Sydney, perfect for a spontaneous step back in time.

3. East Kunderang Homestead

national park stays
Pic credit: M van Ewijk

This carefully restored cedar slab homestead, built in the 1890s by early European pioneers, is spectacularly situated among mountains and valleys in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park near Armidale. The homestead, originally part of an extensive grazing property, is ideal for larger groups or families and accommodates up to 14 people. With a river located nearby, it’s an ideal spot to enjoy paddling or fishing. Soak up the afternoon sun from the homestead’s wide verandah – a relaxing spot to breathe in the property’s history and solitude.

4. Hosies

Hill End Historic Site near Orange, once a booming mining town in Country, struck gold with Hosies: a lovingly-renovated 1870s building packed to the rafters with history. Originally a haberdashery store and residence, Hosies is located in the heart of town and retains all the charm and style of a bygone era. There’s lots to explore, both in the gold-rush town and around – including a scenic loop walk that showcases old mining relics – making Hosies the perfect base for a historic country getaway.

  • From $100 per night for two
  • Hosies

5. Montague Island

national parks stays

Those looking for seclusion and escapism alongside a uniquely historic stay will be irresistibly drawn to the Montague Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottages, located on Montague Island Nature Reserve on the South Coast, near Narooma. Ideal for larger groups, the cottages date back to 1881 when they served as lighthouse keepers’ quarters and offer pristine surrounds, a variety of wildlife both on and around the island – including seals, penguins, and dolphins – and spectacular ocean views.

6. Q Station

Nestled amidst beautiful bushland at North Head, near Manly, Q Station offers a historic stay with a spooky twist. Listed on the National Heritage register, the site was established in 1832 to protect Sydney from the ravages of diseases that were arriving with migrant ships. It’s Australia’s first quarantine station – and is said to be one of the country’s most haunted places. Today, the venue is equally known for its beautifully-restored heritage accommodation, sweeping views of the sparkling harbour shores and the fine dining on offer at the Boilerhouse Restaurant.

For more historic stays in a NSW national park, visit https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/top-historic-stays

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