The NSW Government this week announced the purchase of a 437,394 hectare tract of land in the remote north-west corner of NSW, with plans to protect it forever by making it the state’s third larget national park.


The NSW Government has bought a tonne of rural NSW properties in recent years to turn them into protected national parks. From Narriearra Caryapundy Swamp National Park to Langidoon and Metford Stations, hundreds of thousands of hectares have been added to the state’s National Park Estate.  

But they’ve just outdone themselves with the acquisition of Thurloo Downs – a 437,394-hectare tract of land across five properties between Tibooburra and Bourke, near the Queensland border on the lands of the Karenggapa and Parundji people. It’s almost twice the size of the ACT.

‘This is the largest ever single parcel of land to be acquired for the national park estate in New South Wales,’ said NSW Premier Dominic Perottet.


Photo by D Stowe/DPE

So what’s out there?

The acquired land is home to 50 threatened species, including the Little Pied bat, Sandy Inland mouse, and Flock Bronzewing, as well as 39 ecosystems and four landscapes – Bulloo Salt Lakes and Playas, Ursino Alluvial Plains, Ursino Linear Dunes, and Ursino Tablelands and Downs – that aren’t protected in any other part of NSW. 

‘Protecting a property of this scale in perpetuity means we conserve bigger populations of more species, including some of the most endangered,’ said Environment Minister James Griffin.

There’s also extensive Aboriginal cultural heritage across the area, with evidence of artefacts found. NSW National Parks will be working closely with the Aboriginal community to preserve these culturally significant sites. 

‘What’s even more extraordinary, is that when combined with the adjacent Narrieara-Caryapundy National Park and the nearby Sturt National Park, our national parks now protect an almost completely connected area of about one million hectares west to the South Australia border,’ Mr Griffin said.


Photo by A Pike/DPE

Can I visit?

Absolutely! But not just yet, there’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done to turn the land from a pastoral station to a national park. 

There are plans to build visitor infrastructure throughout the park, including campgrounds, day use areas, lookouts, and outback driving routes. But the next two years will be used to take control of feral animals and weeds while undertaking ecological surveys and planning the infrastructure. 

‘We want this park to be a drawcard for visitors and an asset to the entire local community. Far from keeping people out, we’ll invest in the jobs and infrastructure to welcome people in to walk, explore, camp and see what a beautiful part of the landscape it is,’ said Mr Griffin.

The new park is hoping to be open to visitors by 2025. Put it in the diary!


Feature photo by A Pike/DPE