Changes to our Parks

Introduction

UPDATE September 2021.

To ensure that Territorians and visitors can continue to enjoy our amazing landscape and that our flora and fauna are protected and lands managed to a high standard, a raft of changes will be introduced to our parks.

  • Camping fees will increase from 1 July 2021, in three stages until July 2023.
  • Walking fees will be introduced on some iconic walks from March 2022.
  • An online booking system will be implemented from March 2022.
  • A Parks Pass will be introduced in the 2022-23 financial year.

The walking fees and online booking system will be implemented on 1 March 2022 even though most feedback from the public is supportive of the initiative. This will allow for the online booking system to be tested in the low season, after what is expected be a return of strong visitor numbers to the Territory and provide confidence for visitors booking and planning their holidays to the Territory.

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The Department manages 85 parks, reserves and protected areas across the Northern Territory with 33 of the areas managed being subject to formal joint management agreements with Aboriginal Traditional Owners.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Kakadu National Park are managed by Parks Australia.

There are some changes that will be implemented to the Parks and Wildlife estate and how we do business as initially identified in the Fiscal Strategy Panel’s A plan for budget repair: Final Report, which highlighted unrealised revenue opportunities.

The Government's Root and Branch review, identified opportunities to introduce and increase park and camping fees.

To assist with the changes an online booking system will be implemented from 1 March 2022. At this time walking fees for some multi-day walking trails will also be implemented.

Camping fees will be increased in a staged approach over a three year period with the increase bringing Territory parks and reserves in line with the rest of Australia. The first of these changes will take effect on the 1st of July 2021.

A percentage of the fees that are collected on parks that are jointly managed with traditional owners will continue to be distributed to governing land councils for distribution to traditional owners. Extra revenue for Parks will therefore present an exciting opportunity to grow jobs on country for Aboriginal Rangers or growth for Aboriginal Tourism.


Online booking system

Expected implementation from 1 March 2022.

The online booking system will streamline bookings and ensure greater certainty for campers and multi-day trail walkers. It will also provide improved safety for our visitors as we will have better information about where our visitors are on our estate. Better information will also improve visitor statistics for future planning and growth of experiences.

The development of the system is currently in the procurement phase.

Benefits of the system are:

  • Users will be able to book campsites and walking trails increasing visitor certainty and satisfaction
  • Visitors will be able to view open/closed parks, available dates and have greater planning options
  • Prepaying fees will eliminate the need to carry exact currency for fees
  • Staff will have access to statistics and reporting on visitor numbers, profile and satisfaction
  • We can improve visitor safety through improved monitoring
  • It will allow Parks and Wildlife to improve business efficiencies.

The booking system will only apply to camping and walking trails and the parks pass when introduced. For all other Parks and Wildlife permits, the process will remain the same.

Important information about the changes

Plan and book your visit

You will need to book and pay for your campsite or walk online before you go to a Northern Territory park.

Accessing the booking system without Internet

We are working on partnering with regional tourism operators and visitor information centres throughout the Territory so that they can help visitors as authorised booking agents. Agents will be able to help you book and pay for your campsite or walk if you can’t access the internet to book online.

The Parks and Wildlife permits office will also be able to assist with online bookings.

Arriving at a campsite without a booking

If there is an internet connection and a spare campsite is available, then you can book and pay online. If there is no internet connection and there is a publicly accessible Ranger station open, you can also ask Rangers for assistance, however for safety reasons a Ranger cannot take payment onsite. All bookings will need to be made online or through an authorised booking agent.


Changes to camping fees

Expected increase for stage 1 on 1 July 2021.

Camping fees have not increased in the Northern Territory for over 20 years, in actual fact the last camping fee increase was in the year 2000 when GST was first introduced.

The increase will be phased in over a three year period starting on 1 July 2021. The fees will cover campsite categories A, B and C, with category B and C being merged to simplify campground facility descriptions and bookings.

Category D (which will now be the new category C) campsites are operated by commercial operators and pricing is at their discretion.

The three years phased fee increase for camping is outlined below.

Category A campsite fee increase 2021 – 2023

Classification

Current fee

Fee from

1 July 2021

Fee from

1 July 2022

Fee from

1 July 2023

Adult

$6.60

$10.00

$12.00

$15.00

Child

$3.30

$5.00

$6.00

$8.00

Family

$15.40

$25.00

$30.00

$38.00

Category B (Formerly Category B and C) campsite fee increase 2021 – 2023

Classification

Current fee

Fee from

1 July 2021

Fee from

1 July 2022

Fee from

1 July 2023

Adult

$3.30

$4.00

$6.00

$10.00

Child

$1.65

$2.00

$3.00

$5.00

Family

$7.70

$10.00

$15.00

$25.00

Classifications are outlined below:

  • Adult – A person 18 years of age or over
  • Child – A person aged 5 to 17. Children aged 4 or under are free.
  • Family – A family is classified as 2 adults and 4 children.

Territorians can continue to access parks and reserves for day use completely free.

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To determine the appropriate increase to camping fees, Parks and Wildlife staff have done a comparative analysis on camping and site fees of other jurisdictions around Australia and compared the classifications of what a family is for the purpose of ensuring our family camping rate remained affordable.

Each jurisdiction has a different fee structure with some areas charging a per night rate while others charge a site fee with a maximum number of occupants, making a true apples for apples comparison difficult.

The benchmark cost per night per adult has been developed by averaging the site fee and cost per night fees from across other jurisdictions. Using this method the average cost for a single adult per night is $23.28.

This brings the 3 year phased increase to $15.00 per adult in line with other jurisdictions while still ensuring we are competitive.

It is important to note that some jurisdictions also have entry fees for local residents through the purchase of annual park entry passes, which have not been accounted for in the nightly comparison.

Camping fee comparative analysis

This table is based upon NT Parks and Wildlife category A sites which include showers, toilets, BBQ’s and other facilities.

Jurisdiction

Adult

Child

Family

Site

Note

Northern Territory

$10.00

$5.00

$25.00

-

New pricing as of 1 July 2021.

Western Australia

$17.00

$3.00

-

-

 

Victoria

-

-

-

$62.80

Max 8 People per site regardless of age.

New South Wales

-

$8.50

-

$34.00

Minimum nightly rate of $34 inclusive for 2 people.

Additional adults at $12

South Australia

-

-

-

$32.00

Max 8 people per site regardless of age.

Tasmania

$13.00

$2.50

$16.00

-

Family of 2 adults and 3 children.

Queensland

$6.75

-

$27.00

-

Family of 1 or 2 adults and 3 to 6 children with a maximum of 8 people per site.

Australian Capital Territory

$15.00

-

-

-

Children 15 or under are free.

Comparative analysis table is based on price increase as at 1 July 2021.

Camping fee example by jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

Example 1:

1 adults, 0 children, 1 night

Price difference from NT

Example 2:

2 adults, 4 children, 1 night

Price difference from NT

Northern Territory

$10.00

-

$25.00

-

Western Australia

$17.00

+$7.00

$46.00

+$21.00

Victoria

$62.80

+$52.80

$62.80

+$37.80

New South Wales

$34.00

+$24.00

$68.00

+$43.00

South Australia

$32.00

+$22.00

$32.00

+$7.00

Tasmania

$13.00

+$3.00

$18.50

-$6.50

Queensland

$6.75

-$3.35

$27.00

+$2.00

Australian Capital Territory

$15.00

+$5.00

$30.00

+$5.00

Examples are based on price increase as at 1 July 2021 and assumes children are under 18 years of age. The table above also not include if a park entry/vehicle pass is required.

Age and Family Classifications by jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

Adult

Child

Family

Note

Northern Territory

18+

5-17 years

2 adults, 4 children

Children 4 and under free

Victoria

N/A

N/A

N/A

Site charge only with max 6 people per site.

New South Wales

16+

5-15 years

N/A

Children 4 and under free

South Australia

N/A

N/A

N/A

Max 8 people per site regardless of age.

Tasmania

18+

5-17 years

2 adults, 3 children

Children 4 and under free

Western Australia

16+

6-15 years

N/A

Children 5 and under free

Queensland

18+

5-17 years

2 adults, 6 children

Children 4 and under free

Australian Capital Territory

16+

0-15 years

N/A

No charge for children.

Important information about the changes

A family camping rate

A family rate will ensure a young family can afford to continue to enjoy our parks. The family classification consists of 2 adults having reached the aged of 18 years or over and four children, whereby most other jurisdictions only account for 3 children. The child classification will apply to a child aged 5 years to 17 years old inclusive, with children 4 years of age or younger being free.

Booking a site provides certainty

You will need to book and pay for your campsite before you go and ensure you set up camp in the right spot. If you do accidently set up camp in the wrong spot, you will be required to move when the person who booked that site arrives or if a ranger directs you to. It’s just like booking a seat on a plane.


New walking trail fees

Expected implementation from 1 March 2022.

A new multi-day walking fee will be introduced for trails across NT parks and will be $25 per night, up to a maximum of $125 for 5+ nights.

The fee will provide much needed revenue to effectively manage the cultural and biodiversity values of our NT Parks.

Multi-day walking trail fees are outlined below.

DaysNightsTrail fee
2 1 $25
3 2 $50
4 3 $75
5 4 $100
6+ 5+ $125

The overnight trail fee is for any person adult or child.

The following walking trails that will have the fee introduction applied are:

  • Jatbula Trail
  • Tabletop Track
  • Larapinta Trail

Camping fees will need to be paid in addition to the walking fee. Trails with camping facilities managed by Parks and Wildlife will be charged at a category B camping rate. Some camping facilities such as Ellery Creek, Ormiston and Red Bank along the Larapinta trail and Leliyn on the Jatbula Trail are managed by commercial operators who set their own camping rates, therefore camping fees may differ.

The table below outlines what a Territorian planning a walk on Jatbula or Tabletop would look like if only paying Parks and Wildlife Commission camping rates.

Trail days / nightsTrail feeCategory B camp feeTotal fee payable
2 days / 1 night $25 $4 $29 per person
3 days / 2 nights $50 $8 $58 per person
4 days / 3 nights $75 $12 $87 per person
5 days / 4 nights $100 $16 $116 per person
6+ days / 5+ nights $125 $20+ $145 per person + $4 for additional nights
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New fees for the walking trails were developed by creating a comparison of other great walks throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The comparison chart below shows the price for similar distance multi-day walks with some including a trail only fee and others including no trail fee but a compulsory camp fee. The NT’s new fee structure, showing Jatbula as an example, is competitively priced.

Trail

Est Km

Average days

Trail fee

Camp fee

Other fees

Total fees payable

Jatbula

Northern Territory - Territorians

62

5

$125

$20

$4 x 5 nights

N/A

$145.00 per adult

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

South Australia

61

5

$311.50

$0

Trail fee does not include transport to Island.

Due to bushfires in 2019 – the walk can only be accessed through a commercial operator. This cost was at the time independent walking was permitted.

$311.50 per adult

Overland Track

Tasmania

65

6

$200

$0

$80

2 Month Park Pass

$280 per adult

Milford Track

New Zealand residents

53.5

4

$0

$210

$136

Ferry return transport only, no bus transport.

$346 per adult

Important information about the changes

A normal day trip is still free

You can still take a stroll on any of our short walks. The fees only apply to walks where you overnight on the walking trail.

It’s all the same price

The walking fees for adults or a child are one set price. The classifications for a child are the same as the camping fees with a child classified as being from 5 years old to 17 years old.


Parks Pass

There are currently various types of Parks Pass in use in other States and Territories across Australia and New Zealand.

The introduction of a Parks Pass fee will apply to national and international visitors only. Territorians will be exempt from a fee to enter NT Parks.

A Parks Pass will not be introduced until the 2022-23 financial year as further work and conversations with industry stakeholders and Traditional Owners on joint managed parks are to be undertaken on the implementation of the Park Pass.

More information on how or what a Parks Pass in the Territory would look like will be available once the conversations with these important stakeholders has been completed.