School excursion

The Earth’s environment

Stage 2 (Years 3-4), Geography, Brisbane Water National Park

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Join The Earth's environment Geography excursion for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) at Brisbane Water National Park, near Gosford. Students will discover how NSW National Parks safeguards over 10 per cent of land in NSW.

Read more about The Earth’s environment

Students will learn about the critical role that NSW National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) plays in conserving our unique native plants, animals and rich cultural heritage.

They’ll explore the significance of the environment at Brisbane Water National Park, and the important inter-relationships between humans and nature.

Students will use geographical tools to identify the features of this beautiful place. They’ll observe the native plants and animals along Girrakool loop track.

They’ll learn about the history and culture of the Aboriginal people and their relationship with Country. As part of this, they’ll experience Aboriginal rock engravings and their significance to the traditional custodians of this park.

Students will discover the underwater world of Girrakool’s creeks, by doing a macroinvertebrate search. They’ll also learn about the key roles NPWS personnel hold in conserving and protecting wildlife, culture and heritage.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 2 (Years 3-4)
Learning area Geography
Student outcomes

GE2-1. Examines features and characteristics of places and environments

GE2-2. Describes the ways people, places and environments interact

GE2-3. Examines differing perceptions about the management of places and environments


Students will:

  • Use mud maps to identify features of a national park
  • Understand Aboriginal connection to Country
  • Identify plants, animals and invertebrates and investigate their role in an ecosystem 
  • Learn about the various management roles in a national park and how these contribute to conserving environment, heritage and culture

Excursion details


Weekdays during school term.

Medium. There are uneven and undulating surfaces and steps.

$380 per class (maximum 30 students)

No wheelchair access
Meeting point
Girrakool picnic area
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
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Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

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Park info

  • in Brisbane Water National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • Two picnic areas in Brisbane Water National Park close in the evening:

    • Girrakool picnic area is open 7am to 8pm during daylight savings and is open 7am to 6pm at other times
    • Somersby Falls picnic area is open 8am to 8pm during daylight savings and is open 8am to 5pm at other times

    Other areas of Brisbane Water National Park will be open at all times, however may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.



  • Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day. The park has pay machines that accept both card and coins, or you can pay via the Park'nPay app.

    Other fees:

    You will need a permit to hold a wedding or undertake commercial photography within the park.

    Buy annual pass (//
See more visitor info

Info for teachers

All the practical information you need to know about The Earth’s environment.

Program outline

  • Welcome, acknowledgement of Country and safety briefing 
  • Macroinvertebrate search using nets and identification sheets
  • Map reading and map making using geographical tools and natural material
  • Viewing of Aboriginal rock engraving and discussing the role of rock engravings in story-telling
  • Role-play the different jobs of NPWS personnel
  • Bush walk, viewing native flora and fauna
  • Farewell and depart

Getting there and parking

Girrakool picnic area is located in the northern section of Brisbane Water National Park.

To get there from the F3 Highway:

  • Exit Central Coast Highway towards Gosford
  • Take the first left onto Wisemans Ferry Road
  • Take the first left onto Old Pacific Highway
  • Take the first left onto Quarry Road
  • The picnic area is through the tunnel and straight ahead.


  • Parking is available at Girrakool picnic area, including 1 accessible parking space.
  • A wooden beam runs along the length of the carpark. People with reduced mobility may need assistance to get across the wooden beam.
  • Please be aware of the carpark opening hours. Gates are locked at closing.

What to bring

Please wear long pants, closed comfortable shoes and bring a hat and sunscreen. Be ready for all weather conditions with a jumper and raincoat. And remember to bring food and any necessary medications.

It’s a good idea to pack your belongings in a backpack rather than a plastic bag because we have some curious birds who may try to break in and share your lunch with you.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

Risk assessment and risk benefits

Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


Disability access level - no wheelchair access

  • The track is not wheelchair-accessible.
  • Girakool picnic area is wheelchair-accessible.