The Greater Blue Mountains has been a prime destination for nature-based recreation since its early settlement and now offers a wide diversity of recreational experiences both for local residents and for visitors.

Recreational opportunities occur in a wide range of settings, ranging from remote wilderness to developed sites such as Echo Point and Scenic World.

Tenures of lands include National Parks and Nature Reserves; Crown lands reserved for recreation, environmental protection, and other uses; State Forests; Local Government managed Community Lands; and privately owned lands.

The region caters to a wide range of participation from commercial tours to informal groups and individuals and provides for a wide range of skill from the novice to the very experienced.

Ecotourism licensing

We have developed a licensing system for ecotourism conducted on Crown and Community Lands managed by Council. The system was developed in consultation with the nature-based Recreation industry and community through the development of the Nature-Based Recreation Strategy. 

Licensing was introduced in 2004 and requires all commercial activities to have a Nature-Based Recreation and Tourism Licence while operating on Crown and Council Lands managed by Council. 

The revenues generated by the licence fee system supplements existing funds to enable the ongoing management of nature-based recreation sites and the restoration of areas degraded by ecotourism impacts.

Does this scheme apply to you?

If you are a business or training organisation conducting activities on Council managed lands then you will require a licence.
Public liability insurance policies also require you to have permission to use the place you conduct these activities and this licence will legitimise your use and formally grant this permission.
 
If you are a non-commercial community organisation, a licence is only required where a financial payment is required from participants to attend an activity on council managed lands which leads to a financial gain for the non-commercial community organisation.

For example: where the activity is not run on a strictly cost recovery basis to cover miscellaneous activity costs such as transport and catering and an operating surplus/profit is generated.

If you are a private recreational user or a small group of friends then you will not need a licence. 

Available licences:

(Licence period 1st September to 31 August)

Casual Licence

  • Maximum group size of 20
  • Usage no greater than 6 times per year
  • Up to 24 hour period only

Annual Licence

Usage greater than 6 times a year

Special Events Licence

Groups greater than 20 people 

Ecotourism Licensing Fees 2020-2021

Categories of Licence Total Fee (including GST) Comments
Annual Licence
Administrative fee for the non payment of usage fees and/or failure to report usage of reserve system and/or the issuing of a licence suspension notice in accordance with terms and conditions of the Ecotourism Licence $151 This is an administrative fee for handling of non payment of usage fees and/or non reporting of usage of reserve system and/or the issuing of a licence suspension notice in accordance with attachment A of the Nature based recreation and tourism licence.
Initial annual Ecotourism License application fee for use of Council land for higher impact commercial nature based recreation and tourism activities including cliff based recreation activities and horseback riding $320 Valid from 1 September for 12 months Generally for all other activities
Initial annual Ecotourism License application fee for use of Council land for
educational nature based recreation activities for recognised education and training providers including abseiling and horseback riding
$325 Only for recognised education and training institutions such as TAFE. Valid from 1 September for 12 months.
Initial annual Ecotourism License application fee for use of Council land for lower impact commercial nature based recreation and tourism activities excluding cliff based recreation activities and horseback riding $325 Valid from 1 September for 12 months.
Annual Ecotourism renewal license application fee for all commercial and educational nature based recreation activities $325 This is for renewal of an existing valid license only. Valid from 1 September for 12 months.
Casual Licence
One day use Ecotourism Licence for the use of Council land for commercial nature based recreation and tourism activities. $59.00 Maximum of 6 permits issued to any one organisation per year. Maximum of 20 people per permit
Half day use fee - per person $2.50 Half day is equivalent to 0 - 4 hours
Whole day use fee - per person $5.10 Whole day classified as 4 - 24 hours
Special Events Licence
Nature-based recreation – special event Ecotourism licence $173 Groups greater than 20 people.
Nature-based recreation – BMCC staff event support – per hour $54.00 Half day is equivalent to 0 - 4 hours

If you require a licence to conduct your activities then complete and return the appropriate application form, which may be downloaded on this page. 

Please be aware of and understand your responsibilities under the licence agreement and ensure you have the requisite level of public liability and worker's compensation insurances. 

If you have any queries about this information or how it applies to you and your organisation please use the contact details below.

Non-commercial community organisation usage requirements 

Non-commercial community organisations who conduct organised nature based recreational activities on Council managed lands are reminded that the following requirements must be met while utilising Council managed lands:

  1. Non Commercial organisations must ensure they are covered by a minimum of $20 million of Public Liability insurance for a single occurrence for the activities being conducted;
  2. The Public Liability insurance must list Blue Mountains City Council as an interested party
  3. Non-commercial community organisations must ensure that any paid workers are covered by Workers Compensation insurance; 
  4. Non-commercial community organisations must ensure that they demonstrate duty of care for the participants of their activities including but not limited to ensuring volunteer guides have suitable first aid training commensurate with the location of the activity and the probable time before emergency medical care is likely to be provided.
  5. Non-commercial community organisations must ensure that they demonstrate duty of care towards any other users of the reserve who may be impacted by their activities.
  6. No exclusivity of access is provided to any (commercial or non-commercial ) users of council reserve system and the rights of all users must be respected at all times;
  7. All organised nature based recreational activities must be carried out in accordance with minimal environmental impact principles; 
  8. It is recommended that non-commercial community organisations comply with the voluntary guidelines of the relevant NSW Adventure Activity Standards for their activity where they exist. 

Further Information: 

For up to date advice on reserve closures for emergency or operational reasons please check the Walking Tracks page.