Sydney is surrounded by national parks and the larger old established ones, such as Royal, Ku-ring-gai Chase and Blue Mountains, are well known and frequently visited by thousands each year. Each of the parks and reserves featured in the individual chapters has its own character and none is exactly the same in terms of the vegetation and wildlife to be found. Obviously, some places will be similar to others, such as Castlereagh and Windsor Downs Nature Reserves which both contain remnant tracts of Cumberland Plain Woodland and are close to each other. Yet, when considering all twelve areas covered, there are great contrasts between those which preserve samples of mangrove and saltmarsh habitat and well developed recreational facilities, as at Bicentennial Park, compared with the dune and sandstone forests at Bents Basin. Some of the reserves discussed are accustomed to lots of visitors at weekends, while others are virtually deserted most of the time. Despite the contrasts in numbers of visitors, all are of interest to those concerned with nature, whether birdwatchers, ecologists, students in environmental studies, conservationists or photographers of wildflowers. Some reserves are of considerable historical interest too, as most were put to other uses before being declared sanctuaries of one kind or another. The book is meant to be used in conjunction with field guides on native plants, birds, reptiles and other natural history publications, some of which have been included in the Further Reading list at the back of this book. No attempt has been made by the authors to include complete lists of flora and fauna for each of the parks. Despite this, the book hopefully highlights those aspects of nature which we found most interesting or have personal knowledge of and experience with. The emphasis in each case has been upon those aspects of nature for which the reserve concerned was originally set aside or has become renowned for in naturalists' circles.