Booderee National Park
Booderee National Park, on the southern side of Jervis Bay, is cloaked in coastal scrub and flowering heath, with crumbling cliffs fronting pale sandy beaches, clear blue waters and a wealth of Aboriginal archaeological sites. Its fascinating landforms, extraordinary diversity of plant and animal life and its lovely beaches make it a favourite holiday destination for Canberra and Sydney residents.
The Aboriginal Wreck Bay community lives on the park peninsula and, in association with the Commonwealth Government, administers the national park.
From Nowra via Princes Hwy then Jervis Bay Rd; from Huskisson via Jervis Bay Rd
All year; crowded in summer holidays
200 km south of Sydney; 260 km east of Canberra; 35 km south-east of Nowra; 18 km south-east of Huskisson
- Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities www.environment.gov.au/parks/booderee
- Booderee Visitor Centre (02) 4443 0977
Jervis Bay (02) 4441 5999
Featured Activities in the National Park
Go snorkelling in the pristine waters of Jervis Bay
Visit the Booderee Botanic Gardens
Discover the park’s rich Aboriginal heritage
Explore the rock pools at low tide
- Back to nature, Booderee National Park, Back to nature
- Booderee National Park, Recreational Wildlife-watching, Recreational Wildlife-watching
- Snorkelling and diving in Jervis Bay, Eco-friendly activity
A look at the past
Fishing, whaling, grazing, logging and plantation forestry, government defence activities and tourism have all played their part in this area in the past, and historic sites recall some of these pursuits.
Koori people have long lived in this area and have strong cultural ties to the region. The former Jervis Bay National Park and adjacent Jervis Botanical Gardens were returned to the Wreck Bay community in 1995. The word Booderee, which the community has chosen for the park, means ‘bay of plenty’ or ‘plenty of fish’, and at Wreck Bay, on the southern headland, shell middens recall the feasts of Aboriginal people over hundreds of generations. There are also ceremonial grounds, axe-grinding grooves, rock shelters and other sites on the Bherwerre Peninsula.
Formidable cliffs and sweeping views are typical of the park. Some of the highest cliffs along the eastern coast, towering 90 metres or more, flank isolated Steamers Beach. Most of the peninsula is sandstone and siltstone covered with dunes and sandy soils. It is thought a tsunami may have been responsible for some of the coastal features; for example, the huge boulders along the cliff tops on Beecroft Peninsula and on the fluted rock platform at Stony Creek.
Woodland, heath, isolated remnants of rainforest and coastal rainforest grow across the peninsula – more than 600 native plant species have been identified. Those interested should visit Booderee Botanic Gardens, near the park entrance.
More than 30 mammal and 37 reptile species inhabit the park, but it is the birds that are most prolific and most visible. The varied habitats – from cliffs and heaths, to mangroves, lakes and forests – attract 200 species. Pick up a detailed list from the visitor centre. Beachgoers in particular will notice the many seabirds – cormorants, migratory short-tailed shearwaters, terns, albatross, little penguins (which nest on Bowen Island just offshore) and the white-bellied sea-eagle, guardian of the Aboriginal people of Wreck Bay.
When exposed at low tide, the many rock pools are the places to look for sea urchins, crabs, sea stars and other marine life (but be careful not to disturb any creatures). Look out for bottlenose dolphins swimming offshore, and humpback whales on their annual migration north (June–July) and south (September–November).
The terrain is gentle and there are many options for walkers. Leaving from Green Patch carpark, Telegraph Creek Nature Trail (2.4-km circuit, 1 hour, easy) loops through eucalypt forest, woodland and heath and across fern-lined creeks. Murrays Beach is ideal for beach walks; for example, at low tide you can stroll along Murrays Beach to Hole in the Wall (1.1 km one way, 30 minutes, easy). Steamers Beach Trail (14.5-km circuit, 5 hours, easy) is a full-day walk, and includes St Georges Head, Whiting Beach, and expansive views. There are also walking trails within the Booderee Botanic Gardens. Pick up a detailed list of walks from the visitor centre.
Diving and snorkelling
These waters are astonishing for their remarkable underwater scenery, with marine life, underwater cliffs and pristine seagrass meadows. Rock platforms at Murrays Beach and Scottish Rocks are good areas for snorkelling.
There is good line fishing along the coast (spearfishing and collecting crustaceans and other marine life is prohibited).
The park offers a superb chance to learn about the Koori culture and environment of the region. Ranger-led tours are usually run daily over the summer holiday season and at Easter.
For family swimming the best beaches are around the sheltered Jervis Bay from Green Patch to Murrays Beach. Surfers might want to head to Steamers, Cave or Bherwerre beaches.
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