Yuraygir National Park

Angourie Beach, Tourism New South Wales
Barbecue Campfire Caravan Disabled Diving Drinking water Fishing Park entry fee Swimming Toilets Watersports Wildlife Aboriginal site Camping area Ranger Walking

Introduction

Yuraygir National Park protects the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in New South Wales, a glorious sweep of beaches backed by forest and heath. The state’s coastal fringe is increasingly busy and increasingly developed, so this park’s 60-kilometre tract of largely untouched bushland is an important natural reserve.

Fact file

Access

From Yamba via Angourie Rd to Angourie section; from Maclean via Brooms Head Rd to Brooms Head; from Grafton via Pacific Hwy then either Wooli Rd (Wooli–Illaroo section) or, further south, Barcooongere Forest Way (Station Creek area)

Best season

All seasons; June to October best for whale-watching and wildflowers

Location

615 km north of Sydney; 35 km east of Grafton; 5 km south of Yamba; 25 km south-east of Maclean

Park information

  • NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
  • NPWS Grafton (02) 6641 1500

Size

35 502 ha

Visitor information

Grafton (02) 6642 4677

Maclean/Yamba (02) 6645 4121

www.clarencetourism.com

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Watch for dolphins and whales swimming offshore

    Catch some waves at renowned Angourie Beach

    Watch the sun set over the slow-moving waters of lovely Sandon River

See Also

A look at the past

European occupation over the years has included cattle grazing, sand mining and timber cutting, leaving scattered remains, and there has been a long history of recreational use. Yuraygir National Park was established in 1980.

Aboriginal culture

The name ‘Yuraygir’ is derived from the Yaegl (Yaygirr) language group, one of the traditional custodians of this land. Signs of past Aboriginal occupation exist within the park, such as the large midden at Station Creek.

Natural features

Yuraygir's pale sandy beaches are punctuated by rocky headlands, sand ridges and cliffs, and broken by river estuaries. Inland are lakes, bogs and swamps, created by changes to sea levels over millions of years. The lakes of Minnie Water and Hiawatha are perched freshwater lakes, encircled by massive dunes.

Native plants

The landscape here is a mix of coastal, or littoral, rainforest, dry eucalypt forest with blackbutt, red bloodwood and scribbly gum, and wetland areas with swamp mahogany, swamp oak and flaky-barked melaleuca, which forms a profusion of dense, vibrant yellow flowers in spring and early summer. Stretches of dry and sandy heathland are populated by banksia species, which attract numerous nectar-seeking birds when in flower. In seasonally waterlogged heath areas, grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea fulva) flourish.

Wildlife

Early in the day and at dusk, watch out for eastern grey kangaroos and red-necked wallabies, and quiet observers may hear the rustle of the New Holland mouse or bush rat in the heathland undergrowth. At night, swamp wallabies, possums, greater gliders and bats (14 species have been identified here) come out to feed. Other mammals finding refuge in the park include the yellow-footed antechinus, the brush-tailed phascogale, the common dunnart and the northern brown bandicoot. Commonly sighted reptiles include the eastern bearded dragon, the lace monitor and various species of skinks.

Birdwatchers will find much to see in late winter and early spring. In the forest areas glossy black-cockatoos and red-tailed black-cockatoos feed, while nectar-eating species flock to the heathlands. Oystercatchers fossick for food mainly around the rock platforms, and plovers, bitterns and osprey are typical along the estuarine areas and coastal wetlands. Migratory birds include the endangered little tern, which scrapes a shallow, flimsy nest in the sand to lay just two or three eggs. The tern is easily disturbed by human activity, so visitors are asked to stay well away if they see these birds.

Introduction

Enjoying the surf and sand are high on most visitors’ lists. The waves that crash in bring some of the state’s best surf breaks and there are plenty of opportunities for swimming, boating and picnicking along secluded beaches. There are a number of very good picnic areas, most with barbecue facilities. The lake system attracts plentiful birdlife and also provides some excellent canoeing.

Bushwalking

Most of the walks are comparatively short and easy, though Angourie Walk (10 km, 3 hours return) is a medium-grade track that joins Mara Creek and Lake Arragan. There are some terrific views from Point Dirrigan Lookout and good birdwatching. Dolphins are often spotted frolicking offshore, and migrating whales are regularly seen from here in winter. If you would like to camp you can stop at Shelley Headland. Wilson Headland Walk (3 km, 1 hour return) is an easy stroll from Wilson Head picnic area to Boorkoom camping area, with lovely ocean views.

Canoeing

Of several good venues for canoeing, the Sandon River, with its wide estuary expanse that is particularly picturesque and peaceful, is probably the best, and has a boat ramp, but Wooloweyah Lagoon, Lake Arragan, Minnie Water, Lake Hiawatha and Station Creek in the south of the park are some other options available.

Fishing

Keen anglers and those just wanting to try their luck will find that tailor, drummer, mulloway, bream and groper are likely catches. The Sandon River camping area, near the mouth of the river, is a fine spot for river and beach fishing.

Snorkelling and scuba diving

The sheltered coastline and large rock pools at Sandon Bluffs are great for snorkelling, while divers should investigate the underwater delights, including a colony of resident grey nurse sharks, of the Solitary Islands Marine Park and the North Solitary Island Nature Reserve.

Swimming and surfing

The beaches are lovely but not patrolled so swimmers need to take care as the currents can be strong. Illaroo and Sandon beaches are generally considered fairly safe. Angourie and the Mara Creek area are known for their top surf breaks and Grey Cliff (just north of Brooms Head) is another recommended surfing spot.

Campsites

Boorkoom camping area

In the southern section of Yuraygir National Park, small and secluded Boorkoom is north of Wooli near Diggers Camp. The 10 campsites here aren’t suitable for caravans or camper trailers; access is via the unsealed... Find out more


Grey Cliff camping area

Next to Red Cliff camping area on the headland south of Lake Arragan, Grey Cliff is 5 km north of Brooms Head along the unsealed Brooms Head Rd. The campsites are big enough for camper trailers and caravans. Bring... Find out more


Illaroo camping area

Just north of Minnie Water, via Minnie Water Rd off Wooli Rd, this is a large and spacious camping area with 60 sites shared between Illaroo north and Illaroo south. There’s room for tents, campervans and trailers.... Find out more


Lake Arragan camping area

Next to a small coastal lagoon ringed with paperbarks and nodding reeds, this camping area is just as popular with migratory and resident birds as it is with campers, but with 50 campsites there’s room for... Find out more


Pebbly Beach camping area

This is a top spot in a bay north of Station Creek Beach, with 60 campsites surrounded by banksias and horse-tail she-oaks. Sites are large and spread out behind the beach. There is a pleasant walk north to Freshwater... Find out more


Red Cliff camping area

This is next to Grey Cliff camping area, on the headland south of Lake Arragan, 5 km north of Brooms Head along the unsealed Brooms Head Rd. The campsites are big enough for camper trailers and caravans. Bring firewood... Find out more


Rocky Point camping area (walk-in camping)

This is a walk-in camping area with no facilities, accessible via an easy 100 m walking track leading from Illaroo camping area. Campfires are not permitted, so bring your own gas/fuel stove and drinking water.... Find out more


Sandon River camping area

You get the best of many worlds from here: sweeping sandy beach to the north; rockpools to the south at the base of Sandon Bluffs; and fine fishing in Sandon River. The 40 sites in the camping area are suitable for... Find out more


Shelley Head camping area (walk-in camping)

This walk-in selection of campsites is en route between Lake Arragan and Mara Creek on the Angourie Walk (10 km, 3 hr return). Campers need to bring their own drinking water and gas/fuel stove as campfires are not... Find out more


Station Creek camping area

This is a popular spot in peak periods, positioned by a peaceful creek with access through the sand dunes to the beach. Bring a canoe and go for a paddle, or set out on the Corkwood and Scribbly Gum Walk (1.5 km, 1 hr... Find out more


See Also

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