Bundjalung National Park is on the north coast of NSW, stretching between Iluka and Evans Head.
The name Bundjalung is after the Aboriginal people, the Bundjalung Nation. The Bundjalung Nation, made up of around 15 tribal groups, existed from around Grafton up to Beaudesert and Ipswich. The Bundjalung Nation is the only ones who explains the arrival to Australia in dream time stories after a massive catastrophe destroyed the land they came from.
There are picnic areas and camping sites to explore and enjoy the Bundjalung National Park.
Iluka Bluff Picnic Area
The Iluka Bluff Picnic Area is at the southernmost part of the park. The picnic area has good amenities with toilets and picnic tables. There is easy access to the beach and rocks at the bottom of the bluff to explore.
The Iluka Bluff Lookout is a short walk to the top of the bluff with great views out to the ocean and towards the south the mouth of the Clarence River and the rock walls at the entrance. The walk is relatively easy with stairs most of the way, but there are quite a few stairs so it gets your cardio going a little.
The picnic area has lots of grass space for having a picnic or kicking a ball, protected from the wind by the bluff. There are not many picnic tables and they are open in the sun, which is lovely in the winter but it could be too hot during the summer months.
A longer walk starts next to the road entrance of the picnic area to the Iluka World Heritage Rainforest , another brown sign starting in the Iluka township. The walk is easy and mostly flat through the coastal rainforest.
Frasers Reef Picnic Area
Frasers Reef Picnic Area is a beautiful picnic area near the township of Iluka. It has picnic tables and toilets, and quieter than Iluka Bluff Picnic Area. There isn’t as much room to run around with a ball but the picnic tables are better shaded. A 200m path leads to the beach between two headlands, Iluka Bluff to the south and Middle Bluff to the north. A viewing point is at the end of the walk just before entering the beach.
Back Beach Picnic Area
Back Beach Picnic Area is quieter than Iluka Bluff Picnic Area and set within the coastal forest. With fewer people and more picnic tables set in shady spots, you are more likely to get a table for yourself.
Beach panorama of a beach accessed from the Fraser Reef Picnic Area in Bundjalung National Park. A sandy walking track takes you out to Back Beach for a wander along the beach and to enjoy the water.
Woody Head Campground
Woody Head is the main camping ground in Bundjalung National Park with 94 campsites. The campsites cater for tents, camper trailers, caravans, and camping beside your vehicle, so it is basically available for any sort of camping you are set up for.
If camping is not quite what you are after then one of the cottages or cabins may suit you better. The facilities are great, complete with flushing toilets and hot showers. The cottages and cabins are powered too.
The campsites have wood BBQs available which are great for campfire even if you don’t want to use them for cooking.
Some of the amenities are only for campers, for example, hot showers are not available to day visitors. Beyond the few exceptions, the rest of Woody Point is a great location to camp or for a day visit. Seclusion is not one of the main attractions, it is very popular and can be booked out during holiday seasons.
The campground is on the northern edge of Woody Head itself. The beach is the start of Shark Bay and is pedestrian-only up to the Shark Bay Picnic Area. Continuing further up the beach is shared access with vehicles on Ten Mile Beach.
Woody Head has a large rock shelf that is open for walking over and exploring the various rock pools that are exposed at low tide. Seashore birds were in large groups when we were there, including a flock of pelicans that flew by when changing their roosting spot.
Fishermen were over near the head, casting into the rough ocean waves. The rock fishing is what draws fishermen the most to Woody Head. Some of the fish caught include jew, bream, tailor, drummer, and black fish.
A small boat ramp is available and is somewhat sheltered from the ocean during low tide. It is mostly suited to smaller craft as it is shallow water. The ramp is steep so a 4wd with more traction will help to retrieve your boat afterwards.
Shark Bay Picnic Area
Shark Bay Picnic Area is north of Woody Head. It is a small area but it does have a free BBQ, a long-drop toilet and picnic table. There is enough grass to have a bit of a run-around but this will depend if you are sharing the space with others.
The picnic area leads directly down to the beach of Shark Bay. Shark Bay up to the picnic area is pedestrian-only, so you can walk south along the beach to Woody Head without concern of 4wds passing you.
Ten Mile Beach
Ten Mile Beach is a beach from near Woody Head up to Black Rocks Campground. It is open for 4wd access, starting from near the Shark Bay Picnic Area. 4wd access is not allowed south of the entrance.
At low tide, the beach was an easy and wide beach to drive on. Accessing the beach was simple and only a few metres from the track before reaching hard sand. The damp sand went a long way up towards the edges of the beach so it could get narrow during high tides.
We enjoyed watching an osprey flying beside us while driving along the beach. They are beautiful to watch as they glide along the coast harnessing the onshore winds to move them along.
There has been a track from Black Rocks onto the beach, however, this is currently closed off (since 2014). From its appearance, it would have only been an entrance as the steep and sandy exit would have been difficult with any 4wd, with little runup available from the beach.
Black Rocks Campground
Black Rocks Camping Ground is the smaller of the camping grounds available in Bundjalung National Park. While it is smaller, it still has 50 campsites, so there is plenty of sites available.
It caters for the same type of camping as Woody Head, with the exception of cottage and cabin options. The facilities include picnic tables, barbeques, and toilets, but there are no hot showers.
Black Rocks Campground is set behind the dunes near Jerusalem Creek. Jerusalem Creek walk starts from the campground, following the creek north to where it meets the ocean, a 10km loop walk.
Jerusalem Creek is also an ideal location for paddle boarding or canoeing, with beautiful calm water along the tea-tree lined waters.
To get there:
From the Pacific Highway, take the exit for Iluka (on the north side of the Clarence River). There is a lot of construction building the new highway and a new bridge over the Clarence River (July 2019), so keep an eye out as there may be changes from time to time. Head towards Iluka from the roundabout near the highway and follow Iluka Rd for 13.1km. Turn left into Woody Head Rd to head to Woody Head. Follow Woody Head Rd for 800m to reach the entrance to the national park and information for acquiring permits if you have not already done so.
The directions are to Woody Head Campgrounds. The other locations are at different points along Iluka Rd. Shark Bay Picnic Area and Ten Mile Beach are before reaching Woody Head Rd. Iluka Bluff Picnic Area, Frasers Reef Picnic Area, and Back Beach Picnic Area are after reaching Woody Head Rd.
Black Rocks Campground is accessed further north just south of Woodburn.,