Bongil Bongil National Park
Unspoilt beaches, sweeping coastal vistas, wetlands, littoral rainforest and pristine estuaries await you in this park. You can go bushwalking, picnicking or boating, and the peaceful estuaries are the perfect place to paddle your own canoe and experience up close the abundant bird life that the park protects. The beautiful beaches are important nesting grounds for a variety of wading birds and terns.
This park is near...
Coffs Harbour (10 km)
Best access routes
The park lies between Sawtell and Mylestom on the mid-north coast of NSW, 10 km south of Coffs Harbour and approximately 560 km north of Sydney. Take the Sawtell turn-off from the Pacific Highway to the picnic area, walking track and boat ramp off Lyons Road, Sawtell. Take the Repton turn-off from the Pacific Highway for the Bundagen Rainforest Walk and North Beach, which are reached from Tuckers Rocks Road, Repton. The Scrub Creek rainforest picnic area is at the end of School Road, off Overhead Bridge Rd just north of Tuckers Rocks Road.
Road quality: paved
Facilities & things to do
The Bundagen Rainforest Walk from Tuckers Rocks to Bundagen Headland is well worth exploring. This gentle path along the park's coastal fringe will take you through remnant rainforest that has adapted to the harsh environment of sandy soils and salt-laden winds. You can return the same way or walk back along North Beach.
Accommodation in the park
Tuckers Rocks Cottage (6 people maximum)
Tuckers Rocks Cottage is an isolated timber cottage overlooking the ocean. It's an ideal retreat for bush and beach walking, koala spotting, mountain bike riding and relaxing that sleeps six.
Things to do: Beach, bushwalking (Bundageree Rainforest Walk 6km return, Bluff Loop Trail 2km return), koala spotting, mountain bike riding, relaxing in a beautiful and isolated coastal area.
Location: Tuckers Rocks, 3 km east of Repton village
Access: 20 km south of Coffs Harbour. Turn east off the Pacific Highway through Repton on Tuckers Rock Road. Continue into park and three kilometres eastward on unsealed road.
Fees: Christmas holidays $600 per week, other holidays $400 per week, off-peak $250 per week
Bookings: Kilbornes Real Estate (02) 6655 6616
The park also has numerous graded fire trails, ideal for leisurely bushwalks and cycling. Bonville Beach, over 6 km in length, provides a wonderful and remote seaside walk.
Driving in the park
Cars and 4WDs are not allowed on the fire trails inside the park. 4WD vehicles are permitted on the beach between Tuckers Rocks and Bundagen Headland, however you must only drive on the intertidal zone and not on the dry sand or sand dunes.
Picnics and barbecues
You'll find a picnic area with shelters, gas barbecues, toilets and a canoe launching facility just north of Bonville Creek, accessible from Lyons Rd. A small picnic area can also be found on the edge of the Scrub Creek rainforest, at the end of School Rd.
The sheltered habitats of Pine and Bonville creeks make them ideal for canoeing. You can drift along peacefully observing the wealth of waterbirds that call these pristine estuaries home. Anglers will enjoy Bongil Bongil's rock, beach and estuary fishing spots. Detailed information about water quality at beaches in and around this park is available in the Bellingen Shire Council section of the 2003-4 State of the Beaches report.
Bongil Bongil has an array of diverse plant and animal communities and helps to complete a forested corridor from the coast to the Dorrigo Plateau, providing an important component in Australia's coastal reserve system.
You may encounter a variety of interesting plant communities while you're exploring Bongil Bongil. The park protects important wetlands and littoral rainforest, and you can also see mangrove, saltmarsh, sedgelands, wet and dry heath, swamp rainforest, wet and dry sclerophyll forest and paperbark forest. The attractive crinum lily is a common understorey plant in the wettest areas and you can also find luxuriant bangalow and cabbage palms.
With such a broad range of habitats in a relatively small area, it's hardly surprising that the park protects over 165 bird species. It includes breeding, roosting and feeding habitat for wading birds protected by migratory bird agreements between Australia, China and Japan. Threatened species found in the park include the black-necked stork, little tern, pied oyster catcher, black bittern, rose-crowned fruit-dove, wompoo fruit-dove, osprey and comb-crested jacana.
Koalas, red-necked wallabies, lace monitors, little bent-wing bats and great-barred frogs are some of the other animals found in the park.
The park landscape: geology and landforms
Most of the park is less than 10 m above sea level and some areas are subject to flooding after heavy rain. The steep foothills west of Bongil Bongil are drained by numerous streams which flow onto the coastal plain. These either join watercourses such as Bonville and Pine creeks or drain into swamp and wetland areas. The geology of the park consists of rocks formed during the Palaeozoic period, up to 570 million years ago.
Culture & history
Bongil Bongil's Aboriginal name means 'a place where one stays a long time because of the abundance of food'. The area was a popular place for the local Gumbaynggir people until the 1960s, as bush tucker and seafood were plentiful. The territory of the Gumbaynggir people extends from Grafton in the north to the Nambucca River in the south and from the coast west to the headwaters of the Nymboida River. The community was largely unaffected by Europeans until timber plantations were established in the 1970s. Bundagen Head, the rock near Bundagen Head, the mouth of Bundagen Creek and Tuckers Rocks are all sites of significance to Aboriginal people. Scatterings of Aboriginal objects are found at various locations throughout the park.
The land and waterways, and the plants and animals that live in them, feature in all facets of Aboriginal culture – including recreational, ceremonial, spiritual and as a main source of food and medicine. They are associated with dreaming stories and cultural learning that is still passed on today. We work with local Aboriginal communities to protect this rich heritage.
To find out more about Aboriginal heritage in the park, you can get in touch with the local Aboriginal community. Contact the park office for more details.
History in the park
The earliest European visitors to the Bonville area were probably escaped convicts from the Moreton Bay settlement at Brisbane, making their way to larger settlements such as Port Macquarie or Sydney. In 1845, runaway convicts ambushed two policemen at Bonville Creek, stealing their horses, weapons and boots, forcing them to walk to Kempsey barefoot.
The first European settlers in the area were cedar getters. They drew cedar logs from the upper reaches of Bonville Creek and floated them down in rafts to the link with Pine Creek. As the tide rose they were floated up Pine Creek to be loaded onto carts and transported to what is now Repton, for shipment to Sydney. There are no known relics of European settlement and industry within the park.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service