27 December 2023

Fancy a stroll this summer? Stunning walks abound in South Coast national parks

| Albert McKnight
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two people bushwalking

A new track has been created to Dark Beach in the Murramarang National Park. Photo: John Spencer, DPE.

Spending time with your family in one of the wonderful national parks that make up our beautiful country is one of the best ways to enjoy the summer holidays.

Fortunately, some of the best parks are only a short drive from Canberra to the NSW South Coast – it’s even better for those coastal locals, who have the parks in their backyard.

While many of the national park campgrounds are already booked out these summer holidays, if you can’t find a place to pitch a tent, you can still take the family for walks and a day visit.

We’ve picked out a few places for a swim and a stroll among the forests and beaches.

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Murramarang Aboriginal Area walking track, Murramarang National Park

This track passes middens and other sites of great cultural and historic significance to First Nations people, in addition to offering coastal views out to Brush Island.

The 2.2 km loop track can be found just south of Bawley Point and should only take you up to an hour and a half, then you can jump into the water for a swim.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) urges walkers to leave First Nations artefacts undisturbed.

For more information, click here.


Depot Beach is another stunning location in Murramarang National Park. Photo: NPWS.

Depot Beach rock platform walk, Murramarang National Park

Only one kilometre long, this loop track will take you to fascinating rockpools, and offers birdwatching and ocean views.

It will take you up to an hour and a half, but make sure you’re heading out at low tide.

The walk can be found at Depot Beach, which is near Durras, and of course, you can finish with a swim.

For more information, click here.


A bird’s-eye view of Dark Beach, which can also be visited on the Murramarang South Coast Walk when it is open between March and November. Photo: John Spencer, DPE.

Dark Beach, Murramarang National Park

A short walk through spotted-gum forest leads to the stunning cove named Dark Beach, which is just south of Durras.

The NPWS says you will see unique rock formations along the walking track, along with a band of volcanic rock, with white sand on one side and black sand on the other.

Visitors can find fossils, enjoy a beach picnic or cool off with a dip.

For more information, click here.

Oaky Beach, Murramarang National Park

For a little-used 2.4 km return track near Batemans Bay that winds through gums and rainforest to a secluded beach, try the Oaky Beach walk.

It will take you an hour and a half and offers swimming and fishing on a remote beach.

For more information, click here.

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1080 Beach, Eurobodalla National Park

For a lovely walk along the sand to explore some coastline, try out 1080 Beach, south of Narooma.

It is a beautiful and popular spot for surfing. But visitors can also go for a swim on the beach, do some fishing or have a picnic while enjoying the view.

For more information, click here.

coastal inlet at national park

Aragunnu is a beautiful location in Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: John Yurasek, NPWS.

Mimosa Rocks track, Mimosa Rocks National Park

A short and easy wheelchair-accessible track at Aragunnu in Mimosa Rocks National Park will give you views over the stony beaches, ocean and rockpools.

The track’s boardwalk crosses over the largest First Nations midden in the national park and ends with views of a large, pyramid-shaped rock, under which lies the wreck of a ship that gave the park its name.

For more information, click here.

two people at a lagoon

Bournda Lagoon is another wonderful location in Bournda National Park. Photo: Kathleen McCann.

Sandy Creek loop track, Bournda National Park

For a longer, three-hour hike, try this track near Merimbula.

You will walk past dry sclerophyll forests, she-oak thickets, pockets of rainforest, paperbarks that fringe Bournda Lagoon, the coastline, Sandy Beach Creek and Bournda Lake.

It is a moderately challenging route, so be prepared with a hat, sunscreen and water.

For more information, click here.

coastal rocky area

The 65 million-year-old Pinnacles within Beowa National Park make for an impressive sight. Photo: NPWS.

Pinnacles walking track, Beowa National Park

A famous walking track further south will take you past the Pinnacles, a spectacular geological feature that was created 65 million years ago.

The 1.1 km loop track, which is near Pambula, will take about 40 minutes and is an easy walk that meanders through woodland with lookouts to the Pinnacles.

For more information, click here.

coastal tower

Boyds Tower, south of Eden, overlooks Twofold Bay. Photo: SCT.

Boyds Tower track, Beowa National Park

There are several wonderful treks in the Beowa National Park, but for the last easy and wheelchair-accessible walk for this list, we’ve picked this one.

Near Eden, it will take about 45 minutes return to get to Boyds Tower. Built by slave trader Ben Boyd, it was to become a lighthouse. There are also views out to the ocean and Twofold Bay.

For more information, click here.

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Stay safe while swimming in our parks

The majority of beaches in our national parks are remote and unpatrolled, while many don’t have mobile phone reception and it may take time for help to arrive.

The NPWS and Surf Life Saving Australia say that before you rush into the water, stop and check for hazards such as large waves, rips, changing water depths and rocks.

The safest place to swim is at a patrolled beach, between the flags.

Visit Surf Life Saving Australia for more information on surf safety and NPWS for advice on water safety in national parks.

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