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Iluka Nature Reserve

“Iluka is a little treasure by the sea. Amazing birdwatching close to town, a walk through the lush rainforest, then a soothing swim and picnic. A day trip to remember.”

Located in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Iluka Nature Reserve is a gateway to stunning coastline and World Heritage-listed rainforest. It’s 136ha in size, but packed with natural wonders to discover.

Wander under the tall canopy and experience the peaceful rainforest for yourself on the Iluka Rainforest walking track. With over 140 bird species in the area, Iluka is a very popular destination for avid birdwatchers and walkers alike.

Head to Iluka Bluff for spectacular views, a picnic by the beach and a chance to spot migrating whales heading north during the winter months. While you’re there, why not enjoy fishing and swimming by the beach and snorkelling around the rocky coastline?


Why you should visit

Iluka Nature Reserve is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

World Heritage rainforest
Iluka Nature Reserve is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area - the most extensive strip of diverse rainforest anywhere on Earth. Iluka is also significant as it has the largest remaining stand of littoral "by the sea" rainforest in New South Wales and over 180 unique species of plants. Experience this special ecosystem up close on the Iluka Rainforest walking trail and see this amazing variety of plantlife for yourself.

Birdwatcher’s haven
It’s not surprising that Iluka Nature Reserve and neighbouring Bundjalung National Park have become popular destinations for birdwatchers, with 144 bird species spotted in the area. You’ll discover an array of birdlife in the rainforest as you wander under its mighty canopy. Look out for the barred cuckoo shrike or the varied thriller darting about in the trees. And if you head towards the sand and mud flats of the nearby Clarence River, there’s another 85 species to spot.

On the water
Nestled between the coastline and the Clarence River to its south and west, Iluka Nature Reserve has something to offer everyone who enjoys the water. Find a spot to throw in your fishing line from the beaches or rocky coastline, or indulge in a relaxed stroll along the river bank for the estuary fishers. And for those who want to immerse themselves in the glistening blue waters, there’s great swimming, surfing and snorkelling at the beaches near Iluka Bluff.

Whale watching
As the whales migrate north along the coastline in winter, you couldn’t find a better spot than the lookout at Iluka Bluff to watch the ocean for its wonderful inhabitants. Pack a picnic, take in the stunning panoramic views, and expect to see a whale or two frolicking in the distance.

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Getting there


From Grafton

  • Drive north on the Pacific Highway for approximately 45 minutes
  • Turn right onto Iluka Road and drive approximately 15 minutes to Iluka township
  • Iluka Nature Reserve can be reached via Iluka village from Long Street or the Iluka Bluff picnic area

From Ballina

  • Drive south on the Pacific Highway for approximately 60 minutes
  • Turn left onto Iluka Road and drive approximately 15 minutes to Iluka township
  • Iluka Nature Reserve can be reached via Iluka village from Long Street or the Iluka Bluff picnic area

Get driving directions


 Opening times

Iluka Nature Reserve is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

 Close to

Iluka Nature Reserve is close to:

  • Iluka (adjacent)
  • Yamba ferry (1km)
  • Yamba road (45km)
  • Grafton (80km)
  • Ballina (95km)

 Public transport

For information about public transport options, visit the NSW transport info website / NSW country transport info website

For information on Yamba-Iluka ferry times, visit Clarence River Ferries

Weather and climate

 Visiting through the seasons

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Iluka Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights:

Spring (Sept, Oct, Nov)

  • Experience the spring fragrances of the rainforest and the diversity of local birdlife

Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)

  • Head straight to Iluka Bluff and immerse yourself in the glistening waters - water activities like swimming, snorkelling and surfing await you.

Autumn  (Mar, Apr, May)

  • A great time to for a bit of beach fishing as the travelling winter species move closer to the shore

Winter (Jun, Jul, Aug)

  • Take in the panoramic views from Iluka Bluff and keep your eyes out for whales migrating north along the coast



  • The average temperature ranges between 17°C and 27°C
  • The area's highest recorded temperature in summer is 42.5°C

Winter ­

  • The average temperature ranges between 9°C and 20°C
  • The area’s lowest recorded temperature in winter is 2.7°C


  • The wettest month on average is March, the driest is September
  • The area's highest recorded rainfall is 300mm in one day



Phone: 02 6641 1500
Fax: 02 6641 1599
for Bundjalung and Fortis Creek national parks, and Iluka Nature Reserve for Yuraygir, Nymboida and Nymboi-Binderay national parks, and Sherwood Nature Reserve 
Street address: Level 4, 49 Victoria Street, Grafton NSW
Postal address: PO Box 361, Grafton NSW 2460
Opening hours: 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday

Creeper fig hero, Iluka Nature Reserve