Bongil Bongil National Park
Bonville Creek is a great place for canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing in Bongil Bongil National Park, near Sawtell.
You don’t need to be an experienced paddler to enjoy Bonville Creek. Just 10 minutes drive south of Coffs Harbour, this tranquil waterway will make you feel you’re a million miles away from town. It’s an easy paddle for canoeists, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders of all levels.
This saltwater estuary also offers a sheltered fishing spot. If you're lucky, you might catch flathead, mullet or mangrove jack to cook up for lunch at nearby Bongil picnic area.
Bonville Creek, surrounded by native bushland, attracts plenty of birdlife. Bring your binoculars for a chance to see cormorants, whistling kites, ospreys, kingfishers and the beautiful rainbow bee-eaters. Shorebirds such as little terns and pied oystercatchers make their nests at the mouth of the creek.
For those wanting a longer paddle, canoes and kayaks can also be launched around the upper reaches of Pine Creek.
Bongil picnic area, south of Coffs Harbour, is a secluded spot for picnicking, fishing and birdwatching by the banks of Bonville Creek, in Bongil Bongil National Park.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/canoeing-paddling-experiences/bonville-creek/local-alerts
- in Bongil Bongil National Park in the North Coast region
Bongil Bongil National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
All the practical information you need to know about Bonville Creek.
Getting there and parking
Bonville Creek is in the northern area of Bongil Bongil National Park, near Sawtell. To get there:
- Take the Bonville exit from the Pacific Highway onto Pine Creek Way
- Turn into Williams Road
- Continue to the end of Williams Road to the carpark at Bongil picnic area.
For fishing or launching canoes or kayaks:
- Use the pontoon at Bongil picnic area, at the end of Williams Road.
For launching larger dinghies or tinnies:
- You'll need to use the public Bonville Creek boat ramp off Lyons Road in Sawtell (outside Bongil Bongil National Park).
- Sealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Parking is available at Bongil picnic area inside the national park, or at Bonville boat ramp on Lyons Road, which is outside the park. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.
Cyclists and walkers can reach Bonville Creek and Bongil picnic area via the unsealed Lyons trail from Lyons Road, Toormina.
Toilet and picnic facilities are available nearby at Bongil picnic area, located at the end of Williams Road.
Drinking water is not available in this area so it's a good idea to bring your own.
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - hard
A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.
Powerboats and jet skis are not permitted in this area. Bonville Creek waterways have a 4 knot speed limit.
NSW national parks are no smoking areas.
Bonville Creek is in Bongil Bongil National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
A place where one stays a long time
Bongil Bongil National Park is the traditional land of the Gumbaynggir people, whose ancestral lands extend 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 park provided abundant seafood and bushtucker, and was a site for gatherings and sacred ceremonies.
- Bush tucker Bush tucker is a Stage 4 (Years 7-8) school excursion to Bongil Bongil National Park, which focuses on Geography. Join our Aboriginal Discovery rangers for an easy stroll along the forested banks of Bonville Creek, to investigate the rich diversity of plants and animals in the park.
- Bush tucker Bush tucker in Bongil Bongil National Park is a school excursion for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students with a focus on Geography and History. Join our Aboriginal Discovery rangers for an easy stroll along the forested banks of Bonville Creek, to investigate the rich diversity of plants and animals in the park.
- Bush tucker in Bongil Bongil National Park Share the bush secrets of the traditional Gumbaynggirr People in Bush tucker – a Stage 3 (Years 5-6) excursion in Bongil Bongil National Park. Aboriginal guides will reveal their special connection to Country and their secrets for health, wellness and survival.
Beaches and waterways
The waterways within Bongil Bongil National Park carry water across the coastal plains from the steep foothills to the west, providing a home for many types of birds, animals and reptiles. For visitors, the waterways and beaches in Bongil Bongil National Park offer a range of water activities, including excellent fishing and kayaking. Try your luck on the Bonville river for flathead and whiting.
In addition to being home to one of NSW's largest koala populations, Bongil Bongil National Park also boasts more than 165 species of birds. The park provides breeding, roosting and feeding habitats for a number of migratory birds like the little tern and the pied oystercatcher. The Bundageree Rainforest walk is the best place to see the birds of the rainforest, like the dramatically beautiful wompoo fruit dove and the colourful rose-crowned fruit dove that makes a loud and explosive "hookco" sound.
- Pine Creek paddle route Adventurous canoeists, kayakers, and stand-up paddle boarders will enjoy this downstream route along pristine Pine Creek, a wildlife haven in Bongil Bongil National Park, near Coffs Harbour.
Plants and animals protected in this park
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)
One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.
Grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
The grey-headed flying fox is Australia's largest native bat, with a wingspan up to 1m. This threatened species travels up and down south-eastern Australia and plays a vital role in pollinating plants and spreading seeds in our native forests.
Lace monitor (Varanus varius)
One of Australia’s largest lizards, the carnivorous tree-dwelling lace monitor, or tree goanna, can grow to 2m in length and is found in forests and coastal tablelands across eastern Australia. These Australian animals are typically dark blue in colour with whitish spots or blotches.
Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)
Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.
Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)
The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together. It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria.