Bonville Creek

Bongil Bongil National Park

Overview

Bonville Creek is a great place for canoeing, kayaking and fishing and also offers great birdwatching opportunities in Bongil Bongil National Park, near Sawtell.

Where
Bongil Bongil National Park
Price
Free
Please note
  • The nearest toilets can be found at Bongil picnic area
  • Drinking water is limited or not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

You don’t need to be an experienced paddler to enjoy Bonville Creek. While close to the thriving holiday village of Sawtell, paddling this tranquil waterway will make you feel you’re a million miles away from any commotion. It’s an easy paddle for canoeists and kayakers of all levels, offering great fishing and birdwatching.

This saltwater estuary is also a good sheltered fishing spot and you might be lucky enough to be cooking up your flathead, mullet or mangrove jack for dinner that night.

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.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

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

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Bonville Creek.

Getting there and parking

Bonville Creek is in the northern precinct of Bongil Bongil National Park.

For launching smaller crafts such as canoes or kayaks:

For launching larger dinghies or tinnies:

  • Use the public boat ramp at Lyons Road in Sawtell (outside Bongil Bongil National Park).

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Bongil picnic area and Lyons Road boat ramp. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Bongil Bongil National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

With cooler weather, it's a great time to explore the mountain bike tracks in the park.

Summer

A great time to explore Bonville Creek by canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board.

Winter

Look for birds feeding on fruit-bearing trees in the rainforest.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

20°C and 27°C

Highest recorded

43.3°C

Winter temperature

Average

9°C and 21°C

Lowest recorded

-3.2°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

September

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

404.6mm

Facilities

Drinking water is not available in this area so it's a good idea to bring your own.

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Boat ramp

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Boating safety

If you're out on your boat fishing, waterskiing or just cruising the waterways, the safety of you and your passengers is paramount.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Paddling safety

To make your paddling or kayaking adventure safer and more enjoyable, check out these paddling safety tips.

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Permitted

Fishing

A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Bellingen (19 km)

Bellingen is a laid-back, tree-lined town with a New Age vibe. It's set in a luxuriant valley beside the Bellinger River.

www.visitnsw.com

Coffs Harbour (9 km)

Coffs Harbour is a coastal city on the North Coast, packed with things to do. It's surrounded by lush forests and national parks.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

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

Bundagaree Rainforest walk, Bongil Bongil National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary/Seen Australia

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 3 (Years 5-6) school excursion in Bongil Bongil National Park which focuses on HSIE. Join our Aboriginal Discovery rangers for an easy walk along the forested banks of Bonville Creek, to investigate the rich diversity of plants and animals in this park.
  • Bush tucker Bush tucker is a school excursion in Bongil Bongil National Park for Stage 5 (Years 9-10) students focusing on geography as a KLA. 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 is a Stage 4 (Years 7-8) school excursion to Bongil Bongil National Park, which focuses on geography as a KLA. 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 HSIE. 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.

Beaches and waterways

Bonville Beach, Bongil Bongil National Parks. Photo: Rob Cleary/Seen Australia

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.

Birdwatcher's haven

Bundagaree Rainforest walk, Bongil Bongil National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary/Seen Australia

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 Bundagaree 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.

  • Bongil Beach Bongil Beach, in Bongil Bongil National Park near Coffs Harbour, is a remote beach ideal for walking and fishing offering scenic coastal views and birdwatching.
  • Bundagaree Rainforest walk Bundagaree Rainforest walk is near Tuckers Rocks in Bongil Bongil National Park on the NSW north coast. This easy walk takes in rainforest and beach.
  • Pine Creek paddle route Adventurous canoeists, kayakers, and stand up paddleboarders will enjoy this downstream route along pristine Pine Creek, a wildlife haven in Bongil Bongil National Park, near Coffs Harbour.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Koala. Photo: Lucy Morrell

    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 hanging from a tree branch. Photo: Shane Ruming/OEH

    Grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

    The grey-headed flying fox is one of several threatened Australian animals and the largest Australian native bat, with a wingspan that extends up to 1m. Known to inhabit woodlands, rainforests and urban regions, these fascinating nocturnal mammals congregate in large roost sites along the east coast of NSW.

  • Lace monitor, Daleys Point walking track, Bouddi National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    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.

Plants

  •  Grey mangrove, Towra Point Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    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. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    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.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (4)

Bonville Creek, Bongil Bongil National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary