Nelson Lagoon

Mimosa Rocks National Park

Overview

It’s an easy walk to Nelson Lagoon in Mimosa Rocks National Park on the far south coast. The lagoon is perfect for a spot of paddling, birdwatching and fishing.

Where
Mimosa Rocks National Park
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note

The walking track from the carpark to Nelson Lagoon is about 300m.

From Nelson Beach carpark, it’s a short and easy walk to tranquil Nelson Lagoon. The lagoon is a popular spot for birdwatching, especially during spring, so be sure to take your binoculars along and look out for pied oystercatchers, striated thornbills and little wattlebirds foraging for food.

Find a spot by the water’s edge to enjoy some fishing or if you’re feeling more energetic, take a canoe along for a paddle around the lagoon. There are lots of spots for an informal picnic; it’s a great place to spend some time. From the lagoon, you can take a walk to the golden sand of nearby Nelson Beach or return to the carpark along the short walking track.

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/nelson-lagoon/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Nelson Lagoon.

Getting there and parking

Nelson Lagoon is in the southern part Mimosa Rocks National Park. To get there:

  • From Tathra, follow Tathra-Bermagui Road.
  • Turn right onto Nelson Lake Road and follow the signs to Nelson Beach
  • Nelson Lagoon is a short walk from the carpark

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Nelson Beach.

Best times to visit

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

Spring

Head to one of the park's headlands for great whale watching – don't forget your binoculars for up close views.

Summer

A great time for a family camping holiday by the beach, try Aragunnu campground or Gillards campground .

Winter

Keep your eyes on the parks winter-flowering plants, like spotted gums, mugga ironbark and coastal banksia for honeaters and lorikeets.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

15°C and 27°C

Highest recorded

44.5°C

Winter temperature

Average

2°C and 18°C

Lowest recorded

-8.1°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

February and March

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

454.2mm

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Beach safety

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

  • Strong rips and currents can occur across the sand flats and in channels of the Nelson Lagoon, and are more prominent during the change in tide. Strong rips and currents may also be present at nearby beaches.
  • There are many patrolled beaches nearby, please see Surf Life Saving Australia

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

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.

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

Bega (24 km)

With its forests, lush pastures and a coastline sculpted into a succession of wonders by the sea, the Sapphire Coast is a perfect holiday destination at any time of the year. Set in a valley at the junction of the Bega and Brogo rivers and surrounded by rich dairy country, Bega is a handsome, historic town that's the rural centre of the Sapphire Coast and gateway to the lush Bega Valley. Visit the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, housed in a faithful reproduction of the original, tells the story of cheese-making production in the area.

www.visitnsw.com

Merimbula (49 km)

The main coastal towns of the Sapphire Coast include Bermagui, Tathra, Merimbula and Eden. This stunning coastline has sparkling beaches and bays, lakes and national parks, all accessible via excellent walking tracks and coastal drives. You'll find beaches just perfect for surfing, swimming and walks.

www.visitnsw.com

Tathra (24 km)

Tathra is a small coastal township clustered around a historic sea wharf, a popular fishing platform and the only one of its kind remaining on the east coast of Australia.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Nelson Lagoon is in Mimosa Rocks National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Ancient connections

Mongarlowe River, Dasyurus picnic area, Monga National Park. Photo: Lucas Boyd

Mimosa Rocks National Park lies within the traditional Country of the Yuin people who have inhabited the region for thousands of years, climbing these headlands, swimming in the rivers and lakes, crossing the sand dunes and walking the beaches. The plants and animals within the park were a source of food, medicine and shelter for the Yuin people and the park's landscape is strongly connected to Dreaming stories. Be sure to take the Mimosa Rocks walk for an insight into the Aboriginal heritage within the park.

  • Mimosa Rocks walking track Great for walking with children, the easy Mimosa Rocks walk takes you along a short boardwalk to a lookout. You may spot the Mimosa shipwreck on the rocks below.

Bygone eras

Moon Bay, Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

White settlers arrived in the Bega Valley in the 1830s, attracted by its grazing and farming potential, with Bega township being established in 1851. In its earliest years the town traders used Moon Bay as a regional port shipping Timber and sheep products from its sheltered waters. You can still see a log-slide and mooring ring from bygone days, or take a walk to 'Riverview' in the park's south-east, the remains of these historic premises have important associations with the 19th century timber and coastal shipping industries. 

  • Mimosa Rocks walking track Great for walking with children, the easy Mimosa Rocks walk takes you along a short boardwalk to a lookout. You may spot the Mimosa shipwreck on the rocks below.
  • Moon Bay A short and easy walking track descends steeply to the secluded beach at Moon Bay in Mimosa Rocks National Park. Enjoy a picnic on the sand and explore the historic heritage of the area.

Plant spectacular

Mimosa Rocks walking track, Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

When you’re driving from the south and about to cross the Bega River, you are sure to notice the knife edge boundary of spotted gum, with an understorey of burrawang palms; characteristic vegetation of Mimosa Rocks National Park. When exploring the dunes and cliffs of the park you’ll see coastal banksia, coast wattle and drooping she-oak that can withstand winds and salty air. Check the gullies for the tubular flowers of the endangered chefs hat correa, so called because it’s a similar shape to a chef’s hat.

  • Mimosa Rocks walking track Great for walking with children, the easy Mimosa Rocks walk takes you along a short boardwalk to a lookout. You may spot the Mimosa shipwreck on the rocks below.
  • Moon Bay A short and easy walking track descends steeply to the secluded beach at Moon Bay in Mimosa Rocks National Park. Enjoy a picnic on the sand and explore the historic heritage of the area.

Wildlife haven

Middle Lagoon walking track, Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

The park provides refuge for koalas, swamp wallabies and ringtail possums, to name a few. Of an evening at Aragunnu campground, you may not see yellow-bellied gliders flitting between trees, but you might be able to hear their distinctive cackling sound that cuts through the silence of the night. At Gillards campground you may well see a long-nosed potoroo. About the size of a rabbit, they look quite similar to a bandicoot, except that they hop in a similar way to a kangaroo. The potoroo is nocturnal, so you are most likely to see them in the evening. The park is an important stop for many migratory birds that nest along the park’s coastline. Look along the beaches and rock platforms – you may see threatened hooded plovers or pied oystercatchers. The bar-tailed godwit stops by briefly in summer during its migration from Alaska to New Zealand. It’s a well deserved stop off as the bar-tailed godwit makes the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal. Look for them around the park’s lakes and lagoons.

  • Wajurda Point lookout Wajurda Point lookout, in Mimosa Rocks National Park offers coastal and ocean views with seasonal whale watching opportunities.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Sugar glider. Photo: Jeff Betteridge

    Sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)

    The sugar glider is a tree-dwelling Australian native marsupial, found in tall eucalypt forests and woodlands along eastern NSW. The nocturnal sugar glider feeds on insects and birds, and satisfies its sweet tooth with nectar and pollens.

Plants

  • Wonga Wonga vine. Photo: Barry Collier

    Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)

    The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.

  •  Black sheoak. Photo: Barry Collier

    Black sheoak (Allocasuarina littoralis)

    The black sheoak is one of a number of casuarina species found across the east coast of Australia and nearby tablelands. Growing to a height of 5-15m, these hardy Australian native plants can survive in poor or sandy soils. The barrel-shaped cone of the black sheoak grows to 10-30mm long.

  • 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.

  •  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.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

Kayaker at Nelson Lagoon. Photo: David Finnegan/DPIE