Cape Hawke lookout
Booti Booti National Park
Just five minutes from Forster, the Cape Hawke lookout offers spectacular 360-degree views along the coast from the top of a dedicated tower, perfect for whale watching.
- Booti Booti National Park
- Entry fees
- Park entry fees apply
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, sturdy shoes, binoculars
Positioned right at the northern end of the national park, this superb lookout is worth every step of the 500m hike through regenerating littoral rainforest. Pull on your walking shoes and bring some binoculars and a camera – after approximately 420 steps you’ll reach an 8.4m tower with 360-degree views of the surrounding area.
There’s Booti Booti to the south, and Wallingat National Park beyond and slightly to the west. On a clear day you can even see as far as Barrington Tops and Crowdy Bay National Park.
Birdwatching is wonderful year-round here, with pelicans and terns in great abundance, but winter holds an extra special surprise – whales break the surface of the sea, blowing water, and there’s no better place to watch them in their annual migration.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/lookouts/cape-hawke-lookout/local-alerts
- National Parks Contact Centre
- 7am to 7pm daily
- 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) for the cost of a local call within Australia excluding mobiles
- in Booti Booti National Park in the North Coast region
Booti Booti National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
Park entry fees:
$8 per vehicle per day. The park has coin-operated pay and display machines - please bring correct coins.Buy annual pass.
All the practical information you need to know about Cape Hawke lookout.
Getting there and parking
Get driving directions
Cape Hawke lookout is in the northern precinct of Booti Booti National Park. To get there:
- From Forster, drive south along The Lakes Way for approximately five minutes
- Turn left into Cape Hawke Drive
- Follow signs to Cape Hawke lookout
Park entry points
- Cape Hawke carpark See on map
- Sealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Parking is available at Cape Hawke lookout including designated bus parking. It can be a busy place on the weekend, when parking might be limited.
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Booti Booti National Park. Here are some of the highlights.
See the park's magnificent wildflower displays as they bloom across the heathlands.
Swim at the seasonally patrolled Elizabeth Beach or kayak in Wallis Lake, whilst staying at the nearby Ruins campground.
Visit Cape Hawke lookout to watch whales migrating off the coast.
Maps and downloads
Forster (6 km)
Dominated by water sports Forster is the centre of the Great Lakes area.
Old Bar (25 km)
As well as its beachside attractions, Old Bar is an ideal base for exploring nearby natural attractions. Crowdy Head National Park and the beautiful waterways of Myall lakes National Park are just two of the best.
Taree (32 km)
Taree is a major mid North Coast city, ringed by superb beaches. It's situated on the Manning River and set against rolling hills.
Cape Hawke lookout is in Booti Booti National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
A haven for birds and birdwatchers alike
Booti Booti National Park features a substantial number of amphibians and reptiles, including red-bellied black snakes, brown snakes, rose-crowned snakes and blue-bellied swamp snakes. Goannas are regular visitors to The Ruins campground and picnic areas, and you may even be lucky enough to see a land mullet or water dragon. The unusual peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and Wallis Lake also provides an outstanding habitat for over 210 species of birds, including rainbow and scaly-breasted lorikeets, yellow-faced honeyeaters and silvereyes, as well as a number of waterbirds, including pelicans and the endangered little tern.
- Cape Hawke lookout Just five minutes from Forster, the Cape Hawke lookout offers spectacular 360-degree views along the coast from the top of a dedicated tower, perfect for whale watching.
- Elizabeth Beach picnic area A short drive from Forster, Elizabeth Beach picnic area offers a great spot to relax near a beach popular for swimming, surfing, and whale watching in winter.
- Sailing Club picnic area An alternative to the ocean-front options of Booti Booti National Park, Sailing Club picnic area offers a shady rest spot on the shore of Wallis Lake.
Captain Cook first sighted Cape Hawke on May 12, 1770, and named it in honour of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Edward Hawke. The famous explorer and surveyor John Oxley later passed through the area in 1818. The first European inhabitant was Captain J. Gogerly, who sailed between Forster and Sydney ferrying timber, oyster shells, and sandstone. Today you can pay respects to Captain Gogerly and some of his relatives at their gravemarkers, across the road from the Ruins campground.
- Booti Hill and Wallis Lake walking track Just 20km from Forster, this thrilling track offers a scenic day walk including beaches, Wallis Lake, and plenty of opportunities for swimming and whale watching.
Spirituality, identity and lifestyle
Booti Booti National Park holds important cultural significance for the Worimi Aboriginal people, who have lived on and used the land and waters for many thousands of years. Dozens of Aboringal sites exist within the park, including artefact scatters, stone quarries, tool sites, and shell middens. These are important markers of Aboriginal history in the region, demonstrating how land, water, plants and animals contributed to and continue to have significance for Aboriginal identity, spirituality, and lifestyle.