Broken Head picnic area

Broken Head Nature Reserve

Overview

Indulge in some picnicking, swimming, surfing, and birdwatching, while discovering a secluded paradise where lush rainforest meets the beach.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Broken Head Nature Reserve
Accessibility
Medium
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, sunscreen, hat
Please note

Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch or whale watch.

Just a short drive or bike ride from Byron Bay, and you can enjoy an early morning swim or surf, followed by a peaceful walk along the beach. Then, after you’ve worked up a morning appetite, wander back to Broken Head picnic area and indulge in a satisfying barbecue breakfast.

Spread a blanket on the grass and laze away the day under a shady tree with a good book listening to the sounds of the rainforest behind you. Or head back to the beach for a spot of fishing and a game of cricket with the kids.

It’s a perfect place to just relax, yet there’s so much to explore here. Wander through the lush rainforest to Three Sisters lookout for spectacular views and whale watching. Or enjoy the birdwatching opportunities under the rainforest canopy and along the water’s edge.

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/picnic-areas/broken-head-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Broken Head picnic area.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    On entering Broken Head Nature Reserve:

    • Continue 100m from the entrance to the picnic area at Broken Head

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    Parking is available at Broken Head picnic area, including several designated disabled spots. Please note that this is paid parking. Bus parking is not available.

    Best times to visit

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

    Autumn

    Pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful setting at Broken Head picnic area. Enjoy a game of beach cricket or explore the wonders of the tideline.

    Spring

    Enjoy the incredible view from Broken Head headland as humpback whales and their new calves breach and blow as they make their way south.

    Summer

    Get away from the crowds and spend the day picnicking at the beach, walk through the lush rainforest, and enjoy spectacular views from the headland.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    19°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    35.1°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    11°C and 20°C

    Lowest recorded

    3.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    652mm

    Facilities

    Amenities

    Toilets

    • Flush toilets

    Picnic tables

    Barbecue facilities

    • Gas/electric barbecues (free)

    Carpark

    Drinking water

    Public phone

    Showers

    • Cold showers

    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.

    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).

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - medium

    • Assistance may be required to access this area

    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

    Ballina (17 km)

    Ballina is a bustling holiday town and service centre and home of the Big Prawn. It's situated at the mouth of the Richmond River, close to superb beaches.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Byron Bay (6 km)

    Byron Bay is Australia's easternmost town and 'style capital' of the North Coast. It's a place of outstanding natural beauty, set against lush volcanic hills.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Lennox Head (9 km)

    Lennox Head is a quiet seaside village situated at the southern end of Seven Mile Beach between Ballina and Byron Bay. It's named after the headland that stands sentinel at its southern gateway.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Broken Head picnic area is in Broken Head Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Aboriginal cultural heritage

    Three sisters, Broken Head Nature Reserve. Photo: Barry Collier

    Broken Head Nature Reserve is co-managed by NPWS and the Arakwal People, acknowledging the cultural significance of this land to Aboriginal People. Three Sisters, previously known as Cocked Hat Rocks, is an important cultural site representing a story about a young Aboriginal woman who was caught in a strong current when swimming in this area. When her sister attempted to save her, they both drowned and were transformed into stone. This story was told to warn children not to swim in the strong and dangerous currents here.

    • Three Sisters walking track (Broken Head) Take the family walking through the rainforest on a day-trip to this spectacular lookout. Find out about its Aboriginal heritage, and after, enjoy whale watching and picnicking by the beach.

    Botanical wonders

    Broken Head Nature Reserve. Photo: D Mackey

    Whether you’re a botanist or just a nature-lover, it’s not hard to appreciate the incredible biodiversity at Broken Head. This small reserve protects three endangered plant communities: littoral and lowland rainforest, headland grasses and woodlands. There are 240 different plant species here, 12 of which are threatened in NSW and six in Australia, such as the white lace flower rainforest tree, which you might see standing tall along the entrance road in summer dotted with fluffy white ball flowers.

    • Three Sisters walking track (Broken Head) Take the family walking through the rainforest on a day-trip to this spectacular lookout. Find out about its Aboriginal heritage, and after, enjoy whale watching and picnicking by the beach.

    Rich bird and animal life

    Three Sisters track lookout, Broken Head Nature Reserve. Photo: D Mackey

    Broken Head Nature Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers and animal-lovers. Thanks to the plentiful supply of food on the NSW North Coast, the area is visited by many migratory and nomadic birds, flying-foxes and micro-bats. Three Sisters lookout is a great place for birdwatching and spotting migrating whales in winter and spring. Wandering along the beaches and in the rainforest, you’re sure to meet locals like brush turkeys patrolling the understorey in their search for food. But you might also be lucky enough to spot threatened species like the colourful wompoo fruit-dove, with its spectacular green, purple, and yellow plumage.

    • Broken Head picnic area Indulge in some picnicking, swimming, surfing, and birdwatching, while discovering a secluded paradise where lush rainforest meets the beach.
    • Three Sisters walking track (Broken Head) Take the family walking through the rainforest on a day-trip to this spectacular lookout. Find out about its Aboriginal heritage, and after, enjoy whale watching and picnicking by the beach.

    Education resources (1)

    Aerial view of Broken Head picnic area and nearby beach in Broken Head Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer/DPIE