Brunswick River picnic area

Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Brunswick River picnic area is a great place to enjoy this peaceful reserve, with scenic views, easy access to fishing and plenty of birdwatching opportunities.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve
Accessibility
Easy
Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water
Please note
  • This area is within Cape Byron Marine Park. Next to the fishing area is a sanctuary zone, where fishing is not permitted. Check out the Marine Parks Authority website for more information or call on 6620 9300.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch

Brunswick River picnic area is a great place to enjoy this peaceful coastal reserve, with views of the river and easy-to-access fishing spots. Enjoy lunch with friends and family in the shade of cottonwood hibiscus, which shows its large yellow flowers in the warm weather, and listen to the wind gently whoosh through the swamp oaks. Then cast a line and relax.

The access road to this picnic area is lined with many threatened rainforest trees, such as marblewood and stinking laurel (which doesn’t actually stink). In spring, the brilliant purple flowers of the hovea bush decorate the way as well.

This quiet spot is ideal for birdwatching. Pied oystercatchers feed on the rocks, while birds of prey - brahminy kites and white-bellied sea eagles – soar overhead. If you’re really lucky, you’ll see an osprey stealthily snatch a fish from the water.

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/brunswick-river-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Brunswick River picnic area.

Getting there and parking

Brunswick River picnic area is in the Oyster Lease precinct of Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve. To get there:

  • Drive north from Brunswick Heads along Brunswick Valley Way and cross Brunswick River on Durrungbil Bridge
  • When on the northern side, do a U-turn at the first roundabout (Rajah Road) to head south along Brunswick Valley Way.
  • Take the first left into Oyster Lease Road
  • Follow to the carpark at the end

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Brunswick River picnic area.

Best times to visit

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

Spring

During this season humpback whales accompanied by new calves and migratory shorebirds can be seen. Look out for bar-tailed godwits, which undertake the longest non-stop migratory flight of any bird in the world.

Winter

Late June and early July is the peak time to see humpback whales migrating north to mate and calve in tropical waters. New Brighton Beach and the north wall of Brunswick River are the best viewing spots.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

20°C and 27°C

Highest recorded

35.1°C

Winter temperature

Average

12°C and 19.5°C

Lowest recorded

3.3°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

September

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

350.4mm

Facilities

Drinking water is not available in this area.

Picnic tables

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

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 - easy

This area is fully wheelchair accessible.

Permitted

Fishing

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

Prohibited

Fishing

  • This area is within Cape Byron Marine Park. Next to the fishing area is a sanctuary zone, where fishing is not permitted. Check out the Marine Parks Authority website for more information or call on 02 6620 9300.
  • Spear fishing is prohibited here and in all of the Brunswick estuary

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

Brunswick Heads (1 km)

Brunswick Heads is a holiday village with clean, uncrowded beaches. It's a coastal location on the estuary of the Brunswick River.

www.visitnsw.com

Byron Bay (13 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

Mullumbimby (5 km)

Mullumbimby sits on the Brunswick River and is overshadowed by subtropical hills.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Brunswick River picnic area is in Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A home by the beach

Pied Oystercatch and chick, Brunswick Heads Nature. Photo: Reid Waters

Forty-three threatened animal species have been recorded in and around the reserve. Humpback whales can be seen off the coast during the migration period, and the world's smallest fruit bat called common blossom, which is just 6cm long, can also be seen. Other animals include the grey-headed flying fox, wallum froglet, long-nosed potoroo and koala. Critically endangered loggerhead turtles and vulnerable green turtles sometimes nest on New Brighton Beach. Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve is also home to threatened pied oystercatchers, sooty oystercatchers and beach stone-curlews.

  • Brunswick Heads guided beach fishing adventures Visit beautiful Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve for a guided fishing excursion with Wilderness Adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned angler honing your technique or just want a relaxing day on the beach, their experts have an experience custom-made for you.
  • Brunswick River picnic area Brunswick River picnic area is a great place to enjoy this peaceful reserve, with scenic views, easy access to fishing and plenty of birdwatching opportunities.
  • Byron Bay river tour and paddle This 3-in-1 adventure with Bryon Bay Eco Cruises & Kayaks is your chance to experience a boat cruise, go paddling in a kayak, and try a stand up paddle board, or SUP on the beautiful Brunswick River.  
  • North Head walking track A short easy walking route on North Head walking track through coastal rainforest to Brunswick River with scenic views and chances for picnicking, whale watching and birdwatching.

Land of plenty

Harrys Hill, Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve. Photo: OEH

Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve lies within the traditional land of the Bundjalung people. The area, once a campground, continues to provide a ready source of food such as dugum (pipis) and julum (fish). Harrys Hill is known as "Durrungbil', which means "water rat". When viewed from the south side of Brunswick River at the right angle, the profile of that water rat can clearly be seen.

Safe haven

Harrys Hill Beach, Brunswick Nature Reserve. Photo: L Cameron

Thirty-six threatened plant species have been recorded in the reserve. Brunswick Heads is a stronghold for many endangered rainforest plants that are either at the southern limit of their distribution or not found in many other places in New South Wales. These include Queensland xylosma, scented acronychia, durobby and white lace flower. The reserve also supports six endangered ecological communities (EEC), including littoral rainforest, swamp sclerophyll forest and coastal saltmarsh.

  • Brunswick River picnic area Brunswick River picnic area is a great place to enjoy this peaceful reserve, with scenic views, easy access to fishing and plenty of birdwatching opportunities.
  • Byron Bay river tour and paddle This 3-in-1 adventure with Bryon Bay Eco Cruises & Kayaks is your chance to experience a boat cruise, go paddling in a kayak, and try a stand up paddle board, or SUP on the beautiful Brunswick River.  
  • North Head walking track A short easy walking route on North Head walking track through coastal rainforest to Brunswick River with scenic views and chances for picnicking, whale watching and birdwatching.

Education resources (1)

Aerial view of Brunswick River picnic area in Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer/DPIE