Cheesetree picnic area
Crowdy Bay National Park
Cheesetree picnic area, near Diamond Head in Crowdy Bay National Park, offers swimming, fishing and surfing on a vast white sand beach, and is just a short drive from Port Macquarie.
- Picnic areas
- Crowdy Bay National Park
- Entry fees
- Park entry fees apply
- What to
- Drinking water
- Please note
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch or whale watch.
Close to Crowdy Bay National Park’s northern entrance, this grassy, wind-sheltered nook is nestled behind the dunes and offers plenty of space for the kids to run around. Only a short drive from Port Macquarie, Cheesetree picnic area is a perfect family destination for a day filled with swimming, fishing, surfing and walking the sandy white beaches.
Curious about the name? The cheesetree is a native rainforest species named for its cheese-shaped fruit, a favourite for many of the park’s resident birds. Keep your eyes peeled for glossy black cockatoos and swift parrots.
After lunch, if you feel like exploring, head south along the beach towards the popular Diamond Head campground. From here, there’s a range of walks from the Forest walking track to the more challenging Diamond Head loop walk.
Take a virtual tour of Cheesetree picnic area captured with Google Street View Trekker.
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/cheesetree-picnic-area/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 Crowdy Bay National Park in the North Coast region
Crowdy Bay 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. Pay park entry fees at the Diamond Head campground onsite office.Buy annual pass.
All the practical information you need to know about the Cheesetree picnic area.
Getting there and parking
Cheesetree picnic area is in the northern section of Crowdy Bay National Park. It is located just off Diamond Head Road, close to the northern park entrance.
- Unsealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
- All weather
Parking is available at Cheesetree picnic area.
Best times to visit
Crowdy Bay National Park generally enjoys a warm subtropical climate. However outside of winter the temperature can reach above 30C, so be sure to carry sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water. Drinking water is not available within the park. Winter days and nights can be cool to cold, particularly in exposed areas of the park.
Wildflowers paint the dunes and heath in spectacular colour during spring.
Swimming, boating and fishing – enjoy the delights of Crowdy Bay's magnificent beaches Look out for the festive Christmas Bell blooms.
Remember your binoculars and camera to experience the sight of migrating whales.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
19°C and 25°C
10°C and 19°C
February and March
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
You'll need to bring your own drinking water.
- Non-flush toilets
Maps and downloads
A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.
Cheesetree picnic area is in Crowdy Bay National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
Gifts of nature
The views may grab the headlines, but within the park are more secretive delights that change with the seasons. These include rolling dunes that spring to life with wildflowers and migratory birds that populate the lagoons. There are lots of great lookouts to spot whales from as they migrate along the coast in winter or watch ospreys and falcons circle in the skies. Not to mention, kangaroos, koalas and cockatoos galore. Christmas visitors will receive an extra gift, Crowdy Bay's famous festive season blooms of Christmas bells.
- Mermaid lookout track Mermaid lookout track takes you on a tour of Crowdy Bay National Park's secret surprises. Secluded coves, sweeping beaches and mountain views await you on this short hike.
- Metcalfes walking track Get up close with nature on Metcalfes walking track, which links Indian Head and Kylies Beach in Crowdy Bay National Park. It's a family friendly hike and the kids might even spot a koala.
The Birpai People have climbed the headlands, swum in the rivers, crossed the sand dunes and walked the beaches of Crowdy Bay National Park for thousands of years. The sea and forest areas were a rich food source for the Birpai People, providing fish, shellfish, wallabies and berries. The park protects a number of Aboriginal sites, like shell middens and campsites, the oldest of which are about 6,000 years old. The park continues to be an important place for local Aboriginal people today.
This spectacular environment is truly something to write home about. If you can't find the words, try these - panoramic, breathtaking, even gobsmacking. Then again, you'll probably be too busy exploring the tracks, gazing agape at the huge rock arches, communing with wildlife or throwing a line to write lines on a postcard.
- Crowdy Gap walking track The short and sweet Crowdy Gap walking track in Crowdy Bay National Park, near Taree, offers a stroll through rainforest with scenic views and the chance to see koalas.
- Diamond Head Loop walk Diamond Head loop walk offers scenic coastal views across Crowdy Bay National Park. Expect beaches, lookouts, and glinting rock faces, giving Diamond Head its name.
During World War II, the Australian author Kylie Tennant moved to Laurieton where she met the reclusive Ernie Metcalfe, a farmer who grazed cattle on Diamond Head. Ernie built Kylie a timber slab hut to use as a writer's retreat. In return, Kylie portrayed Metcalfe and Crowdy Bay in the book The Man on the Headland. Kylie Tennant donated the hut and the surrounding land to Crowdy Bay National Park in 1976. If you're walking along Metcalfe walking track, stop to have a look inside Kylie's hut.
- Kylies Hut Visit Kylies Hut along Metcalfes walking track in Crowdy Bay National Park, near Port Macquarie. The historic hut was used as a writer’s retreat by award-winning Australian novelist Kylie Tennant.
Plants and animals you may see
White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.
Brown-striped frog (Lymnastes peronii)
One of the most common frogs found in Australia, the ground-dwelling brown-striped frog lives in ponds, dams and swamps along the east coast. Also known as the striped marsh frog, this amphibian grows to 6.5cm across and has a distinctive ‘tok’ call that can be heard all year round.
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.
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.
Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)
An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.