Cockatoo picnic area

Wallingat National Park

Overview

For a relaxing day of kayaking, swimming and fishing, riverside Cockatoo picnic area, in Wallingat National Park, is an ideal getaway on the Mid North Coast.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Wallingat National Park
Accessibility
Hard
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go bird watching.

If you fancy a relaxing day being soothed by the gentle sounds of the river, pack up the canoes and make tracks to Cockatoo picnic area in Wallingat National Park, on NSW Mid North Coast. A great way to unwind, this remote riverside picnic area is ideal for nature-lovers and adventurous families who enjoy fishing, swimming and birdwatching.

Unroll the picnic blanket in the shade of the majestic eucalypts and, if you’re tempted, enjoy a refreshing dip. After a leisurely lunch, launch the kayak at the nearby ramp and paddle down the tranquil Wallingat River for some wildlife spotting along the tranquil waterways. 


The casuarinas along the river attract the yellow tail black cockatoos while whistling kites and sea eagles are often spotted in the skies above. Round off your day with the spectacular sunset views from Whoota Whoota lookout only a short drive away.

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/cockatoo-picnic-area/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Getting there and parking

Cockatoo picnic area is in Wallingat National Park. To get there from Forster:

  • Travel 30km south along Lakes Way and turn left onto Sugar Creek Road
  • Turn off at the junction of Sugar Creek Road and River Road

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • 4WD required in wet weather

Parking

Parking is available at the picnic area.

Best times to visit

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

Autumn

With temperatures slightly cooler, explore the network of gravel roads by foot or on a mountain bike.

Spring

With the wildflowers - including the purple blooms of the velvet mint-bush - coming out, this is a great time for birdwatching.

Summer

The weather is warm and sunny, so now's the time to pitch a tent and stay for a few days. Make the most of the boat ramp at Cockatoo picnic area Head to Sugar Creek picnic area and, after lunch, take a walk through the cool forest. .

Winter

Visitor numbers are down, so take the car along the park's unsealed roads and discover the forest, rivers and lake.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

20°C and 29°C

Highest recorded

45.2°C

Winter temperature

Average

7°C and 21°C

Lowest recorded

-5°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

Sept

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

280.2mm

Facilities

Drinking water is not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

Boat ramp

Carpark

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).

Paddling safety

To make your paddling or kayaking adventure safer and more enjoyable, check out these paddling safety tips.

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Accessibility

Disability access level - hard

  • Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty

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

Bulahdelah (21 km)

Buladelah is the gateway to Myall Lakes National Park. It's situated on the Myall River, with a backdrop of soaring, forested hills.

www.visitnsw.com

Forster (18 km)

Dominated by water sports Forster is the centre of the Great Lakes area.

www.visitnsw.com

Taree (41 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.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Cockatoo picnic area is in Wallingat National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Ancient footprints

Cabbage Palm loop, Wallingat National Park. Photo: John Spencer

The 6,557ha of Wallingat National Park is part of the identity and spirituality, as well as a resource, for people of the Worimi nation. The Worimi People lived a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle and used the leaves of the cabbage palm for weaving baskets and its fibrous bark for making fishing line. They used many of the area's natural resources, including the freshwater lakes, stone outcrops, and the ocean. A central campsite was known to exist in the area now known as Coomba Park, although there are few other Aboriginal sites recorded within the park include the Bungwahl area.

Fun times

Gur-um-bee picnic area, Wallingat National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Whether you're after a relaxing time or something more adventurous, Wallingat is just the spot. Take to the gravel roads either on foot, in a car or on a bike – to explore the forests. You can swim, fish and paddle on Wallingat River. Pitch a tent in the campground and get away from it all for a few days in this naturally beautiful setting. Surrounding some of the picnic areas and campsites, you’ll find magnificent stands of trees. In the southeast corner of Wallingat, there are tall, straight flooded gums, as well as stands of cabbage palms. Find both during a walk from Sugar Creek picnic area. Some rare plants such as the liana woody climber, a climbing species that bears white flowers from August to May, can also be found here.


  • Double Wharf trail Experience the scenic waterways and mountainous forests of Wallingat National Park along Double Wharf trail – perfect for walking or mountain bike riding.
  • Wallingat Forest drive The 25km loop of Wallingat Forest drive, near Forster, is on unsealed roads that meander through forests, and excellent for cars, 4WDs, bicycles, walking and horse riding.
  • Whoota Whoota lookout From Whoota Whoota lookout, easily accessible by car, you can see for miles. Take in scenic views of Wallingat’s eucalypt forests, Wallis Lake and 100km of coastline.

Life among the trees

Cabbage Palm loop, Wallingat National Park. Photo: John Spencer

More than 200 species of birds make Wallingat National Park a home. Walking through forest as well as stands of straight flooded gums, and cabbage palms, you'll hear birds singing. Noisy friarbirds, for instance, have a distinctive 'ya-kob' call, while a 'woop, woop, woop' sound signals the presence of the wonga pigeon. You might see blue wrens flitting through the trees, as well as king parrots and glossy black cockatoos. Wallingat is also a popular spot for the satin bowerbird – the males are black and shiny, the females are a plainer brown. They both, however, have startling lilac eyes.

  • Double Wharf trail Experience the scenic waterways and mountainous forests of Wallingat National Park along Double Wharf trail – perfect for walking or mountain bike riding.
  • Sugar Creek picnic area Sugar Creek picnic area is a family-friendly relaxation spot with easy walking trails through forested landscape, a leisurely drive from Forster and Pacific Palms.

Education resources (1)

Cockatoo picnic area, Wallingat National Park. Photo: John Spencer