Santa Barbara picnic area
Booti Booti National Park
Nestled behind the sand dunes of Seven Mile Beach near Forster, Santa Barbara picnic area is a grassy spot that’s popular with surfers, families and day trippers visiting Booti Booti National Park.
- Picnic areas
- Booti Booti National Park
- No wheelchair access
- What to
- Please note
- There are no rubbish bins, please take your rubbish with you when you leave.
This picnic area has everything you need for a great day at the beach: toilet facilities, free barbecues, and an easy drive to the towns of Forster and Pacific Palms. Relax on the grass in the sunshine while your barbecue lunch sizzles away, or cool off with a dip in the ocean. Seven Mile Beach is a favourite among surfers and offers incredible views of the whale migration between May and November.
Santa Barbara picnic area is surrounded by coastal heathland which blooms with pretty wildflowers in spring. It can get busy over summer so if you need an alternative, visit Sailing Club picnic area nearby. It offers a shady rest spot on the shores of Wallis Lake, where you can enjoy kayaking or let the kids splash in the shallow waters.
If you want to explore the green stretch of bushland between the beach and the lake, set out on the Booti Hill and Wallis Lake walking track. It loops past the shores of Wallis Lake, through lush rainforest and twisted eucalypts. The Ruins campground is nearby, so you can make a weekend of it with tent, car-based or caravan camping.
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/santa-barbara-picnic-area/local-alerts
- 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. Day passes are available from the Manning Great Lakes Area Office and the Hawks Nest Newsagency.Buy annual pass.
All the practical information you need to know about the Santa Barbara picnic area.
Getting there and parking
Santa Barbara picnic area is in Booti Booti National Park. To get there from Forster:
- Drive south for 14km along The Lakes Way
- At the green Santa Barbara picnic area sign, turn off The Lakes Way into the carpark.
- Sealed roads
- 2WD vehicles
By public transport
Busways Great Lakes operates bus services that travel between Forster and Pacific Palms, along The Lakes Way.
- Flush toilets
- Gas/electric barbecues (free)
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - no wheelchair access
A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.
Santa Barbara picnic area 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.