Shark Bay picnic area

Bundjalung National Park

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Overview

Get together for a picnic at the beachside Shark Bay picnic area, near Iluka and Yamba in the southern part of Bundjalung National Park. The beach has low waves and is sheltered and shaded by fringing rainforest.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Bundjalung National Park
Accessibility
Medium
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, snacks, drinking water
Please note

If you’re swimming, there’s no lifesaving service at this beach. The closest patrolled beach is at Iluka Bluff, about 5mins drive away. Iluka Bluff beach is patrolled only during peak holiday season.

For a family day at the beach, head to Shark Bay picnic area, just 5mins drive from Iluka on the NSW north coast. Sheltered from ocean winds, this quiet and secluded spot is perfect for summer barbecues.

Park right at the picnic area and spread your picnic blanket on the grass, or set up at a nearby picnic table. Relax and enjoy the sounds of butcher birds calling and cicadas humming. It’s easy for parents to see the kids playing safely on the grassy area, shaded and separated from the beach by a fringe of dune-side rainforest.

Bring a ball and bat for a game of cricket on the grass or head to the beach for a swim in Shark Bay’s sparkling blue water. Protected from big ocean waves by a headland and fringing reef, it’s also a lovely spot for some beach fishing.

If you’re not ready to leave, there’s Woody Head just 3mins walk away, with its campsites, cottages and cabins. Base yourself here for local adventures like the Esk River paddle route or 4WD trips on Ten Mile Beach.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


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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/shark-bay-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Getting there and parking

Shark Bay picnic area is in the Iluka area of Bundjalung National Park. To get there:

  • From Pacific Highway take the Iluka Road turnoff and follow for 11.8km
  • Turn left into Shark Bay picnic area, 50m past the Shark Bay 4WD access.
  • Drive 200m to the carpark bays next to the picnic area

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available 20m from the picnic area.

By bike

Bike access is available.

Facilities

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Gas/electric barbecues (free)

Carpark

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.

Paddling safety

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

Accessibility

Disability access level - medium

This picnic area is a flat site with grass over compacted sand. An Easyrider large wheel wheelchair is available for free from nearby Woody Head campground.

Medium access presents some minor difficulties, such as a grassy surface. You may require a little assistance to get around in some areas.

Permitted

Fishing

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

Prohibited

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Camping

Gathering firewood

Generators

Horses

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dogs and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Learn more

Shark Bay picnic area is in Bundjalung National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

An ancient landscape

Gummigurrah walking track, Bundjalung National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary/Seen Australia

At Bundjalung National Park you can visit Gummigurrah, an area that was used as a winter camping ground by the Bandjalung People. This park is one of a group where the Bandjalang People's native title rights have been recognised and is only the third determination of native title rights in New South Wales. Native title rights come from the Bandjalang People's traditional laws and customs and legally recognise the Bandjalang People's connection to Country. This means that these lands will continue to be places of ceremony, learning and inspiration for generations to come.

Meet the locals

Silver banksia (Banksia marginata), Bundjalung National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary/Seen Australia

The varied habitat of Bundjalung National Park is home to over 140 species of fauna. Wake to the morning melodies of eastern whip-birds, bower birds and the rare barred cuckoo-shrike. At dawn and dusk, you might find eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies and swamp wallabies congregating around your campsites. Scour the tops of nearby trees and you might also catch a glimpse of a sleeping koala or two.

  • Iluka Bluff lookout Stay as long as you like to enjoy the views at Iluka Bluff lookout, near Yamba. Not only is it an excellent whale watching spot, it’s also a great place to picnic.
  • Jerusalem Creek walk Keep your eyes peeled for birds nesting along the creek along the Jerusalem Creek walk. Enjoy the hike as a day walk or shorter walk and finish up with a picnic lunch.

Water world

Black Rocks campground, Bundjalung National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary/Seen Australia

Bundjalung protects a variety of environments that feature water, including beaches, rivers, wetlands and lagoons. You'll find different types of plants, animals and birds in each one; look for coast banksia, coast she-oak and coastal wattle on the dunes that back onto the beach. Immerse yourself in this world by canoeing the waterways, rambling in the rock pools and swimming in the ocean.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

    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.

  • Peron's tree frog. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Peron's tree frog (Litoria peroni)

    Peron’s tree frog is found right across NSW. These tree-climbing and ground-dwelling Australian animals can quickly change colour, ranging from pale green-grey by day, to a reddish brown with emerald green flecks at night. The male frog has a drill-like call, which has been described as a 'maniacal cackle’.

  • Emu, Paroo Darling National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

    The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years.

  • Koala. Photo: Lucy Morrell

    Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

    One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.

  • Lace monitor, Daleys Point walking track, Bouddi National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    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.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)