Broughton Island walking tracks

Myall Lakes National Park

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Broughton Island walking tracks are a great way for nature lovers to explore this remote island, accessible by boat from Port Stephens. Follow this family-friendly network of walking tracks to wild beaches and stunning lookouts.

Where
Myall Lakes National Park
Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Distance
2km return
Time suggested
1hr
Grade
Grade 3
What to
bring
Drinking water, snacks, clothes for all weather conditions, sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen, raincoat
Please note
  • You can only reach Broughton Island by boat.
  • There is very little shade on the island. Come prepared with plenty of water, food and sun/wind protection.
  • Weather and sea conditions on the island can change rapidly. Severe weather may delay your departure from the island.
  • Please use the boot-washing stations. This helps stop the spread of weeds and disease that can harm the native plants and animals on the island.
  • Stay on walking tracks and follow track signs. Be careful around unstable cliff edges.

These short and easy walking tracks are easily reached from the sparkling waters of Esmerelda Cove, where most visitors land. If you’ve got a campground booking, head north-east for 250m along the track to reach your campsite. 

If photography is your thing, head west from Esmerelda Cove and follow the track for 300m to Coal Shaft Bay lookout for spectacular views of pristine beaches and cliffs. Though you can still glimpse the mainland, you’ll feel a million miles away. 

Esmerelda Cove is a delightful swimming spot, but if you’d like to enjoy a day at an even more remote beach, take a picnic lunch and walk north for 500m. In just 5 minutes you’ll be digging your toes into the glistening white sands of Providence Beach.

Remember to keep your eyes wide open for wildlife as you explore Broughton Island walking tracks. The island is paradise for birdwatchers, with its active seabird colony. Spring through autumn are great seasons to see little penguins and wedge tailed shearwaters, also known as muttonbirds. The island is also a wonderful whale watching spot during winter months, and dolphins can be seen year-round.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Nearby

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/walking-tracks/broughton-island-walking-tracks/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

  • in Myall Lakes National Park in the North Coast region
  • Myall Lakes 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.

    The park has coin/card operated pay machines at Mungo Brush campground. NPWS staff regularly visit areas to collect day use fees. Day passes are also available from the Manning Great Lakes Area Office, Tea Gardens Visitor Information Centre, Bulahdelah Visitor Information Centre and the Hawks Nest Newsagency.

    Bombah Point ferry fees may also apply (cash payment only).

    Buy annual pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Broughton Island walking tracks.

Track grading

Grade 3

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    1hr

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    2km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Broughton Island walking tracks are on the remote Broughton Island, part of Myall Lakes National Park. To get there, you can only arrive by boat:

  • A private vessel, or
  • A boat-based tour operator based at Port Stephens

From Port Stephens, the boat journey takes around 45min to 1 hour one-way. 

Esmeralda Cove moorings are all privately owned and cannot be used by the general public. If you use private boat to reach Broughton Island, register your movements with Marine Rescue Port Stephens on marine radio before you travel.

If you’re booking a campsite, contact your tour operator before you book to ensure that boat transfer is available, and costs suit your requirements.

If you use a private tour operator to get to Broughton Island, their schedules and prices vary. These tour operators provide boat transfers or guided tours to Broughton Island:

Vehicle access

  • No vehicle access

Facilities

  • Water is not available on Broughton Island. Bring plenty of drinking water.
  • There are no rubbish bins, please take rubbish with you.

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

There is 1 picnic table on Broughton Island, in front of the campsites on Little Poverty Beach.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

In severe weather, take refuge on high ground or in the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service huts at Esmeralda Cove. These huts have an emergency marine VHF radio. Contact Marine Rescue Port Stephens on channel 16.

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.

Surf conditions can be rough and dangerous at times. Do not swim or enter the water when conditions are rough.

Boating safety

If you're out on your boat fishing, waterskiing or just cruising the waterways, the safety of you and your passengers is paramount.

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

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 Plus 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.

Accessibility

Disability access level - no wheelchair access

Permitted

Camping

There are only 5 campsites on Broughton Island, right in front of Little Poverty Beach. You need to book a campsite before you arrive. Camping is not permitted anywhere else on the island.

Fishing

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

Prohibited

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Cycling

Gathering firewood

Generators

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

Broughton Island walking tracks is in Myall Lakes National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Ancient connections

Dark Point Aboriginal Place, Myall Lakes National Park. Photo: OEH

Myall Lakes National Park is part of the Country of the Worimi Aboriginal people, who used the area's natural resources, like freshwater lakes, the ocean and native flora and fauna to live a traditional fisher-hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Much evidence of their long connection with this Country can be seen today throughout the middens in the park. The landscape of Myall Lakes includes important spiritual sites that are an important part of the identity of local Aboriginal people. Make sure you visit Dark Point Aboriginal Place while you're at visiting the park. This rocky headland has been of significance to Worimi people for at least 4000 years. The clans or nuras (family groups) within the Worimi people would gather together here for ceremonies and feasts.

  • Dark Point Aboriginal Place Dark Point Aboriginal Place, in southern Myall Lakes National Park, is a culturally significant site for the Worimi people with scenic coastal views across to Broughton Island.
  • Mungo walking track Mungo walking track offers a variety of Aboriginal and historic sites, diverse vegetation, and mountain biking in Myall Lakes National Park, near Hawks Nest.

Go fish

Violet Hill campground, Myall Lakes National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Fishing is a popular activity in Myall Lakes, with catches likely to include bream, whiting, Australian salmon, flathead and mullet. There are lots of great places in the park to throw in a line, like the beaches, lakes or rivers. Try fishing from your boat or for a relaxing day on the water you could try a spot of kayak fishing. At Myall Lakes you can also go camping, boating, swimming and canoeing. And when you’ve tried all of those, you can explore the park on foot, by 4WD or bike, stopping for a spot of bird watching or to enjoy a picnic or barbecue lunch along the way. Whatever your interests, there is bound to be something that takes your fancy.

  • Mining Road to Old Gibber Road cycling trail Mining Road to Old Gibber Road cycling trail is an easy bike ride within Myall Lakes National Park. You can complete the ride in one day or take your tent to camp overnight.
  • Mungo Rainforest walk Enjoy a short and easy rainforest walk with the birds in Myall Lakes National Park, not far from Buladelah. Afterwards, you can enjoy a picnic or barbecue at Mungo Brush.

Internationally recognised wetlands

Pipers Creek picnic area, Myall Lakes National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Since 1999, this internationally recognised wetlands site, has been listed under the Ramsar Convention due to its diverse mosaic of near-natural wetlands, within a relatively unmodified coastal lake system. There are 18 different wetland types with extensive interconnected lake and river systems within the forested wetlands and swamps that fringe the waterways, rocky and sandy shores, and offshore islands off the coastline. This wetland site houses a complex variety of habitats with rich biodiversity, including threatened species and migratory birds protected under international agreements. The Myall Lakes wetlands also have a high cultural and social value as they occur within the traditional lands of the Worimi Aboriginal people, where the varied wetlands, environments and abundant resources provided an ideal living environment. Evidence of this traditional occupation exists across the landscape, including the Dark Point Aboriginal Place.

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.

  • Long-nosed bandicoot, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: Narelle King

    Long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)

    A nocturnal marsupial and one of the smaller Australian native animals, the long-nosed bandicoot is found across eastern Australia. Populations in the Sydney region have dwindled since European settlement, leaving only endangered colonies in inner western Sydney and at North Head, near Manly. The long-nosed bandicoot has grey-brown fur and a pointed snout which it uses to forage for worms and insects.

  • Brown-striped frog. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    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.

Plants

  • Cabbage tree palm in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer/OEH

    Cabbage palm (Livistona australis)

    With glossy green leaves spanning 3-4m in length and a trunk reaching a height of up to 30m, the cabbage tree palm, or fan palm, is one of the tallest Australian native plants. Thriving in rainforest margins along the east coast of NSW, in summer this giant palm produces striking spikes of cream flowers which resemble cabbages.

  • Wonga Wonga vine. Photo: Barry Collier

    Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)

    The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)