Merrica River nature trail

Nadgee Nature Reserve

Closed due to current alerts 

Overview

Those seeking a bushwalk through pristine landscapes and along deserted beaches swimming, fishing and picnicking on the way – should head to Merrica Creek nature trail.

Where
Nadgee Nature Reserve
Distance
8km return
Time suggested
5 - 7hrs
Grade
Grade 4
Price
Free
What to
bring
Sunscreen, hat, drinking water
Please note
At the beginning of the walk, ensure your rinse your shoes at the boot-cleaning station to avoid bringing phytophthora or weeds into the reserve.

The area around the river mouth is virtually untouched, and those who explore the Merrica River nature trail will be rewarded by a changing landscape and the joy of discovery.

This is a long walk, so you’ll also want to bring your swimmers for a dip where the river meets the ocean – after you’ve crossed the creek, passed the waterfall and rockpools, and followed the fire trail through the eucalypt forest. Here, you’ll also see the vast expanses of beautiful Disaster Bay.

As you’re walking, watch for eastern water dragons sunning themselves on stones near the creek or marvel at the hermit crabs feeding on the beach at low tide. Merrica River also has a pair of resident sea eagles who can often be seen patrolling the river and coast for food.

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/walking-tracks/merrica-river-nature-trail/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Merrica River nature trail.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    5 - 7hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Limited signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    8km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Merrica River nature trail is in the northern precinct of Nadgee Nature Reserve. To get there from Eden:

  • Travel south along the Princes Highway for 22.5km
  • Turn left on Wonboyn Road and follow it for 8.7km
  • Turn right into old Old Bridge Forest Road and travel for a further 5.6km
  • The Merrica River carpark and track head is located across the Merrica River causeway

Road quality

Check the weather before you set out as the road to Merrica River nature trail can become boggy when it rains.

Parking

Parking is available at Merrica trackhead facility, east of the Merrica River crossing.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Nadgee Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Autumn is a great time to enjoy Nadgee, with the mild climate favouring walking and picnicking, flower spotting and birdwatching.

Spring

Try your luck spotting humpback whales as they migrate south to the Antarctic on any of the beaches and headlands within Nadgee Take one of the many walks – short or long – and view the beautiful wildflowers .

Summer

Relax by the pristine beaches and rivers within the reserve.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

17°C and 22°C

Highest recorded

37.2°C

Winter temperature

Average

10°C and 16°C

Lowest recorded

2°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

January

Driest month

August

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

370.1mm

Facilities

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

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.

Swimming is not recommended at the unpatrolled beach due to the strong rips and currents that may be present.

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.

If you’re bushwalking in this reserve it’s a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass, or a GPS.

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).

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.

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

Eden (54 km)

Eden is a historic whaling town, ideal for a whale-watch tour. It's built around a promontory that juts into Twofold Bay.

www.visitnsw.com

Merimbula (133 km)

The main coastal towns of the Sapphire Coast include Bermagui, Tathra, Merimbula and Eden. This stunning coastline has sparkling beaches and bays, lakes and national parks, all accessible via excellent walking tracks and coastal drives. You'll find beaches just perfect for surfing, swimming and walks.

www.visitnsw.com

Pambula (130 km)

Pambula is a historic river village in majestic rural surroundings. The town is at the mouth of the Pambula River among forests and lakes.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Merrica River nature trail is in Nadgee Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A spring treat

Nadgee wilderness walk, Nadgee Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

The vegetation in Nadgee has been almost undisturbed since European settlement. In the heath, you'll see the red and pink flowers of the common heath, masses of orange banksias, and the white blooms of the wedding bush. As summer approaches, breathe in the sweet aroma of the cream flowers of the giant honey myrtles that grow near Wonboyn Lake and the beach. With its combination of coastal heath, forest and shoreline, Nadgee is inhabited by many different species of birds. From catching glimpses of tiny wrens and ground parrots in the heathlands to staring awed at soaring white-bellied sea eagles along the coastline, you'll need your binoculars to make the most of bird watching opportunities.

  • Greenglade picnic area From Greenglade picnic area you can explore one of the most magical and deserted beaches in Nadgee. Try your luck at fishing and spend the day relaxing at this convenient spot.
  • Jewfish walk The easy Jewfish walk takes you through the forest to the edge of Wonboyn Lake, where you can enjoy swimming, birdwatching, fishing and picnicking.
  • Merrica River nature trail Those seeking a bushwalk through pristine landscapes and along deserted beaches swimming, fishing and picnicking on the way – should head to Merrica Creek nature trail.

Living treasure

Green Glade picnic area, Nadgee Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

Whatever part of Nadgee you explore, you'll be rewarded with pristine landscapes and stunning vistas. The reserve sits within Australia's Coastal Wilderness, which runs from the south coast of NSW to East Gippsland in Victoria, one of the 16 areas named as Australia's National Landscapes because of their natural, cultural or spiritual significance. It really is a special place.

  • Bay Cliff walking track Bay Cliff walking track offers families and bushwalkers an easy hike along the beach and the past the lake. Enjoy birdwatching and fishing along the way.
  • Nadgee wilderness walk Nadgee wilderness walk is a spectacular 55km walk from Merrica River to Mallacoota, with coastal views. It's great for birdwatching, whale watching and camping.

People of the land

Cape Howe dunes, Nadgee Nature Reserve. Photo: John Ford

The area of the reserve is part of the lands of the Bidawal people and shared with the Dtharwa and Monaroo people. Aboriginal people have a long spiritual and cultural association with the area around Nadgee. Before settlement, they would travel from as far away as Wollongong, Mallacoota and Monaroo to places like Bay Cliff and Greenglade. Middens can be seen around Wonboyn Lake and along the shore.

Education resources (1)

Merrica River, Nadgee Nature Reserve. Photo: Alison Mackay