Nadgee wilderness walk

Nadgee Nature Reserve

Overview

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.

Where
Nadgee Nature Reserve
Distance
55km one-way
Time suggested
3 - 4 days
Grade
Grade 5
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

Price

Camping fees apply, please contact NPWS Merimbula on (02) 6495 5000 for more information.

Please note
  • The maximum number of hikers taking the Nadgee wilderness walk is 30 at a time. Maximum group size is eight.
  • Please be aware that tracks can be indistinct, difficult to follow, or unmarked in certain places. in heavy rain, Merrica River may flood, making it impassable until the river goes down.
  • Record your arrival and departure at the registration station located at the track head facility.
  • Clean boots using the boot-cleaning station at Merrica River trackhead before you enter the nature reserve.

If you’re looking for the ultimate coastal hike, Nadgee wilderness walk could possibly be the one. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s a four-day 55km hike along untouched pieces of southern NSW coastline from Merrica River to Mallacoota, and well worth experiencing.

In a truly isolated and spectacular environment, you’ll discover remote beaches, rugged coastline, tranquil lagoons and shifting sand dunes. As you walk, you’ll easily become a birdwatcher - hundreds of seabirds can be seen along the way, such as short-tailed shearwaters, sooty oystercatchers, hooded plovers and gannets.

Eastern water dragons are often seen sunning themselves on warm stones by creeks. And while pods of dolphins often mingle along the beaches, whales can be seen making their annual migration between September and November.

You’ll need to be an experienced backpack camper to explore the entirety of this walk. Little Creek Estuary, Bunyip Hole and Nadgee River campgrounds, to name a few, are great places to settle down for the evening. You’ll often hear the night-time calls of powerful and sooty owls.

With so many natural wonders to see on Nadgee wilderness walk, this multi-day hike along the south coast of NSW is the ideal antidote to modern life.

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/nadgee-wilderness-walk/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Nadgee wilderness walk.

Track grading

Grade 5

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

    3 - 4 days

  • Quality of markings

    No directional signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    55km one-way

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough track, many obstacles

  • Experience required

    Very experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Nadgee wilderness Walk is in the northern precinct of Nadgee Nature Reserve. To get there from Eden:

  • Travel south along the Princes Highway for 22.5 km
  • Turn left onto Wonboyn Road for 8.7km
  • Turn right onto Old Bridge Forest Road for 5.6km (signposted Nadgee Nature Reserve)
  • Turn left onto Newtons Road and travel to Merrica River (approximately 9km)

Road quality

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

Parking

Parking is available at Merrica River trackhead, 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

There is no drinking water in this reserve. You'll need to bring your own supply of water for drinking and cooking.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

This reserve is in a remote location and weather can be unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared. Bring appropriate clothing and equipment including topographic map and compass and/or GPS and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.

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.

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.

Walking opportunities in this reserve are suitable for experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable undertaking self-reliant hiking.

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).

Permitted

Camping

Walkers staying overnight require a permit. Applications for permits are available by calling the Merimbula NPWS office on (02) 6495 5000.

Fishing

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

Prohibited

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Fires are not permitted from December to March. This may be extended during times of drought. Please check with the Merimbula NPWS office. You are encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves.

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 (38 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 (289 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 (279 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

Nadgee wilderness walk 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)

Nadgee shore, Nadgee Nature Reserve. Copyright: NSW Government.