North Head walking track

Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve

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Overview

A short easy walking route on North Head walking track through coastal rainforest to Brunswick River with scenic views and chances for picnicking, whale watching and birdwatching.

Where
Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve
Distance
0.7km return
Time suggested
15 - 30min
Grade
Grade 2
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch or whale watch.

It’s a short, easy stroll on North Head walking track from the carpark down through a lovely section of endangered littoral rainforest to the mouth of Brunswick River. Tear yourself away from scenic ocean views and head down this trail for a change of scenery. You may spot a goanna along the way, or a harmless carpet python.

For birdwatchers, there are plenty of feathered friends to feast your eyes upon as you walk, such as rainbow bee-eaters. As the name suggests, these birds are brilliantly marked and, although they will eat all sorts of insects, particularly relish a good bee and are immune to the sting. Keep an eye out for this multi-coloured beauty during the warmer months and have your binoculars handy.

Two other short tracks also lead from North Head carpark to the ocean beach and to mangrove-lined Marshalls Creek.

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/north-head-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about North Head walking track.

Track grading

Grade 2

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

    15 - 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Flat

  • Distance

    0.7km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    North Head track is in the North Head precinct of Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve. To get there, park in North Head carpark and follow the signs.

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    The unsealed road is in poor condition with a lot of holes for the last kilometre so drive very slowly and carefully.

    • Unsealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    Parking is available at North Head track. It can be a busy time on weekends, so parking may be limited.

    Best times to visit

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

    Spring

    During this season humpback whales accompanied by new calves and migratory shorebirds can be seen. Look out for bar-tailed godwits, which undertake the longest non-stop migratory flight of any bird in the world.

    Winter

    Late June and early July is the peak time to see humpback whales migrating north to mate and calve in tropical waters. New Brighton Beach and the north wall of Brunswick River are the best viewing spots.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    20°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    35.1°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    12°C and 19.5°C

    Lowest recorded

    3.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    350.4mm

    Facilities

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

    Toilets

    The toilets have a ramp and are wheelchair-accessible.

    • Non-flush toilets

    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.

    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.

    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).

    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 dogs and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    North Head walking track is in Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A home by the beach

    Pied Oystercatch and chick, Brunswick Heads Nature. Photo: Reid Waters

    Forty-three threatened animal species have been recorded in and around the reserve. Humpback whales can be seen off the coast during the migration period, and the world's smallest fruit bat called common blossom, which is just 6cm long, can also be seen. Other animals include the grey-headed flying fox, wallum froglet, long-nosed potoroo and koala. Critically endangered loggerhead turtles and vulnerable green turtles sometimes nest on New Brighton Beach. Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve is also home to threatened pied oystercatchers, sooty oystercatchers and beach stone-curlews.

    • Brunswick Heads guided beach fishing adventures Visit beautiful Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve for a guided fishing excursion with Wilderness Adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned angler honing your technique or just want a relaxing day on the beach, their experts have an experience custom-made for you.
    • Brunswick River picnic area Brunswick River picnic area is a great place to enjoy this peaceful reserve, with scenic views, easy access to fishing and plenty of birdwatching opportunities.
    • Byron Bay river tour and paddle This 3-in-1 adventure with Bryon Bay Eco Cruises & Kayaks is your chance to experience a boat cruise, go paddling in a kayak, and try a stand up paddle board, or SUP on the beautiful Brunswick River.  
    • North Head walking track A short easy walking route on North Head walking track through coastal rainforest to Brunswick River with scenic views and chances for picnicking, whale watching and birdwatching.

    Land of plenty

    Harrys Hill, Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve. Photo: OEH

    Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve lies within the traditional land of the Bundjalung people. The area, once a campground, continues to provide a ready source of food such as dugum (pipis) and julum (fish). Harrys Hill is known as "Durrungbil', which means "water rat". When viewed from the south side of Brunswick River at the right angle, the profile of that water rat can clearly be seen.

    Safe haven

    Harrys Hill Beach, Brunswick Nature Reserve. Photo: L Cameron

    Thirty-six threatened plant species have been recorded in the reserve. Brunswick Heads is a stronghold for many endangered rainforest plants that are either at the southern limit of their distribution or not found in many other places in New South Wales. These include Queensland xylosma, scented acronychia, durobby and white lace flower. The reserve also supports six endangered ecological communities (EEC), including littoral rainforest, swamp sclerophyll forest and coastal saltmarsh.

    • Brunswick River picnic area Brunswick River picnic area is a great place to enjoy this peaceful reserve, with scenic views, easy access to fishing and plenty of birdwatching opportunities.
    • Byron Bay river tour and paddle This 3-in-1 adventure with Bryon Bay Eco Cruises & Kayaks is your chance to experience a boat cruise, go paddling in a kayak, and try a stand up paddle board, or SUP on the beautiful Brunswick River.  
    • North Head walking track A short easy walking route on North Head walking track through coastal rainforest to Brunswick River with scenic views and chances for picnicking, whale watching and birdwatching.

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