Solitary Islands coastal walk

Coffs Coast Regional Park

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Overview

Solitary Islands coastal walk traverses 60km of beaches and rainforest on the Coffs Coast. Enjoy whale watching, birdwatching and swimming on your journey from Red Rock to the coastal village of Sawtell.

Where
Coffs Coast Regional Park
Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Distance
60km one-way
Time suggested
3 - 4 days
Grade
Grade 4
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.

Please note
  • Check the tides - walking along the beach is easiest at low tide. Areas that are best walked at low tide include creek crossings at Arrawarra and Moonee Creek and around rocks on Campbells Beach.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful walk on the east coast of NSW. The Solitary Islands coastal walk links a string of idyllic golden beaches, rocky headlands and lush rainforest along the Coffs Coast. 

Make your way through Coffs Coast Regional Park, Moonee Beach Nature Reserve and Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve before winding up at Sawtell, near Bongil Bongil National Park.

Solitary Islands and Muttonbird Island are picturesque and make for perfect birdwatching, so bring your binoculars; little terns and white bellied eagles are often seen along the shores. Dolphins surf the waves of these beaches all year round and the headlands are ideal for whale watching.

There are plenty of options for picnicking, swimming and water sports. And with loads of nearby cafes and accommodation to suit any budget, you’ll want to keep coming back to discover all the charms of this beautiful walking track.

If you’re feeling energetic, pack your backpack and do the whole walk and camp over four days. Or why not stroll along the coastal walk in shorter sections, accessed from Arrawarra Headland, Woolgoolga Beach and Headland, Emerald Beach, Diggers Beach, and nearby Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


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/solitary-islands-coastal-walk/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Solitary Islands coastal walk.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    3 - 4 days

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    60km one-way

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Solitary Islands coastal walk is in Coffs Coast Regional Park, Moonee Beach and Muttonbird Island nature reserves.


To access the northern end of the walk at Red Rock (55km from Grafton and 41km from Coffs Harbour):

  • Turn off Pacific Highway at Corindi Beach (48km south of Grafton and 34km north of Coffs Harbour).
  • Turn left onto Red Rock Road and continue 6km to Red Rock
  • Explore the creek-side boardwalk before heading south along the beach toward Arrawarra Headland

To access the southern end of the walk at Sawtell Headland (5km south of Coffs Harbour):

  • Follow the signs to Sawtell Headland from Lyons Road/First Avenue
  • Explore the tidal pool and head north along the beach toward Boambee Headland

Parking

Parking is available at Red Rock and Sawtell Headland.

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).

Accessibility

Disability access level - no wheelchair access

This walking track is not wheelchair-accessible. There are several points of interest along the walk that are suitable for wheelchairs, prams and visitors with limited mobility, including:

  • Coffs Jetty through to Park Beach
  • Bonville Headland (Sawtell)
  • Look At Me Now Headland (Emerald Beach)
  • Woolgoolga Headland

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

Solitary Islands coastal walk is in Coffs Coast Regional Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Life’s a beach

Surfer at Ocean View Beach, Coffs Coast Regional Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

Golden beaches are the park’s premier attraction. Here, everything revolves around the water – whether you’re swimming and surfing in it, or walking and fishing beside it. Spend your days discovering the headland walking tracks, boat ramps, parklands and playgrounds. And no matter where you go, you’re bound to find a perfect spot for a beachside picnic. There are also plenty of dog-friendly areas at Coffs Coast Regional Park – just another of its popular features. Take your dog for a walk along one of the coastal paths, plus, there are several beaches with leash-free zones, meaning your pooch can zip about and enjoy the sand and sea as much as you do. The leash-free area around Corindi and Pipeclay beaches is a local favourite.

  • Arrawarra Headland Soak up views of Solitary Islands Marine Park from Arrawarra Headland and Beach near Coffs Harbour. Fishing, surfing, swimming – it’s all here waiting for you to enjoy.
  • Diggers Beach Located opposite the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, Diggers Beach is excellent for surfing and learning to surf, plus fishing, swimming, birdwatching and beach walking.
  • Emerald Beach Positioned near Look-at-me-now Headland, 20km from Coffs Harbour, Emerald Beach is a local surfing hotspot. Visit also for fishing or swimming, or for barbecues in the picnic area.
  • Mullaway Beach and Headland Head south from Arrawarra to discover beautiful Mullaway Headland and Beach, near Coffs Harbour. Make the most of its picnic area and barbecues, go fishing or swimming.

Whale watchers

Sitting under a tree by Woolgoola Beach. Photo: Rob Cleary

Coffs Coast Regional Park is a fantastic place to enjoy watching these majestic creatures on their long coastal journey. Look-At-Me-Now Headland near Emerald Beach is a great vantage point, but locals agree Woolgoolga Headland is your best bet for glimpsing humpbacks. In fact, it’s also known as ‘Whale Watch Headland’. Plan a trip between June and October to see this inspiring sight.

  • Woolgoolga Beach and Headland Woolgoolga Beach and Headland has the best whale watching in the Coffs Region, plus great surfing, fishing and picnics and scenic views.

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.

  • 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.

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

  • Echidna. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

  •  Blue Tongue lizard. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Eastern blue-tongue lizard (Tiliqua scinciodes)

    The eastern blue-tongue lizard, one of the largest skinks in Australia, is found throughout most of NSW. When threatened, the eastern blue-tongue lizard displays its blue tongue in a wide-mouthed intimidating show. Not an agile animal, they feed on slow-moving beetles and snails.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)