Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve

Open, check current alerts 


Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve, situated between Brunswick Heads and Ocean Shores townships is great for school excursions and offers fishing, birdwatching, walking, canoeing, cycling and picnicking.

Read more about Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve

Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve offers all the pleasures of the great outdoors within easy reach of civilisation. Whether you’re into fishing, canoeing, birdwatching or picnicking with a view, come and explore this charming reserve nestled between the townships of Ocean Shores and Brunswick Heads.

Spend the whole day fishing on Brunswick River or New Brighton Beach. Drive and walk or cycle all the way to Harrys Hill Beach, on the north bank of the river, for a picnic under shady trees. Head to the north wall to watch for migrating whales in winter. Eagles and kites can also be seen hunting along this northern New South Wales coastline all year round. Take an easy walk from North Head carpark through endangered littoral rainforest on North Head track, or hike a short distance to Marshalls Creek for some more birdwatching.

Canoe, boat or paddleboard on Brunswick River and you might just see an endangered loggerhead turtle or a vulnerable green turtle coming up for air. These are just two of the reserve’s many threatened animal species.

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


See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve.


Map legend

Map legend

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Ocean Shores:

    • Travel east along Orana Road
    • At Warrambool Road roundabout, turn left to stay on Orana Road.
    • Continue along Orana Road, which becomes Strand Avenue.
    • Turn right onto North Head Road and drive all the way to the end of the gravel road

    By bike

    Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

    By public transport

    For information about public transport options, visit NSW country transport info website.

    Best times to visit

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


    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.


    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


    20°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded


    Winter temperature


    12°C and 19.5°C

    Lowest recorded



    Wettest month


    Driest month


    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day



    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    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).



    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.


    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Brunswick Heads (2 km)

    Brunswick Heads is a holiday village with clean, uncrowded beaches. It's a coastal location on the estuary of the Brunswick River.

    Mullumbimby (10 km)

    Mullumbimby sits on the Brunswick River and is overshadowed by subtropical hills.

    Byron Bay (19 km)

    Byron Bay is Australia's easternmost town and 'style capital' of the North Coast. It's a place of outstanding natural beauty, set against lush volcanic hills.

    Learn more

    Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    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.
    • 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.

    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.
    • 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.

    Plants and animals protected in this park


    • Humpback whale breaching. Photo: Dan Burns

      Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

      The humpback whale has the longest migratory path of any mammal, travelling over 5000km from its summer feeding grounds in Antarctica to its breeding grounds in the subtropics. Its playful antics, such as body-rolling, breaching and pectoral slapping, are a spectacular sight for whale watchers in NSW national parks.

    • 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.

    • Profile view of a grey-headed flying-fox flying past eucalupt trees. Photo: Shane Ruming © Shane Ruming

      Grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

      The grey-headed flying fox is Australia's largest native bat, with a wingspan up to 1m. This threatened species travels up and down south-eastern Australia and plays a vital role in pollinating plants and spreading seeds in our native forests.

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents.