Everlasting Swamp National Park

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Overview

Everlasting Swamp National Park is a rare coastal wetland north of Grafton in the Clarence Valley. A hotspot for bird watching, you can explore the park and its wildlife from your canoe or bike.

Read more about Everlasting Swamp National Park

Known to bird watchers as the ‘Kakadu of the south’, Everlasting Swamp National Park is one of the largest freshwater wetlands on the NSW North Coast and protects 26 threatened species.

Take your binoculars because this park is superb for bird watching—especially after heavy rain when high water levels attract birdlife. You’ll be thrilled to discover rare birds and even glimpse their courtship dances. Keep an eye out for black-necked storks in their huge stick nests, elegant brolgas bobbing and strutting with life-long mates, and black swans escorting their downy cygnets through the wetlands.

Jump in your canoe or kayak to paddle the meandering creeks lined with reeds and giant waterlilies. Bring your fishing rod to cast a line for bass and mullet in Sportmans Creek or explore its wooded creek banks by bike. If you’ve come to relax away from the crowds, picnic on the grass beneath the shade of old red gum trees as frogs croak and birds of prey circle overhead.

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/visit-a-park/parks/everlasting-swamp-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

  • in the North Coast region
  • Everlasting Swamp National Park is open all year, but may have to close at times due to weather conditions or fire danger.

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See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Everlasting Swamp National Park.

Getting there and parking

Everlasting Swamp National Park is located along NSW Tourist Drive 22. To get there from Grafton:

  • Drive 20km north-east on Lawrence Road. Veer left on the Sportsmans Creek bridge at the blue national park sign (with a paddle symbol).
  • Continue on Weir Road for 4.5km to the park entrance
  • Continue south along the side of the creek until you see the Everlasting Swamp National Park entrance sign

Please keeps gates as they were when you arrived. If gates are open, leave them open. If gates are closed, be sure to shut them after you pass through.

Parking

Road quality

The final 1km is high quality unpaved road. This and other roads in the area close during major Clarence River floods. There’s a high potential for vehicle bogging in this park.

Parking

Parking is available on the gravel area just inside the park entrance—after the end of the sealed road and past the historic weir.

Best times to visit

In Everlasting Swamp National Park there are always new things and places to explore as the wetland changes with the seasons. Here are some highlights.

Autumn

This is high season for twitchers. Bring your binoculars for a good look at black-necked storks in their nests and other wading birds. See large migrating flocks pass through, especially in wetter years. It’s your last chance to fish for bass as the season ends on 30 April.

Spring

It’s a great time to see black swans with their cygnets and if you’re lucky, pairs of brolgas or jabiru guiding their young. If you’re coming for a paddle, bring your rod and reel because bass season opens on 1 September.

Summer

As summer rains fill the wetland, it truly comes alive and frogs begin to breed. Now's the time to fish and explore new areas of the park by kayak or canoe. Come prepared because there’s not a lot of shade in this park.

Winter

The wetland dries and birdlife retreats to patches of still-deep water. Come in mid-August to witness brolgas bob and leap in flamboyant courtship dances—a must-see. Cool, sunny days are perfect to explore Everlasting Swamp by bike and canoe down Sportsmans Creek.

Facilities

There are no facilities or drinking water in this national park.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

  • Some areas of the park lie below 1m sea level and water levels vary significantly throughout the year. Water levels are highest after summer rains which causes floods and gradually dries in winter.
  • Snakes are commonly found in swamps. You should avoid walking through long grass but if you must—wear long pants and boots, and alert snakes by dragging your feet. It’s a good idea to bring a first aid kit.
  • Bring insect repellent especially if you’re out at dawn or dusk

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.

Cycling safety

Hundreds of cyclists head to our national parks for fun and adventure. If you're riding your bike through a national park, read these mountain biking and cycling safety tips.

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

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).

Paddling safety

To make your paddling or kayaking adventure safer and more enjoyable, check out these paddling safety tips.

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

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Camping

Please note there are no campsites or facilities in this park.

Fishing

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

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

Generators

Horses

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

Maclean (22 km)

Maclean is a fishing port and service centre for the local farmlands. It's located inland on undulating terrain along the Clarence River.

www.visitnsw.com

Grafton (33 km)

Grafton is a gracious, historic city in the Clarence Valley farming district. It's situated on the broad Clarence River and surrounded by river flats.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Everlasting Swamp National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Eastern snake-necked turtle on a rock. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Eastern snake-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis)

    Found across most of NSW, the eastern snake-necked turtle, also known as the eastern long-necked turtle, can be found in swamps, lakes and inland waterways. This freshwater turtle is carnivorous and lives most of its life submerged on the water’s edge, searching for worms and snails.

  • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

    The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

  • 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.

  • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

    The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

  • Tawny frogmouth. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

    Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. The ‘oom oom oom’ call of this native bird can be heard echoing throughout a range of habitats including heath, woodlands and urban areas.

  • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

    Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

    With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

  • 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.

Plants

  •  Grey mangrove, Towra Point Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

    Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

Environments in this park

What we're doing

Everlasting Swamp National Park 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.

Understanding landscapes and geology

To restore Everlasting Swamp’s natural cycles, we must first know how the original wetland worked. We’re studying the complex ways its waters behave over time and under different conditions, and considering future sea level rise and climate change. We’re changing drainage and planting thousands of trees to give the over-drained wetland’s fragile soils a chance to recover.

Preserving biodiversity

Everlasting Swamp National Park is a refuge for 26 threatened species and a haven for water birds in droughts. The park also protects a rare grouping of native plants called Coastal Floodplain Wetlands. To restore this plant community, including endangered species of rushes, we plant trees and species found only locally. We’ve also improved the wetland’s ability to be a nursery for prawns and fish to support a healthy Clarence River fishery.

Managing animals, weeds and pests

We fence some areas of the wetland to keep new plantings safe from animals that would damage them. When planting, we disturb the fragile soil as little as possible to prevent weeds from getting a foothold. Water weeds, including water hyacinth, are a special challenge because they spread quickly after the wetland floods. Ongoing pig management programs help bird breeding success.

Preserving the park's historic heritage

At Everlasting Swamp National Park we preserve features from the wetland’s history to share them with you. Historic levees, water troughs, fence posts and a holding yard remind us of the landscape’s past use for cattle and crop farming.

Developing visitor facilities and experiences

We’re improving paddling, bird watching, fishing, cycling and bushwalking experiences. Our self-guided tour app is an ideal way for bird watchers to explore this biodiversity hotspot. We’ve added signage including a spot to ‘snap and share’ photos with us, so together we can record the wetland’s journey toward rejuvenation.