Iluka Nature Reserve

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Overview

Spectacular views, great birdwatching, and plenty of water activities, including surfing, swimming, snorkelling, and whale watching, make Iluka Nature Reserve perfect for a day trip or weekend retreat.

Read more about Iluka Nature Reserve

Located in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Iluka Nature Reserve is a gateway to stunning coastline and World Heritage-listed rainforest. It’s 136ha in size, but packed with natural wonders.

Experience the peaceful rainforest as you stroll under tall canopy along Iluka Rainforest walking track. This is part of the largest remaining stand of littoral 'by the sea' rainforest in NSW, and supports over 140 bird species, and a variety of plants. Iluka is a very popular destination for avid birdwatchers and walkers alike.

Head to Iluka Bluff for spectacular views, a picnic by the beach and a chance to spot migrating whales heading north during the winter months. While you’re there, why not enjoy fishing and swimming by the beach and snorkelling around the rocky coastline?

With so much to do, why not camp or book a cottage at neighbouring Bundjalung National Park, to make the most of your visit.

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/iluka-nature-reserve/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Map


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Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Grafton

    • Drive north on the Pacific Highway for approximately 45 minutes
    • Turn right onto Iluka Road and drive approximately 15 minutes to Iluka township
    • Iluka Nature Reserve can be reached via Iluka village from Long Street or the Iluka Bluff picnic area

    From Ballina

    • Drive south on the Pacific Highway for approximately 60 minutes
    • Turn left onto Iluka Road and drive approximately 15 minutes to Iluka township
    • Iluka Nature Reserve can be reached via Iluka village from Long Street or the Iluka Bluff picnic area

    By public transport

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

    For information on Yamba-Iluka ferry times, visit Clarence River Ferries.

    Best times to visit

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

    Autumn

    A great time to for a bit of beach fishing as the travelling winter species move closer to the shore.

    Spring

    Experience the spring fragrances of the rainforest and the diversity of local birdlife.

    Summer

    Head straight to Iluka Bluff and immerse yourself in the glistening waters - water activities like swimming, snorkelling and surfing await you.

    Winter

    Take in the panoramic views from Iluka Bluff and keep your eyes out for whales migrating north along the coast.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    17°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    42.5°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    9°C and 20°C

    Lowest recorded

    2.7°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    300mm

    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).

    Prohibited

    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

    Iluka (1 km)

    Iluka is a peaceful and scenic town with superb fishing and beaches. A coastal village, it's set on the north side of the Clarence River mouth.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Yamba (42 km)

    Yamba is a bustling holiday resort with a large fishing fleet. It's built around a headland at the mouth of the Clarence River.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Grafton (77 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

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

    World Heritage rainforest

    Iluka Rainforest walk, Iluka Nature Reserve. Photo: Clarence River Tourism

    Iluka Nature Reserve is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area - the most extensive strip of diverse rainforest anywhere on Earth. Iluka is also significant as it has the largest remaining stand of littoral 'by the sea' rainforest in New South Wales and over 180 unique species of plants. Experience this special ecosystem up close on the Iluka Rainforest walking trail and see this amazing variety of plant life for yourself.

    • Iluka Rainforest walking track Iluka Rainforest walking track takes you on an easy stroll through lush rainforest. Unpack a picnic when you arrive at Iluka Bluff in Bundjalung National Park and enjoy stunning views and a swim.
    • Sensing the rainforest Sensing the Rainforest is a Stage 2 (Years 3–4) school excursion in Iluka Nature Reserve, focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Students experience the rainforest environment through sensory exploration.
    • Sensing the rainforest Sensing the rainforest is a Stage 1 (Years 1–2) school excursion in Iluka Nature Reserve, focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Ranger-guided activities encourage students to experience the rainforest environment using their senses.
    • Sensing the rainforest Sensing the Rainforest is a school excursion in Iluka Nature Reserve for Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Ranger-guided activities encourage students to experience the rainforest environment through their senses.

    Water adventures

    Iluka Bay, Iluka Nature Reserve. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Nestled between the coastline and the Clarence River to its south and west, Iluka Nature Reserve has something to offer everyone who enjoys the water. Find a spot to throw in your fishing line from the beaches or rocky coastline, or indulge in a relaxed stroll along the river bank for the estuary fishers. And for those who want to immerse themselves in the glistening blue waters, there's great swimming, surfing and snorkelling at the beaches near Iluka Bluff. As humpback whales migrate north along the coastline in winter, you couldn't find a better spot than the lookout at Iluka Bluff to watch the ocean for its wonderful inhabitants. Pack a picnic, take in the stunning panoramic views, and expect to see a whale or two frolicking in the distance.

    • Iluka Rainforest walking track Iluka Rainforest walking track takes you on an easy stroll through lush rainforest. Unpack a picnic when you arrive at Iluka Bluff in Bundjalung National Park and enjoy stunning views and a swim.

    Birdwatcher's haven

    Iluka Rainforest walk, Iluka Nature Reserve. Photo: Clarence River Tourism

    It's not surprising that Iluka Nature Reserve and neighbouring Bundjalung National Park have become popular destinations for birdwatchers, with 144 bird species spotted in the area. You'll discover an array of birdlife in the rainforest as you wander under its mighty canopy. Look out for the barred cuckoo shrike or the varied thriller darting about in the trees. And if you head towards the sand and mud flats of the nearby Clarence River, there's another 85 species to spot.

    • Iluka Rainforest walking track Iluka Rainforest walking track takes you on an easy stroll through lush rainforest. Unpack a picnic when you arrive at Iluka Bluff in Bundjalung National Park and enjoy stunning views and a swim.
    • Sensing the rainforest Sensing the Rainforest is a Stage 2 (Years 3–4) school excursion in Iluka Nature Reserve, focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Students experience the rainforest environment through sensory exploration.
    • Sensing the rainforest Sensing the rainforest is a Stage 1 (Years 1–2) school excursion in Iluka Nature Reserve, focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Ranger-guided activities encourage students to experience the rainforest environment using their senses.
    • Sensing the rainforest Sensing the Rainforest is a school excursion in Iluka Nature Reserve for Stage 3 (Years 5-6) students focusing on HSIE Geography outcomes. Ranger-guided activities encourage students to experience the rainforest environment through their senses.

    Education resources (1)

    School excursions (3)

    What we're doing

    Iluka 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.