Saltwater National Park

Overview

At this small coastal reserve east of Taree, you can bushwalk, canoe, kayak, swim, fish, surf, picnic, and even whale watch from August through November.

Read more about Saltwater National Park

Saltwater National Park is a small coastal reserve surrounded by rainforest, just east of Taree. It's a popular seasonal camping spot for local Aboriginal people, and its convenient coastal locale means that surfers, swimmers and fishers find it equally attractive.

Saltwater Beach is a much-loved surfing area, also great for swimming and sunbathing. The large, well-equipped Saltwater picnic area, adjacent to the beach, makes a perfect spot to relax between swims. Wallabi Beach is great for a surf. Or, you can paddle a canoe, kayak, or fish amongst the mangroves along Khappinghat Creek.

The views from Headland walking track are not only spectacular, it's a great place to go whale watching. From August through to November, you might spot humpback whales on their annual migration.

All year round, be sure to keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins surfing the waves, sea eagles swooping into the sea to catch their prey, and brush turkeys wandering along the tracks in search of food.

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/saltwater-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Getting there and parking

From Taree or the Pacific Highway:

  • Take Old Bar Road then turn right at Saltwater Road. Follow Saltwater Road to Saltwater National Park.

Parking

By bike

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

By public transport

There is no public transport available to Saltwater National Park.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Saltwater National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Take walks around the headland and through to adjoining Khappinghat Nature Reserve.

Spring

Enjoy whale watching from the viewing platform at Saltwater Point from August through November.

Summer

Swim, surf and sunbathe on the beaches, canoe and kayak in the creek, or enjoy a picnic on the grass under the shady rainforest trees.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

17°C and 29°C

Highest recorded

45.2°C

Winter temperature

Average

8°C and 21°C

Lowest recorded

-5°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

August

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

280.2mm

Facilities

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 + 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

Old Bar (7 km)

As well as its beachside attractions, Old Bar is an ideal base for exploring nearby natural attractions. Crowdy Head National Park and the beautiful waterways of Myall lakes National Park are just two of the best.

www.visitnsw.com

Taree (18 km)

Taree is a major mid North Coast city, ringed by superb beaches. It's situated on the Manning River and set against rolling hills.

www.visitnsw.com

Forster (44 km)

Dominated by water sports Forster is the centre of the Great Lakes area.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

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

Surf's up

Wallabi Beach, Saltwater National Park. Photo: Kevin Carter

Saltwater Beach's headland is a highly popular surfing point break used for recreational surfing, as well as club and competition surf events. Take a stroll through a rainforest walking track, and be sure to do a spot of whale watching at Saltwater Point. The adjacent Saltwater Beach and Wallabi Beach are popular surfing and swimming areas.

  • Khappinghat Creek At the flat water Khappinghat Creek, kayak or canoe through undeveloped wetlands, mangroves and rainforest. Swimming and fishing near Taree on the mid-north coast of NSW.
  • Saltwater picnic area Enjoy relaxed picnicking or barbecues at this well-equipped picnic area with ocean beaches and walking tracks nearby where you can swim, fish, surf, kayak or birdwatch.

Unique geology and landscape

Saltwater headland, Saltwater National Park. Photo: Kevin Carter

Saltwater headland, which separates Wallabi Beach and Saltwater Beach, is one of only three headlands between Wallis Lake and the Manning River. Khappinghat Creek, which borders the park, is the largest area of undeveloped wetlands and the only naturally opening and closing estuarine system on the mid-north coast of NSW.

  • Five Islands walking track This gorgeous coastal walking track follows a part of the Saltwater National Park coastline that is rich in Aboriginal history with great spots for swimming, fishing, surfing, and sailing, near Taree.
  • Headland walking track This short walk around the headland takes you to a whale watching viewing platform, has Aboriginal history, is near Khappinghat Nature Reserve near Taree.

Striking plant life

Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Saltwater National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Parts of the park are listed as endangered ecological communities and there are a number of rare and lovely plant species to be spotted here. Keep your eyes out on the walking tracks for magenta lilly pilly, a small tree with dark shiny leaves, magenta-coloured fruit and white-flowered wax plant. Pink-flowering pinnate boronia, and the golden flowers of the wallum banksia, among others, can all be seen in Saltwater National Park. The park also supports many marine-dependant species, such as the white-bellied sea eagle, as well as endangered or vulnerable species including the pied oystercatcher, little tern, the flesh-footed shearwater and osprey.

  • Headland walking track This short walk around the headland takes you to a whale watching viewing platform, has Aboriginal history, is near Khappinghat Nature Reserve near Taree.

Spiritually significant landscape

 Headland walking track, Saltwater National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Saltwater Beach and its surrounds are a cultural landscape of great importance to the local Aboriginal Biripi tribe. There are several sites related to the Dreamtime within the park, and the area is declared an Aboriginal Place. Joint management with Aboriginal people and local residents, in association with Saltwater Tribal Council and NPWS, gives this park special local importance.

  • Five Islands walking track This gorgeous coastal walking track follows a part of the Saltwater National Park coastline that is rich in Aboriginal history with great spots for swimming, fishing, surfing, and sailing, near Taree.
  • Saltwater picnic area Enjoy relaxed picnicking or barbecues at this well-equipped picnic area with ocean beaches and walking tracks nearby where you can swim, fish, surf, kayak or birdwatch.

Education resources (1)

What we're doing

Saltwater 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.

Saltwater headland, Saltwater NP. Photo: Kevin Carter/NSW Government