Local Guide: top 5 SOUTHERN BEACHES nature escapes

Love the outdoors? Here are some of our favourite ideas for experiencing the natural wonders in and around southern beaches…

1. Boambee Creek Reserve

Boambee Creek Reserve is a day-tripper’s dream with its turquoise waters leading to the ocean. Youngsters will love splashing in the shallows or enjoying some playground fun while grown-ups can unwind with a book or float along with the current. If you’re feeling active, bring your standup paddleboard or hire a canoe or kayak. The creek boasts a diversity of bird and marine life so keep your eyes peeled as you drift downstream. For an all-day visit, pack some lunch or buy it from the on-site kiosk. Doggies are welcome if kept on the lead. A small entry fee is payable to bring your car in.

Boambee Creek Reserve

2. Bonville Headland

Walking south along Sawtell’s main beach, you’ll reach beautiful Bonville Headland. With a level grassy area little ones will love, picnic tables and easy parking (if you skipped the walk), this is one of the most accessible spots on the coastline. Do as the locals do – feast on take-away fish ‘n’ chips while you take in the lovely surrounds of the rock pool, Bonville Pine Creek estuary and Bongil Bongil National Park.

Day trippers Nature escape on sawtell headland
Bonville Headland and Ocean Pool

3. Surfing the Southern Beaches

The headlands, estuaries and beaches of Sawtell make for diverse surf conditions with a break for all kinds of surfers. At the southern end of the main beach, Sawtell Island has long, rolling waves well-suited to longboarders or beginners. Learn-to-surf lessons often take place here. Experienced surfers will gravitate toward Main Beach and the swell in front of the surf club, or ‘Trapdoors’ at the river mouth at Boambee Headland. In a strong northerly wind ‘Southies’, past the ocean pool at Bonville Headland, is the break of choice.

Go surfing at Sawtell Beach
Surfing at Sawtell Beach

4. Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers of all skill levels travel from afar for the twists and turns of our local trails. Bonville’s Pine Creek State Forest is the original mountain biking network of the Coffs Coast, renowned for its family-friendly riding through a rainforest setting. ‘Cows with Guns’ is recommended as a great introductory trail. For the more experienced, the 10km Sawmill Loop will test your skills as you navigate the windy, luge-style single track..

Trail riding in Pine Creek
Trail riding in Pine Creek

5. Bongil Bongil National Park

From the Gumbaynggirr language, Bongil Bongil means “a place where one stays a long time because of the abundance of food”. So it’s no surprise that this region encompasses a rich array of flora and fauna. The bushland and waterways are a haven for wildlife and recreational activities like fishing, mountain biking, walking and paddling (try the 10km paddling route along Pine Creek). Head to Bongil Picnic Area for some serious serenity by the banks of Bonville Creek. Pack a rod and try your luck from the pontoon – or if dry land is more your style, pack your binoculars for koala spotting.

Day trippers nature escape on Bonville Creek
Bonville Creek

Do the right thing. When you’re out in nature don’t leave your rubbish behind. This helps to reduce scavenging behaviour and the spread of litter by native animals.