Yuraygir National Park with The KEYMAN to STATION CREEK

Yuraygir National Park preserves a stretch of coastline from Woolgoolga to Evans Head, a distance of almost 150km. With more than 30,000 hectares of rugged coastal land, it is the perfect destination for those wanting to get off the beaten track.

For 4WD enthusiasts the entire park is a wonderland of bush and beach that takes days to explore. With ample birdlife, camping, fishing, swimming, boating and picnic opportunities, the entire family is sure to love this adventure.

From Coffs Harbours centre it is a 45km drive north to McPhillips Road turn off where some of the most stunning coastal habitat on the Mid North Coast can be seen, and you can visit something, some say, is a little out of the ordinary! We’ll start this journey by visiting an unusual statue known as the Keyman and then venture on into the beautiful Station Creek camping area of Yuraygir National Park.

Head north passing Woolgoolga and keep an eye out for and pass Barcoongere Way, which will be on your right, you will come back out at that intersection when heading home. Further up the highway look for the signs to Yuraygir National Park/Station Creek/McPhillips Road. Turn right off the A1 highway onto McPhillips Road (S 29 57’ 21.3” E 153 07’ 49.1”)

Follow McPhillips Road for close on 2km where you will then veer right onto Newfoundland Road (S 29 56’ 18.1” E 153 09’ 35.7”) continue for 1.7km. Turn left onto Yellow Cutting Road (this is also the intersection of Burns Road where you will return back to) Follow Yellow Cutting Road for 2.9km, staying right again on Yellow Cutting Road (S 29 54’ 58.0” E 153 08’ 56.3”) from here it is just 1.1km to the gate/bridge and Keyman Statue on the other side (S 29 54’ 34.0” E 153 09’ 12.8”)

What is the Keyman all about? Jonaas Zilinskas was born in Lithuania 1919 and migrated to Australia after WWII. Late into the 1940’s he was involved in the timber industry. 1950 see’s Jonaas return to the circus arts as a performer and strongman, this lasted right up into the late 1990’s. He passed away in 2013.  The statue was built in 1957 and represents Jonaas’s past days among the communities and as thanks to his maker for giving him a new start in life here in Australia. Jonaas was the designer of the Swingsaw, an engine powered, one-man operated mill that used a saw bench circular saw blade to breakdown or rip logs. Jonaas designed it to cut railway sleepers. The Swingsaw became very popular with small timber mills along the coast around here for many years and even some of the operators who have used them today had no idea of who or how it all started, let alone by a man in the nude at the same time! The keys used upon the man are made into a garment. The original keys for the statue were delivered to the site in the boot of a Rolls Royce of which, it is rumoured, Zilinskas had 10.  This is a piece of history that few know, visit the site and read all the information on the now called, Slovenski Monument.

Back track now to the Yellow Cutting/McPhillips/Burns Road intersection and turn left on Burns Road. Follow to the T intersection of Burns Road/Barcoongere Way, turn left here (S 29 57” 02.0” E 153 10’ 35.4”) When you cross the cattle grid, this denotes the entering of Yuraygir National Park, fees apply. The first information board (S 29 57’ 02.0” E 153 14’ 19.1”) is also at the intersection for Pebbly Beach. For those wanting to camp or drive to Pebbly Beach or the Station Creek entrance it is a 4wd track, turn right here.

It is advisable that tyres are aired down prior to the sandy sections and beach. Tides should be checked to make sure it is low enough before crossing and beware of oncoming traffic. When descending onto the beach Turn left (north) as vehicles are not permitted to the south, here you will see the island of North Rock just offshore. You may even see the Pied Oystercatcher patrolling the shoreline. The crossing of Station Creek to Pebbly Beach is saltwater.

Station Creek Campground (S 29 57’ 04.1” E 153 14’ 49.5”) is straight on from the information board. Here you can relax or take a leisurely stroll to the beach through the dunes, look out for the Rainbow Bee-eater as they glide around swiftly between the track and creek. Bell frogs may also be heard; you may even catch sight of the Brolgas or the endangered Little Terns of which NPWS have fenced several areas off to protect nesting sites. You may like to also wander along the Scribbly Gum or Corkwood tracks that venture further upstream. Or you may just like to head down to the creek itself for a swim, fish or paddle. Why not walk to the beach and creek entrance then catch the run in tide for a refreshing help-along swim back to the camp area!

After your activities are over you may head back via the Keyman tracks or take the shorter 10km drive straight back out from the Station Creek Campground to the highway via Barcoongere Way, which is the main road out. Beware of wildlife especially the few Emus that stroll the park, look out for potholes as some can become rather deep due to the traffic use and coastal weather conditions. Beware of the creek crossing 7.4km from the cattle grid; it has some rocks placed in there to help with traction but lower vehicles should proceed with caution (If in doubt you may return and reverse directions via the Keyman tracks) Upon reaching the highway (S 29 59’ 15.13” E 153 09’ 38.5”) you may turn left for Woolgoolga or right for the Service Station and Grafton.

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