If you are visiting Jervis Bay then you must explore beautiful Booderee National Park, and if you’re there with the family then read on to find out all the great things to do at Booderee National Park with kids.
Booderee National Park is run by the local Indigenous people from the Wreck Bay community, who have been looking after this beautiful area for tens of thousands of years.
Fun Things To Do At Booderee National Park – With Kids
Booderee National Park Map
Booderee National Park is situated on the peninsula which is the on the southern side of Jervis Bay, check out this map.
Here is an image of the map of Booderee National Park which you can pick up in hard copy at the information centre.
Booderee National Park Facts
Booderee means ‘bay of plenty’ in the local Dharug language. This name was chosen by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community when this land was returned to its traditional Indigeous owners. You can hear the words of traditional owners and learn more about the park on the website and also on the podcasts listed here.
Booderee National Park Facebook page is here – keep up to date on park happenings on this Facebook page
Phone number: +61 429 008 017
Apps: find the Booderee NP Visitor Guide and the Booderee Birds apps on your favourite app store
Booderee National Park Entry Pass
All visitors who arrive by car to Booderee National Park need to buy a pass specifically for this park. Booderee is not part of the NSW NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service) and so the NPWS annual pass does not allow entry to this park.
(Walkers and cyclists do not need to buy a pass.)
Our family visits often so we usually buy an annual pass. If you are visiting for just a short time you can buy a two-day pass. These can be bought online in advance, or you can buy them at the entry to the park or at the Visitor Centre. Prices are very reasonable.
Find park pass information and buy online from Booderee National Park website here.
The Visitor Centre at Booderee National Park
At the entrance to Booderee, you will find the Visitor Centre, and I would always recommend that you take the family there on your first visit. You will find information about the local flora and fauna, as well as about the history of the park. Find maps and other information, ask about the walks and beaches and meet some of the Indigenous rangers.
The Beaches of Booderee National Park
Oh, where to start? Can I strongly advise you to visit many times and check them ALL out?
Our family tends to stay on the Jervis Bay side as we are not surfers and so the wilder waters of Cave Beach and other ocean beaches are not for us. Mind you, a walk down to explore the cave at Cave Beach is always fun, a good thing to do in winter time too.
Here are our family’s favourites Jervis Bay Booderee beaches, in order.
Murrays Beach: The beach furthest to the east, and with a wonderful sweep of sand with gorgeous bush behind, Murrays Beach has excellent views over Bowen Island (visitors not allowed) and loads of great rocky spots for snorkelling. Also, at the far end, there is an adventurous secret tiny round beach which you have to climb over rocks to get to. It’s a children’s delight.
Murrays Beach is our family’s absolute favourite of all the beaches at Jervis Bay – and that is high praise indeed as there are so many great beaches around the bay. We did once almost see a shark there, though. Check out more photos about Murrays Beach on our article here.
Green Patch and Bristol Point: These two beaches are lovely and there is heaps of space to have BBQs and to play games there. The beaches are sweeping, with lovely white sand, though not quite as white as the sand at Hyams Beach (which is not a part of Booderee itself.) These beaches can be very busy in summer though as they are popular camping spots. Also, watch out for the marauding kookaburras who are used to people and not averse to swooping down and stealing sausages from the kids’ hands.
Scottish Rocks: Just past Green Patch and Bristol Point, we love the quieter beach at Scottish Rocks. It’s just a very short walk to get to the beach from the car park. Highly recommended.
Booderee Botanic Garden
The only botanic garden in Australia managed by Indigenous Australians, Booderee Botanic Garden is a must-visit. Even young children will enjoy running around the paths and trails through this pocket of botanical paradise within the national park.
Walks at Booderee National Park
There are all sorts of walks that you can do at Booderee National Park. Check out the map to see all of the options available. Here are some of the walks which our family has enjoyed.
Telegraph Creek Nature Trail: this is an easy 2km flattish walk, accessible from the car park at Green Patch. You’ll find an interesting variety of plant life and, if your kids are not too noisy. you might spot birds too. To see more photos and read more about walking with kids at Telegraph Creek Nature Trail, click here.
The Steamers Beach car park (take Stoney Creek Road then Steamers Road to find it) is the start for a variety of walks from just a few kilometres to much longer loop walks over to Whiting Beach. I have walked down to Steamers Beach and really enjoyed the views, but the sea was rough and we did not take the kids in swimming at all.
From Murrays Beach you can walk around the 5.4 km loop called the Munyunga waraga dhugan loop walk, meaning ‘white-bellied sea eagle’s home camp’ in the Dhurga language of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal people.
There are many interpretative boards alongside the walking track in Booderee so you can learn about the flora and fauna as you walk.
Camping at Booderee National Park
There are three campsites within Booderee NP, Green Patch, Bristol Point and Cave Beach. All of these campsites have only unpowered sites. These are very popular campsites and need to be booked well in advance. They are occasionally closed to allow the sites to be maintained.
Remember that these are family-friendly campsites and do not make too much noise. It is important to remember too that you are surrounded by natural beauty, and the bush, so snakes and spiders might be around. These campsites are also close to unpatrolled beaches so you need to take special care of young children and any child or adult who is not able to swim.
School holiday periods are especially busy. Campsites for the summer school holidays are allocated by ballot. To find out more call the Booderee Visitor Centre on +61 429 008 017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Cape St George Lighthouse
Once a large three-story lighthouse, over 18 metres high and with eight rooms at ground level, Cape St George Lighthouse is now a ruin. Accessible along an unmetalled road, it is worth a visit for the spectacular views from the clifftops. In whale season (June and July) this is an excellent place to spot passing whales out at sea.
Children will have to be carefully looked after, as the cliffs are high here. But families will enjoy using their imaginations as they look around at this place where several families used to live, keeping the lighthouse in good working order so that ships would avoid the cliffs.
A Book Set In Booderee
The novel Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall is set in this beautiful area in the time when the lightkeepers and their families lived near the lighthouse. The novel is inspired by a real-life tragedy. In 1887, Kate Gibson, daughter of one of the lightkeepers accidentally shot and killed her friend, Harriet Parker, daughter of another lighthouse keeper.
Watersports at Booderee National Park
The beaches of Booderee on the Jervis bay side offer plenty of opportunities for snorkelling, with Murrays Beach and Scottish Rocks having especially good underwater life.
On the ocean side, Cave Beach is excellent for surfing, but non-surfers must beware as the beach is not patrolled and there can be fierce rips. Do be very careful. If you are not a surfer and not rip-aware, the beaches on the Jervis Bay side are much safer.
Those who love to fish are able to line fish in many areas of the park. Spearfishing is completely prohibited. The FishSmart app shows what is allowed where within the Jervis bay Marine Park and the waters of Booderee national Park, as do maps which can be found at the Visitor centre. Boats can be launched from the boat ramp at Murrays Beach.
Birdwatching at Booderee NP
Booderee is a birdwatchers’ paradise. Binoculars and patience are all you need to spot many species of seabird and land birds that live in the native bush of this unique national park. Check out this webpage about the birds you can spot in Booderee, or download the Booderee birds app from your phone’s app store.
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to the delights of Booderee National Park. Grab an annual pass and visit it every time you are down at Jervis Bay. It is a little piece of paradise and well worth getting to know very well.
Hope to see you snorkelling at Murrays Beach one day soon!