Booti Booti National Park, NSW

This story appeared in Issue 65 of 4WD Touring Australia


When many Sydneysiders think of fleeing the rat race for a summer escape it normally does not take long before they point the 4WD north and head up the coast.  Like a moth to light, they congregate on the narrow strip between ocean and land, alternating between beach cricket, sandcastles and seeing who can catch the biggest wave.

As you head north there are a multitude of options from well equipped caravan parks on the coast to more rustic National Parks.  And one of the best of these is the water-bound Booti Booti National Park trapped between Myall Lakes and the Pacific Ocean. Located 140km north of Newcastle this stretch of coast is a haven for families on holiday, anglers searching for that elusive kingfish, or surfers chasing the endless summer.

Leaving the Pacific Highway just north of Bulahdelah, the Lakes Way gives a clue to your destination.  As the road hugs the edge of the Lake on the left, the coastal rainforest cascades down the hill on the right until they collide together in a long thin sand-spit. This narrow strip of sand is also where you will find the Ruins Campground. 

This large grassed area located next to the beach has all the necessary facilities to keep the children and partner happy. It operates on a first-come first-served basis so like many coastal spots, these are often best avoided in the peak holiday periods unless you don’t mind sharing your neighbours music till late in the night.

Here you are spoilt for choice on how to relax with ocean on one side and the lake on the other. For families care must be taken as the beach is not patrolled, but for surfers Blueys and Boomerang are the spot to search for the rolling swell.

In 1818 John Oxley carried a boat from Booti Booti to Boomerand Beach.  Luckily you don’t need to carry one that far with numerous spots to launch your boat or kayak in the peaceful Wallis Lake.

And if you want a break from water activities there are several walks including seven mile beach or the shorter, but no less spectacular 3km walk to Elizabeth Beach via Booti Hill.  Another scenic walk is Cape Hawke lookout which supposedly offers 360 degree views along the coast from a tower however the tall trees have other thoughts blocking some of the view.  And while sunrise is still spectacular, there are more mosquitoes than tourists on bondi beach to keep you company so take the repellent – you have been warned.

The Park is named after “butibiti” the local Worimi word meaning ’plenty of honey’.  And while you may not find the illusive golden nectar there are not many sweeter spots you will find on the coast.