Brief descriptions of the national parks in the Northern Rivers, NSW, Gold Coast hinterland and Scenic Rim, QLD, region of Australia. Stretching south along Tallow Beach from Cape Byron for nearly two kilometers, the creation of this coastal park is the result of the first indigenous land use agreement in Australia. The area provides habitat for significant flora and fauna temperate grassland unique features, including wintering sites for nomadic and migratory birds and flying foxes and is also home to the Cibum Margil Swamp, a declared coastal wetland. Old four wheel drive tracks parallel the beach, and informal sand tracks for people on foot, meander through the coastal heath, which comes alive in Spring with native birds and animals feasting from a myriad native shrubs, bushes and grasses, in bloom.
The Arakwal Aboriginal people are the acknowledged custodians of the Byron Bay area and retain a strong role and interest in the maintenance, protection and management of Aboriginal cultural values. Easy access to the rainforests is a feature of this spectacular World Heritage area. The 64km Tweed Range Scenic Drive can be reached via the Wiangaree turn off on the Summerland Way north of Kyogle, or the Barkers Vale turn off on the Murwillumbah – Kyogle Road. Day use picnic areas, shelter sheds and spectacular views are available at Bar Mountain, Blackbutts Lookout and Antarctic Beech Picnic areas. A large camping area is provided at Sheepstation Creek, with a smaller one at Forest Tops. There are a variety of walks in the park, ranging from 50 metre strolls to 10 kilometre hikes, most starting from day picnic or camping areas. Covering 3800 hectares and located between the villages of Evans Head and Broadwater on the Pacific Highway, Broadwater National Park preserves one of the most outstanding areas of coastal heathland in New South Wales, where in Spring, wildflowers explode in a kaleidoscope of colours.
The park is home to paperbarks, bush pea, bush orchids, black sheoaks, roughbarked apple, red and yellow Christmas bells, swamp lily and brilliant flowering banksias. For the bird watcher, the three kilometre return walk at Salty Lagoon is worthwhile. Picnic facilities are provided at Broadwater Beach and at the Broadwater Lookout area, where a high vantage point offers an uninterrupted view over a mosaic of heathland communities reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Entrance is via a sealed road from the Pacific Highway at Broadwater or Woodburn. Located between the coastal villages of Evans Head and Iluka, Bundjalung National Park offers something for everybody – kilometres of unspoilt beaches, spectacular coastal heathland and one of the most pristine coastal river systems in New south Wales.
Modern camping and caravan facilities, including hot showers and a kiosk, are available at Woody Head. 666 6134 to secure a site. Elsewhere, 50 low key campsites are provided at the Black Rocks Rest Area in the centre of the park, just turn off south of Woodburn on the Pacific Highway. Picnic areas for day visitors are provided at Shark Bay, Frasers Bluff and Back Beach. Gumma Garra picnic area, located adjacent to the fishing village of Evans Head, offer further opportunities for bushwalking, fishing or just spending a relaxing day with the family. Burleigh headland is a prominent Gold Coast landmark, and was first set aside as a reserve for public purposes in 1886.
Gazetted as a national park in 1947, it is now the only rocky headland on the Gold Coast that is substantially in its natural state. Burleigh Head National Park contains a variety of habitats including lowland rainforest, eucalypt forest, pandanus groves, tussock grassland, coastal heath, mangroves, creeks, rocky foreshore and beaches. It also contains interesting geological forms and is of important cultural heritage significance to the Kombumerri Aboriginal people. The park provides a popular recreational and educational venue for local and international visitors and is one of the most heavily visited parks in the region. Visitors may glimpse humpback whales breaching in coastal waters during winter and spring, see white-bellied sea-eagles riding the ridge updrafts, or watch birdwing butterflies feeding on rainforest nectars in mid-summer. Created 2002, Cape Byron Marine Park is a multiple-use marine park which includes protected areas where fishing and collecting are prohibited, and general-use areas which support both commercial and recreational fishing.