Jervis Bay National Park

Landscape and Geology

Jervis Bay was formed about 15 000 years ago, towards the end of the last Ice Age. As the ice melted and the sea level rose the coastal river system was flooded and the bay was created.

The bay has two fairly distinct landscape types:

  • south of Vincentia are high ridges and gullies formed on the Snapper Point sandstone formation, the oldest outcropping rock at Jervis Bay
  • north of Vincentia is low lying flat to undulating land of siltstone overlaid with sands and mud. Scattered through the siltstone are exotic rocks thought to have been left by icebergs.  This part of the bay has extensive estuarine areas, including Lake Wollumboola. 

 

Lake Wollumboola
Formed following the last Ice Age, this is a large, saline coastal lake that is slowly becoming a freshwater wetland, a process that will still take thousands of years.  At this stage of the process, although the lake is saline, it has a number of freshwater soaks around its shores. These soaks are important for the health of many of the thousands of water birds that use the lake.

Among the lake's water birds are migratory species that fly thousands of kilometres from the northern hemisphere.  Between October and March these species feed and in many cases breed here. Thirty three species are protected by international agreements, including the endangered little tern.

The waters of the lake are subject to drastic changes. For example, because 60% of Lake Wollumboola is above sea level, most of its water drains out when the sea entrance opens.

The interactions between the changeable lake water and the millions of plants and animals that depend on it form complex and ever varying patterns that are driven by weather, seasonal changes and the erratic occurrence of the opening to the sea.

One example of such interactions relates to the effect of changed water levels on the sea grass and algae. These plants are the basis of the food chain, so the many birds that come to the lake and its shores are dependent on them either directly or indirectly.

The abundance of the algae and sea grass and where they grow varies with changes in water level. When water levels are low and the exposed sea grass dies off, the old grass becomes a rich feeding ground. Small crustaceans and seaweed flies move in to feed and breed. They in turn are followed by birds that feed on the resulting eggs and larvae. The lost sea grass beds are replaced by new beds in other areas that would normally be too deep.

More information: Lake Wollumboola Protection Association

Where to see some of the park's landscapes and features

Bull Hole lookout

Stop by Bull Hole lookout in Jervis Bay National Park for expansive scenic views that take in Warrain Beach, Beecroft Head, Currarong, Culburra, Mount Coolangatta and Crookhaven Bight.

From the elevated viewing platform, you can enjoy outstanding views up and down the beach and of the surrounding dunes, which are covered in swamp oak, banksias and wattles.

The beach is popular with surfers and local fishermen, and the lookout is also a great spot from which to see dolphins frolicking in the waters year-round, or whales during migration season, particularly in spring and late winter.

Activities: birdwatching, dolphin watching, whale watching

Getting there: Bull Hole lookout is in the northern precinct of Jervis Bay National Park. To get there:

  • Travel south through Nowra on Princes Highway
  • Turn left off Princes Highway at Forest Road - follow the signs to Currarong.
  • Continue in a generally easterly direction. Once you’re on Currarong Road, travel approximately 6.4km before taking the small dirt track set amongst casuarinas hard on your left.
  • Follow the dirt track for approximately 200m to the carpark

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD (no long vehicle access).

Facilities: carpark, lookout, education centre, visitor centre

Coonemia Creek

Wheelchair access: hard

  • Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty

The banks of Coonemia Creek make a peaceful and tranquil spot to just sit and watch the world go by. When Lake Wollumboola is full and the creek is high, it’s also a perfect spot from which to launch and paddle a kayak or canoe from the small timber launching ramp, which can also accommodate small motorised trailer boats.

Enjoy swimming, kayaking or fishing surrounded by undisturbed forest vegetation. Birdwatchers should bring their binoculars to better admire the azure kingfishers that like to perch on the branches of the creek banks, as well as several other species of waterbirds that call the area home, including pelicans and cormorants.

Activities: paddling, sailing and boating, fishing, birdwatching, picnics and barbecues

Getting there: Coonemia Creek is in the northern precinct of Jervis Bay National Park. To get there:

  • Travel south through Nowra on Princes Highway
  • Turn left off Princes Highway at Forest Road - follow the signs to Currarong.
  • Continue in a generally easterly direction. Once you’re on Currarong Road, travel approximately 2.5km before taking the small dirt track on your left.
  • Follow this dirt track for approximately 700m to Coonemia Creek

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: boat ramp, carpark

Greenfield Beach picnic area

Wheelchair access: medium

  • Greenfield Beach is the most wheelchair accessible beach in Jervis Bay National Park
  • The picnic area is flat and grassy
  • Access to the beach is via a short boardwalk  

Greenfields Beach picnic area in Jervis Bay National Park (Image: DECCW)Tucked away behind Greenfield Beach, this picnic area is known for its family-friendly atmosphere. It’s named after Colin Greenfield who lived in the area from 1942 until the 1970s.

Set up a picnic table, sprawl out on the grass or take a seat in the shelter shed – with its informative panels it doubles as an outdoor classroom. You’ll also find free barbecues to cook your alfresco feast.

Try a spot of birdwatching, work off your lunch on the White Sands walk and Scribbly Gum track, or head to the beach, just steps away. There are showers to wash salt from your skin after a swim or sandcastle session.

Two walking tracks begin at the picnic area - see Walking.

Activities: walking, swimming, snorkelling, picnicking, playing and socialising

Getting there: Pedestrian access to the Greenfield Beach picnic area opens directly off the cul-de-sac at the end of Elizabeth Drive, Vincentia.

  • From the Princes Highway, take the Jervis Bay Road turn off and follow signs to Vincentia
  • Follow Elizabeth Drive to the cul-de-sac at its end – there are parking bays along the road

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: gas/electric barbecues (free), picnic tables, flush toilets, cold showers, drinking water, trackhead/access point, lookout

Other facilities: 2 open stand showers; shelter shed

Picnic and barbecue area at Greenfields Beach in Jervis Bay National Park (Image: Beth Boughton/DECCW)The shelter shed at Greenfields Beach, Jervis Bay National Park (Image: Beth Boughton/DECCW)


Events, activities and alerts at this location
School excursion

Then and now - Aboriginal culture

Difficulty: easy

Park: Greenfield Beach picnic area (Jervis Bay National Park)

Cost: from $7.70 per student

More info: Nowra, Phone: (02) 4423 2170

By arrangement
School excursion

Then and now - Aboriginal culture

Difficulty: easy

Park: Greenfield Beach picnic area (Jervis Bay National Park)

Cost: from $7.70 per student

More info: Nowra, Phone: (02) 4423 2170

By arrangement
School excursion

Then and now - Aboriginal culture

Difficulty: easy

Park: Greenfield Beach picnic area (Jervis Bay National Park)

Cost: from $7.70 per student

More info: Nowra, Phone: (02) 4423 2170

By arrangement
School excursion

Then and now - Aboriginal culture

Difficulty: easy

Park: Greenfield Beach picnic area (Jervis Bay National Park)

Cost: from $7.70 per student

More info: Nowra, Phone: (02) 4423 2170

By arrangement
School excursion

Then and now - Aboriginal culture

Difficulty: easy

Park: Greenfield Beach picnic area (Jervis Bay National Park)

Cost: from $7.70 per student

More info: Nowra, Phone: (02) 4423 2170

By arrangement
School excursion

What is a national park? State and national parks

Difficulty: easy

Park: Greenfield Beach picnic area (Jervis Bay National Park)

Cost: start from $7.70 per student. Vehicle entry fees apply.

More info: Nowra, Phone: (02) 4423 2170

By arrangement

Hammerhead Point picnic area

Wheelchair access: hard

Hammerhead Point picnic area is located just a short walk from Warrain Beach.

Grab a table or spread your blanket on the grass. You can enjoy your sandwiches while nicely sheltered from the elements, thanks to a small sand dune that acts as a windbreak between the beach and the picnic spot.

After a picnic lunch, sit back and relax or enjoy a stroll on the beach. The beach here opens to magnificent reef within the Hammerhead sanctuary zone, part of the Jervis Bay Marine Park. Bring your snorkelling or diving gear for a real treat – there’s a huge array of marine life including dolphins, octopus and stingrays. Bring your binoculars if you're visiting in the winter - Hammerhead Point is a great whale watching spot.

Activities: snorkelling, swimming, whale watching, picnicking, playing and socialising

Getting there: Hammerhead Point is located off Currarong Road, about 9km east of Callala Bay and a few kilometres west of Currarong village. From the Princes Highway:

  • Take Forest Road off the highway, then follow the signs towards Currarong
  • You’ll find the picnic area a couple of hundred metres along the unsealed road

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: picnic tables, non-flush toilets

Red Point picnic area

A spot mainly known to locals, Red Point picnic area provides access to the white sandy beaches on the northern shores of Jervis Bay, set within a sanctuary zone of Jervis Bay Marine Park. From here, you can enjoy glorious views south out across Jervis Bay and to nearby Red Point.

The wide-open area is sheltered from the dominant summer breeze and has several tables and a toilet, making it an ideal picnic spot. From here, you can also easily launch a kayak out into the bay or take a walk to Hare Point, either along the beach or follow the old sand track through the bush.

The Hare Point walk begins at the car park and you can also walk along the long flat sweep of beach; see Walking.

Activities: paddling, sailing and boating, swimming

Getting there: Red Point picnic area is in the northern precinct of Jervis Bay National Park. To get there:

  • Travel south through Nowra on Princes Highway
  • Turn left off Princes Highway at Forest Road - follow the signs to Currarong.
  • Continue in a generally easterly direction. Once you’re on Currarong Road, travel approximately 2.5km before taking the dirt road on your right.
  • Follow this dirt road for approximately 2.3km to the picnic area

Road access: Unsealed road/trail - 2WD (no long vehicle access).

Facilities: picnic tables, non-flush toilets, carpark, trackhead/access point, amenities block