Booti Booti National Park is honestly one of my favourite places in NSW and it has some incredible walks you can do! This secluded National Park is seldom visited by many but it has some of the best beaches along the whole coastline!
Booti Booti National Park is located halfway between Newcastle and Port Macquarie, in the mid-north coast of NSW. It includes striking headlands (perfect for whale watching), rainforest and a beautiful thin 8km peninsula that separates Wallis Lake from the Pacific Ocean – just check out it’s location on Google maps!
Where to stay at Booti Booti National Park
The Ruins Campground
The Ruins Campground makes for a great place to stay overnight if you enjoy camping. It is located on The Lakes Way: if you are driving northbound it is right at the start of the peninsula before you get to Tiona and the Green Cathedral. You’ll see a turning on your right to the campground about 3km after the Sunset Picnic Area at Wallis Lake. The campsite lies right behind Seven Mile Beach and you can even hear the waves from here – it is so peaceful!
At The Ruins Campground there are hot showers, toilets, BBQ facilities and charge points. Note wifi is however is not available here. Prices start at $34 for an unpowered site.
Blueys Beach, Boomerang Beach & Pacific Palms
Just outside Booti Booti National Park you’ll find lots of accommodation options in Blueys Beach, Boomerang Beach and Pacific Palms if you would prefer not to camp. Click on the link below to see some amazing options!
Booti Booti National Park Walks
BOOTI HILL AND WALLIS LAKE WALKING TRACK
The Booti Hill and Wallis Lake Walking Track is without a doubt the most famous walk in Booti Booti National Park. It is actually made up of two separate walks that join together to form a loop. The loop is roughly 9km long and it should take you around 3 hours to walk the entire loop leisurely. The map below shows the whole loop:
Distance from The Ruins Campground to Elizabeth Beach via Booti Hill Walking Track: 3km (one way).
Time: Just over 1 hour
Distance from Elizabeth Beach to The Ruins Campground via The Lakeside Walking Track: 6km (one way).
Time: Around 1 hour 30 minutes
You can start the walk either at The Ruins Campground, Elizabeth Beach or the Sunset Picnic Area on The Lakes Way. If you start the walk at The Ruins Campground it means you do the steepest part of the walk first, so for this reason I recommend to start here (plus if you are staying at The Ruins Campground it is super easy!). If you aren’t staying at the campground there is a day parking space where you can leave your car here.
Booti Hill Walking Track
The Booti Hill Walking Track goes from Seven Mile Beach to Elizabeth Beach.
Seven Mile Beach is located right behind The Ruins Campsite. At the southern end of the beach you’ll see the sign for the Booti Hill Walking Track. Make your way up the path on Booti Hill – there are lots of steps and the path is easy to navigate. The path is a moderate to steep grade walk but is manageable, and you’ll often get a nice cool breeze coming from the ocean which is always very welcoming.
There are several benches dotted on the path up – perfect if you want to catch your breath or just relax for a while. Walking up the hill the view out towards the ocean will be mostly obstructed by the tall trees and forest you’re walking through. This does however provide some much needed shade if you’ll be walking on a hot day!
The path then evens out after the initial climb before going uphill and downhill a little. You’ll notice the landscape changes from dry bush and forest to more fern and rainforest at this point in the walk and you’ll also be able to see across to Seagull Point from here. The path goes over the ridge of the headland before descending down towards Elizabeth Beach. The descent is quite steep so do be careful, but the views are really stunning down towards the beach.
Elizabeth Beach & Shelly Beach
Spend some time enjoying Elizabeth Beach – if you fancy a swim along the walk this is the best beach to go for a swim as it is the most protected and not as exposed and open as the other beaches. It is therefore deemed safer to swim here. Elizabeth Beach is the only patrolled beach in the area, but note it is only patrolled during the summer months and peak seasons. If you have brought a picnic with you, you can sit and enjoy it here or wait until you get to the Sunset Picnic Area overlooking Wallis Lake.
Make sure to do a little detour and head over to nearby Shelly Beach – an incredibly stunning and secluded beach. You’ll find the Shelly Beach Walking Track at the southern end of Elizabeth Beach and it will take around five to ten minutes to walk up the hill and down to the beach. Note one half of the beach is a nudist beach.
The Lakeside Walking Track
When you are ready to leave Elizabeth Beach, retrace your steps and head back up Booti Hill for a few hundred metres. You’ll then see a fire trail turning off on your left. It is marked towards The Lakes Way. Take this track and it will lead you across to the Sunset Picnic Area. You’ll need to cross the road (The Lakes Way) so just be careful of traffic. The Sunset Picnic Area is an absolutely stunning place to watch the sunset over Wallis Lake, or sit and relax and have a picnic during the day. There are a few picnic tables here and space for a few cars to park.
Follow the Lakeside Walking Track to the right – it hugs Wallis Lake and you’ll be walking right along the edge of the lake for about 3km. It is a really stunning walk, and nice and flat so you can really enjoy the peaceful and scenic views.
Wallis Lake is very shallow (the depth is on average 1.5 metres) so it is a popular place for people to go paddle-boarding, swimming, kayaking or fishing. It is also one of the cleanest lakes in Australia, so after all the kilometres you’ve walked it is the perfect place to go for a little dip and refresh, especially if the temperatures are getting warm! It is very close to the end of the walk, so you won’t have too far to walk once you’ve got out. Wallis Lake is also a good place for bird watching and you’ll often see pelicans here.
The Lakeside Walking Track will eventually join onto the road by the NPWS Work Deport (just past the Gogerly Cemetery). Then you’ll just need to cross over to get back to The Ruins Campground. Be careful of traffic as the road is on a bit of a bend.
What to bring on the Booti Booti National Park Walks:
- proper footwear as The Booti Walking Track is quite steep – thongs are not advise.
- swimsuit and a towel if you want to go for a dip.
- it is wise to bring a picnic/snacks as there is nowhere to buy food along the way.
- make sure you have plenty water, especially if it is a hot day.
NEARBY PLACES TO VISIT
Blueys Beach & Boomerang Beach
In addition to the beautiful beaches of Seven Mile Beach, Shelly Beach and Elizabeth Beach, just outside of Booti Booti National Park you’ll find the lovely Blueys Beach and neighbouring Boomerang Beach. These two beaches are particularly great for surfing, plus you’ll find several places to go for food or coffee on Boomerang Drive. The beaches here are busier than the beaches in Booti Booti National Park as more people live closer to these beaches, but they are never crowded and still give a secluded feeling whilst having convenient amenities nearby. It is definitely worth stopping off and seeing these beaches, as well as stopping for a coffee or lunch here!
Blueys Beach is popular with dog walkers as there is an off-leash area at the end of the beach from 5am to 9am. You’ll find parking for Blueys Beach along the road, or alternatively there is a small car park by the southern end of the beach by the off leash dog part. You’ll also find toilets here in this car park.
The small, sleepy village of Seal Rocks is less than a half hour drive from Booti Booti National Park. Known for it’s great surf and stunning views as well as several incredibly picturesque beaches and it’s lighthouse, it is a really great place to explore when you are in the nearby area. It also has one of the best beaches in Australia – click here to read all about Seal Rocks!
How to get to Booti Booti National Park
Booti Booti National Park can be reached by car in under 3.5 hours from Sydney CBD (282km). Turn off the Pacific Highway and right onto The Lakes Way – a few kilometres after Bulahdelah. You’ll drive for about 40km down this road – it is a slow drive and will take half an hour as the road is quite winding and narrow. The Lakes Way goes all the way through Booti Booti National Park and into the nearby town of Forster.
If you will be driving from Sydney you may wish to break up the drive and stop off along the way. Here are a few ideas for lovely places to stop off en-route:
- A little detour to Port Stephens makes a great place to stop off for a couple of hours. There are so many great things to do in Port Stephens such as swimming with dolphins, walking up the Tomaree Summit for a spectacular view over the surrounding area, or going on a camel ride on the Stockton Sand Dunes at Birubi Beach!
- You can always stop off for a swim at the iconic Bogey Hole ocean pool in Newcastle.
- Alternatively a stop at picturesque Caves Beach by Lake Macquarie, the Central Coast or Bouddi National Park are great places to stretch your legs.
There are so many stunning places along the way you’ll be spoilt for choice!