This tract of heath and wetland forms a community comprising some of Australia’s most interesting plants. Spring creates a vivid change, with multi-coloured wildflowers carpeting the landscape. This area is also a valuable example of the evolution and dynamics of coastal landforms. (3800 hectares).
For many thousands of years, Aborigines of the Bundjalung tribe followed semi-nomadic hunting and gathering lifestyles throughout the Broadwater territory. Today some of their descendants live on Cabbage Tree Island to the north of the park. Up until 1922 traditional lifestyles and sacred ceremonies of initiation still occurred in the area. The general park area was extensively hunted for wallabies, snakes, birds, honey, turtles and their eggs, fresh water mussels, ripe water-lily bulbs, geebungs and the fruit of the ‘noocui’ or pig’s face plant. Fish were widely sought after and, as indicated by the numerous middens, pippies and oysters were plentiful.
The vegetation mosaic is best viewed from the lookout. The plant patterns range from the colonising species, sea rocket and coastal spinifex on the frontal dunes, to a dry heath with colourful shrubs, such as wedding bush, banksias and boronias. Tall paperbarks shelter behind the high foredunes whilst the sand ridges are dominated by rough-barked apple, the black she oak and the bright orange-yellow flowering wallum banksia.
Spring wildflowers emerge in a profusion of colour with pinks, yellows, whites and blues intermingling with vivid patches of red and yellow as Christmas bells, golden bush pea, swamp lily and sun orchid, to mention a few, change the landscape into a patchwork of brilliant colour.
Birds are plentiful in the heath and along the sea shore . Honey-eaters are common in the flowering heathlands. The wide sandy beach with its coffee coloured rock outcrops in the north provides pleasant walking and good sightings of seabirds, such as the wedge-tailed shearwater, pied oyster-catcher, gulls and terns. The swamps and marshlands are also home to many species of waders including ibis, herons and brolgas. It is not uncommon for sea eagles and osprey to fly over the park in search of food. The rare jabiru is occasionally sighted around Salty Lagoon.
Many native animals are found in the park, including swamp wallabies, red-necked wallabies, echidnas, bandicoots, bush rats, ring-tailed possums, and blossom bats.
The park represents a well preserved example of the large sand dunes and swales (gullies) which were formed between the ice ages, some 60 000 years ago in the Pleistocene. The ridges are mainly wind blown sands which gradually accumulated against the existing rocks, some up to 30m above sea level. The oldest rock in the area is phylite, dated at 400-450 million years old. Sandstone outcrops 4 km west at Rileys Hill are 100 million years old.
An interesting rock in the park is a formation locally known as coffee rock. Found exposed on the beach these black or brown outcrops exist at a shallow depth over most of the park. This rock is composed of sand grains cemented together by organic matter, which accumulated in the swamps and lagoons having been most likely deposited after a rise in sea level. Wave erosion has carved the rock into unusual forms with many small caves and cliffs well worth examining.
Facilities at the Broadwater Beach Picnic Area just north of the headland include a parking area, tables, gas barbecues and pit toilets. A viewing platform suitable for wheelchairs is provided on the Broadwater Headland which boasts spectacular coastal scenery.
A lookout is located along the Broadwater to Evans Head road with picnic and barbecue facilities provided. Located nearer the township of Evans Head is a 3 km return walking track to Salty Lagoon.
LOCATION AND ACCESS
Access to the southern end of the park is gained from the Woodburn – Evans Head road, 11 km from the Pacific Highway at Woodburn.
Entrance to the northern end is from the village of Broadwater, along the Broadwater – Evans Head road which traverses the park.
For more information contact:
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
Lismore District, Colonial Arcade,
Main Street, ALSTONVILLE 2477
Phone (02) 6627 0200
Information provided by National Parks & Wildlife Services