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About Byfield

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Getting there and getting around

In Byfield National Park, only drive off the beach on tracks marked with this symbol.

In Byfield National Park, only drive off the beach on tracks marked with this symbol.

Driving access

Byfield is approximately one hour from North Rockhampton, or 30 minutes north of Yeppoon. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed throughout the main section of Byfield National Park and to access Byfield Regional Park. A four-wheel drive is recommended to access Sandy Point section of Byfield National Park. To assist with navigation, numbered symbols on the map (PDF, 308K)* match numbered signs installed at intersections on park.

Byfield National Park (main section) and Byfield Regional Park

Byfield Regional Park and the main section of Byfield National Park are accessed via Water Park Creek in Byfield State Forest. Water Park Creek is signed along Yeppoon–Byfield Road 2km before Byfield township. Allow one hour from Water Park Creek to reach Five Rocks and Nine Mile beaches or Byfield Regional Park in good weather. Drive with caution in State forest areas as trucks carrying timber share State forest roads.

Byfield National Park (Sandy Point section)

Sandy Point section of Byfield National Park is a 30 minute drive north of Yeppoon and can be accessed via Farnborough Beach (accessed at Bangalee) or Sandy Point Road.

Road and track conditions

All publicly-accessible vehicle tracks are shown on the Byfield State Forest and parks map (PDF, 308K)*, please follow on-site directions. Road and track conditions in Byfield can change quickly depending on the weather. Flash flooding and creek rises can cut access on all roads and tracks; visitors have been left stranded at Water Park Creek for days after heavy rain. To check conditions, visitors may like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Central Coast via the park alerts page. Contact Capricorn Coast Tourist Organisation for local weather and road conditions before leaving.

If intending to drive on the beach, make sure you check local tide times and plan to drive within two hours either side of low tide. Beach driving is safer on the falling tide and on hard sand. The beach speed limit is 50km/hr unless signed otherwise.

Sand driving (PDF, 98K)* and four-wheel-driving experience is essential to drive safely in Byfield with minimal impact. The table below is an advisory guide for dry weather conditions only. Driving on dry sand tracks is more difficult and road and track conditions change quickly after rain. The first big hill on Stockyard Point Track (Big Sandy) is highly variable and usually very difficult for first time visitors.

If you are unsure of your driving ability or vehicle capability, or have not driven through Byfield National Park before, go with another vehicle and someone who has been before.

2WD smooth 2WD rough 4WD easy 4WD medium 4WD difficult
Access to

Water Park Creek

Banksia car park

Sandy Point via Sandy Point Road

Sandy Creek crossing

Sandy Point via Farnborough Beach

Five Rocks visitor area

Stockyard Point

Nine Mile Beach

Water Park Point headland.

Five Rocks Beach
Conditions to expect

Sealed roads.

Short gravel or dirt sections.

Unsealed gravel or dirt roads with corrugations and potholes.

Some one-lane sections with poor visibility sections.

Sand or dirt tracks.

One-lane track with limited visibility (use pullover bays for oncoming traffic).

Water crossings.

Sand tracks.

One-lane track with poor visibility (use pullover bays for oncoming traffic).

Frequent or extended steep and/or slippery sections.

Water crossings.

Sand tracks.

Extremely narrow track with poor visibility (limited pullover bays).

Frequent or extended very steep and/or slippery sections.

Water crossings.

Vehicle suitability Road bikes, 2WD, caravans, camper trailers. 2WD, camper trailers. High clearance recommended. Dual range 4WD, off-road camper trailers. High clearance with all terrain or road tyres. Dual range 4WD, off-road camper trailers. High clearance with all terrain or road tyres. High clearance vehicles with dual range 4WD and tyres suitable for the terrain. Not suitable for trailers.
Driver experience required Suitable for novice drivers. Unsealed-road experience.

Sand driving experience.

Suitable for novice 4WD drivers.

Sand driving experience.

Suitable for 4WD drivers.

Sand driving experience. Extensive 4WD experience and/or advanced training.
Recommended recovery equipment Tyre gauge and compressor. Tyre gauge and compressor. Recovery equipment. Tyre gauge and compressor. Winch and recovery equipment.

Remember

  • All Queensland road rules apply on beaches and in Byfield’s parks and forests—use the same precautions and courtesies you use when driving elsewhere.
  • Drive to your ability—driving in natural areas presents additional challenges and dangers.
  • The beach is a shared zone without lanes—watch for other vehicles and pedestrians, and park at right-angles to the wave zone so other drivers can see you have stopped.
  • Keep to designated tracks to protect the environment and ensure your safety. Designated tracks off the beach are marked with a vehicle access symbol at the entrance to the track.
  • Surveillance cameras may be operating in the area—see the legislation page for more information.

Boat access

Rockhampton Regional Council provides a formal boat ramp into Water Park Creek at the end of Corbetts Road. Boats may be landed on any of Byfield’s beaches providing it is safe to do so. Vehicle access to boat launching from Byfield’s beaches is only permitted in certain areas and depends on access conditions, which can change over night. If access conditions are suitable, boats may be launched from:

  • Nine Mile Beach and Farnborough Beach (north of Bangalee)
  • just north-west of Corio Bay car park (accessed from Nine Mile Beach) into Corio Bay
  • just north of Sandy Point car park into Fishing Creek.

Vehicles and boat trailers must be parked in designated car parks or on the beach out of traffic circulation to ensure safe and easy access for other users. Parking vehicles and trailers on dunes or vegetation is not permitted. Please follow any directions on-site.

Wheelchair accessibility

Toilets large enough for wheelchairs are provided in Five Rocks camping area in Byfield Regional Park, however assistance may be required as the area is sandy and toilets have a small step. There are no railings in the toilets.

Byfield National Park has no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Park features

Orange Bowl sand blow entrance. Photo: John McGrath, NPRSR.

Orange Bowl sand blow entrance. Photo: John McGrath, NPRSR.

Byfield National Park covers over 15,000ha. Massive parabolic sand dunes—the oldest reaching 5–6km inland—occupy most of the southern part of the park. In the north, the rugged pinnacles of The Peaks and Mount Atherton dominate the landscape. Byfield national and regional parks boast outstanding coastal scenery.

These parks conserve large areas of coastal heath growing on low-nutrient dune sands. Tall eucalypt woodlands flourish in sheltered areas and rainforests thrive where there is abundant water. The area also supports many migratory and resident birds.

  • Read more about wetlands in the broader Byfield area.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is permitted at three places: Five Rocks camping area in Byfield Regional Park, and Nine Mile Beach camping area and Scouts Camp at Water Park Point headland in Byfield National Park. Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Byfield camping permits can only be issued for a maximum of seven consecutive nights and are only valid for the number of people and the specific camp site you have booked.

Other accommodation

Byfield township offers a range of accommodation, including cabin-style lodging, and there is a wide range of accommodation available in Rockhampton and Yeppoon. For more information see the tourism information links below.

There are also camping areas with facilities in Byfield State Forest.

Things to do

Little Five Rocks Beach trail, Byfield Conservation Park. Photo: Jo Kurpershoek, NPRSR.

Little Five Rocks Beach trail, Byfield Conservation Park. Photo: Jo Kurpershoek, NPRSR.

Things to do

Whether you’re seeking an easy afternoon walk or something more challenging—it is essential you read things to know before you go and staying safe before undertaking any activity in Byfield National Park or Byfield Regional Park.

Walking

Improve your fitness while you enjoy the sights but ensure you match the walk to your fitness and mobility. Most of the walks listed below are suitable for beginners but require a moderate to good level of fitness. Undefined tracks require walkers to have suitable navigation skills and experience. The northern peaks have no marked tracks but are popular for longer treks. Contact us for important safety and walking advice if planning to visit remote areas.

From Banksia and Sandy Creek car parks

Banksia Robur Circuit (Grade: easy)
Distance:
2km return from Banksia car park.
Time: Allow about 1hr walking time

Details:
Visit the swamplands and marvel at the contrast of hardy banksia leaves against tiny-leaved wet heaths and swamp ferns.

Sandy Creek Circuit (Grade: easy)
Distance:
2km return
Time: Allow about 1hr walking time

Details: Take a short walk to experience a mosaic of microclimates and plant communities.

Creek to Coast (Grade: moderate to difficult)
Distance:
9km one way from Banksia car park
Time: Allow about 5hrs walking time

Details: Traverse the diverse cross section of Byfield’s coastal hinterland creek to coast (or vice versa).

From Five Rocks visitor area and Stockyard Point

Stockyard Point headland (Grade: easy)
Distance:
540m return from Stockyard Point
Time: Allow about 20mins walking time

Details: From the top lookout enjoy uninterrupted coastal views to the north and south. Take a short stroll further along the headland to enjoy a more sheltered lookout to the Keppel Islands group. Please remember the top lookout is an emergency air evacuation point, do not block the road with your vehicle.

Little Five Rocks Beach (Grade: moderate)
Distance:
1km return from Five Rocks visitor area (access also from Findlays Creek car park)
Time: Allow about 1hr walking time

Details:
Passing Findlays Creek wetland and shady pandanus stands, follow a picturesque stepped track to vehicle-free Little Five Rocks Beach.

Little Five Rocks headland and beyond (Grade: moderate)
Distance:
Undefined
Time: Allow 3–4hrs walking time return

Details: From Little Five Rocks Beach track, continue 900m north along the beach at low tide to explore the headland and then Five Rocks Beach beyond. Check tide times before leaving.

Creek to Coast (Grade: moderate to difficult)
Distance: 9km one way from Five Rocks camping area
Time: Allow about 5hrs walking time

Details: Traverse the diverse cross section of Byfield’s coastal hinterland coast to creek.

From Nine Mile Beach

Freshwater Creek (Grade: easy)
Distance:
500m return (track entrance 400m south of Nine Mile Beach Access Track/Junction 19)
Time: Allow about 30mins walking time

Details: Park at the mouth of Freshwater Creek and stroll 250m to picnic among shady she-oaks beside the creek—take a towel for a freshwater splash along the way.

Orange Bowl (Grade: moderate)
Distance:
1.45km return (track entrance 1.4km south of Nine Mile Beach Access Track/Junction 19)
Time: Allow about 1hr walking time

Details: Stroll just 250m on a well-formed track through shady foredunes to the base of Orange Bowl sand blow. Continue another 475m across exposed sand to enjoy panoramic views over Byfield’s coast and hinterland. Take a picnic to enjoy at any time of day but walk in the cool of the day.

Queen Mary (Grade: moderate)
Distance:
4km return (track entrance 9.9km south of Nine Mile Beach Access Track/Junction 19)
Time: Allow about 2hrs walking time

Details: Explore Queen Mary sand blow, Byfield’s largest active sand blow on the southern end of Nine Mile Beach. The track is marked from the beach to the base of the sand blow only.

Stockyard Point Access Track (Grade: moderate)
Distance:
2.15km return from northern end of Nine Mile beach (550m north of Nine Mile Beach Access Track/Junction 19)
Time: Allow about 1hr walking time

Details: From the northern end of Nine Mile Beach climb Stockyard Point headland and walk to the eastern-most lookout for uninterrupted views north and south along the coast and out to the Keppel Islands group.

Water Park Point headland (Grade: difficult)
Distance:
Undefined
Time: Allow about 4hrs walking time return

Details: Navigate around Water Park Point headland at low tide to enjoy secluded beaches and views of Corio Bay. Only attempt this walk if you are fit and have navigation and rock-scrambling experience. Sturdy footwear with good grip is required. Leave at least 2hrs before low tide to ensure you have enough time to return safely.

From Sandy Point section

Fishing Creek (Grade: easy)
Distance:
800m return
Time: Allow about 20mins walking time

Details:
Take a short walk to Fishing Creek at low tide through mangroves and salt flats. A small sign marks the start of the walk.

Picnic and day-use areas

Five Rocks day-use area in Byfield Regional Park offers shady tables for keen picnickers. Toilets and cold showers are just a short walk away in Five Rocks camping area. A walking track provides access to a vehicle-free beach.

Freshwater Creek, Orange Bowl and Corio Bay car park are ideal locations (without facilities) for a shady picnic stop along Nine Mile Beach in Byfield National Park.

Horse riding

Horse riding is not permitted in Byfield National Park or Byfield Conservation Park or adjacent beaches; however, at Sandy Point horseriding is permitted along Farnborough Beach up to 8.4km north of the Bangalee beach access. Horses are not permitted on the beach adjacent to Byfield National Park. See Byfield State Forest for nearby horse riding opportunities.

Water-based activities

Farnborough, Nine Mile, Little Five Rocks and Five Rocks beaches are popular surfing destinations, while Water Park Creek and Corio Bay are perfect for canoeing and kayaking—Corio Bay and the lower reaches of Water Park Creek are tidal. Findlays and Freshwater creeks on the coast offer a quick, freshwater dip. Creeks may be dry or stagnant after prolonged dry weather, so check conditions before you go.

Fishing and boating

Corio Bay and Byfield’s beaches are popular fishing destinations. All waters around Byfield are protected marine parks and zoned to balance recreation and commercial use with long-term conservation goals. Farnborough Beach and most of Nine Mile Beach are in a yellow conservation park zone, which allows certain activities and has some limits on line fishing. Corio Bay and the waters east of the yellow zone are, in general use, blue zones. Fish size and bag limits apply—contact the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol for details. Contact NPRSR, local bait and tackle shops, or www.gbrmpa.gov.au for a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning map with permitted activities.

Water Park Creek is accessible to motorised boats up to 6km downstream of the causeway; however, please remember that this waterway and Corio Bay are tidal.  See boat access for information on boat launch and landing sites.

Vehicle-based activities

Byfield provides beginner to advanced four-wheel driving and trail bike riding opportunities—read Getting there and getting around. Remember all motorised vehicles must be registered and drivers must be licensed. For safety and conservation, vehicles are only permitted on marked tracks.

Viewing wildlife

Anywhere in Byfield's parks will bring you closer to nature; however certain times of year will delight visitors with special displays.

April and August to September (depending on season): heathland wildflowers cloak the dunes in the hinterland of Byfield National Park beaches.

August to September: whales come close to the coast on their migration south.

September to March (peaking December to February): migratory shorebirds roost, feed and nest along the coast and in Corio Bay.

October to April: rainbow bee-eaters bring colour and movement to heathlands and headlands along the coast.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

  • A well-stocked first-aid kit suitable for remote and marine situations.
  • Sufficient drinking water as untreated water on-site is not suitable for consumption.
  • Insect repellant to guard against mosquitoes, sand flies, midges and ticks.
  • A portable fuel stove as fires are not permitted in Byfield national and conservation parks except under strict conditions—read take care with fire.
  • Animal-proof containers to secure food and waste.

Opening hours

Byfield’s parks and forests are open 24 hours a day although some areas may be temporarily closed due to flooding or potential fires. For your safety, walk in daylight hours only.

Please be aware

Shoalwater Bay Training Area lies to the north of Byfield National Park and includes the land above high water mark on the northern part of Five Rocks (Three Rivers) Beach. Access to this area is prohibited by the Australian Department of Defence. Camping is not permitted on Five Rocks Beach.

Permits and fees

Camping permits

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Other permits

Various activities conducted in Byfield's parks and forests may require a permit. These activities include commercial tours, social events such as weddings, organised group visits, school excursions, scientific research, and sale of photographs or vision of Byfield's parks and forests. Contact NPRSR for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Byfield Regional Park or Byfield National Park—including Sandy Point section and Water Park Point headland—or on beaches adjoining the parks.

Climate and weather

Byfield area has a unique subtropical climate and receives more rain than surrounding areas. It can be hot, humid and wet. The drier months of the year, from April to October, are the best times to visit. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available in Byfield or Yeppoon.

For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Sandy Point across Corio Bay. Photo: Matt Kayes, NPRSR.

Sandy Point across Corio Bay. Photo: Matt Kayes, NPRSR.

Some areas in Byfield are difficult to access and help can be far away. For a safe and enjoyable visit it is important you are self-sufficient and follow safety advice.

Be prepared for injuries and emergencies. 

  • In an emergency phone Triple Zero (000)
  • Consider taking a satellite phone as mobile reception is unreliable. Limited mobile reception may be available at Stockyard Point headland, on the beach at low tide.

Flooding and access

  • Do not attempt to cross flooded creeks. Heavy local rain, especially November to March, can cut access across creeks and roads. Visitors have been stranded at Water Park Creek for several days after heavy rain. Carry extra supplies in case you get stranded.

Swimming safety

  • Estuarine crocodiles inhabit the area. Take care particularly in and around Corio Bay and the lower reaches of Water Park Creek. See Be croc wise for further crocodile safety advice.
  • Byfield’s beaches have no lifesaving service and some areas have strong currents.
  • Marine stingers are prevalent November to May but may be present all year. Important safety warnings
  • Heavy local rain, especially November to March, can cut access across creeks. Carry extra supplies and do not attempt to cross flooded creeks.
  • Estuarine crocodiles inhabit the area. Take care particularly in and around Corio Bay and the lower reaches of Water Park and Stony creeks. See Be croc wise for further crocodile safety advice.
  • Byfield’s beaches have no lifesaving service and some areas have strong currents.
  • Marine stingers are prevalent November to May but may be present all year.

General safety guidelines

  • Never walk or swim alone. Tell family or friends where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Carry a first-aid kit and drinking water. A first-aid kit is essential at all times. Carry extra water in case you take longer than expected.
  • Wear protective clothing. Venomous bites and heat exhaustion are a danger on land and in the water. Wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen during the day. Good sturdy footwear is recommended to protect against stings and bites on land and in the water.
  • Watch out for wildlife. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and heed wildlife warning signs. Never put your hands and feet under rocks and logs. Native animals, especially dingoes, can become bold and aggressive if fed. Keep food and scraps stored securely in closed containers or your vehicle so they are not attracted to your camp. See living with wildlife for further advice.
  • Watch for vehicles. Be alert for vehicles at all times, especially on Farnborough and Nine Mile beaches.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Fire containers must have legs to keep the fire off the ground and sides must be fully enclosed. Photo: Kelly Smith, NPRSR.

Fire containers must have legs to keep the fire off the ground and sides must be fully enclosed. Photo: Kelly Smith, NPRSR.

Everything in Byfield’s national and regional parks is protected. Follow these guidelines to help protect the area's natural and cultural heritage for the future. Please encourage others to do the same.

Take care with fire

  • Use a portable gas or fuel stove. This reduces fire danger and elimnates the need for firewood.
  • Keep fires small, safe and in designated areas. Fires are only permitted at Nine Mile Beach camping areas. You must bring your own fire container and take it and all coals and ash home with you. Fire containers must have legs to keep the fire off the ground and sides must be fully enclosed.
  • Bring only clean, milled timber for firewood. Bush wood from outside the park is not permitted as it can bring disease and pests. Collecting wood and kindling from parks is also prohibited as it quickly destroys animal habitat and leaves sites bare.
  • Always extinguish a fire with water before going to bed or leaving the site to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Protect our waterways

  • Avoid contaminating water. Take water at least 50m away from creeks to wash yourself and your cooking utensils. Do not ue detergents, soaps or shampoos in waterways. Bury toilet waste at least 15cm deep and 50m from waterways.
  • Practice responsible fishing. Use lures or dead bait as live species may escape and establish a pest population. Comply with size and bag limits to help preserve fish stocks.

Practice low-impact camping

  • Use designated camping areas and existing camp sites. Altering or establishing new camp sites can cause long-term damage. Avoid tying things to or draping them over vegetation.
  • Keep camping areas hygienic. Use toilets where provided—please do not throw rubbish or chemical waste down them as they will stop working. Where no toilets are provided, bury only non-chemical waste and paper at least 15 cm deep. Alternatively, bring a portable camping toilet and dispose of toilet waste at home.
  • Leave no trace. Leave your camp site cleaner than you found it. Bag all rubbish and take it home for recycling or disposal.
  • Keep to designated tracks. Walking or driving off designated tracks damages vegetation that is slow to recover and may damage important cultural sites.
  • Keep wildlife wild. Avoid attracting scavengers, including dingoes, and keep all your food and scraps in animal-proof containers at all times.
  • Keep noise and light levels low. You will encounter more native animals during your stay and avoid disturbing other campers.

See caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Managing the Byfield area

Byfield’s parks and forests form part of the last remaining undeveloped areas on the Central Queensland coast. The area is managed with government agencies and local community groups to conserve the natural and cultural values of the area and protect life and property.

The Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing’s (NPRSR) Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is responsible for managing Byfield National Park, Byfield Regional Park and the native forest and visitor areas of Byfield State Forest, within the framework of the Byfield Area Management Plan (PDF, 1.9M)*. QPWS jointly manages Byfield State Forest with Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ) which is responsible for commercial forestry operations.

All coastal waters adjacent to the Byfield area, including Corio Bay, are protected marine parks and part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. NPRSR is responsible for managing the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and jointly manages the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

Tourism information links

Capricorn Coast Information Centre

www.capricornholidays.com.au

Ross Creek Roundabout, Scenic Highway, Yeppoon QLD 4703

Phone: (07) 4939 4888 or 1800 675 785
Fax: (07) 4939 1696
Email: yeppoon@capricorntourism.com.au

Capricorn Spire Information Centre

www.capricornholidays.com.au

Tropic of Capricorn Spire, Gladstone Road, Rockhampton QLD 4700

Phone: (07) 4927 2055 or 1800 676 701
Fax: (07) 4922 2605
Email: infocentre@capricorntourism.com.au

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see www.queenslandholidays.com.au

Further information

Contact us

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Last updated
10 July 2014