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Byfield National Park, Conservation Park and State Forest Capricorn

Photo credit: Naomi Scott © Queensland Government

Be inspired: 10 things you didn’t know about Byfield!

If the cruise scene is not your style and you’re not quite ready to hitch the caravan and swap stories with strangers over a cuppa, why not get lost in a wilderness so hidden, most Australians don’t even know it exists? Photo credit: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland

Things to do

    Camping and accommodation

    Image of Water Park Creek camp site.

    Water Park Creek camp site.

    Photo credit: Matt Kayes © Queensland Government

    Camping

    A variety of camping options are available in Byfield national and conservation parks: Five Rocks camping area in Byfield Conservation Park; and Nine Mile Beach camping areas (Myrtella, Melaleuca, Pandanus and Casuarina) and Scouts Camp at Water Park Point headland in Byfield National Park.

    Camping is permitted at three places in Byfield State Forest: Upper Stony, Red Rock and Water Park Creek camping areas.

    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  7 (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.

    Walking

    Whatever way you choose to experience Byfield’s parks and forest we suggest you slow down and take your time to really appreciate this stunning landscape. Remember, it is essential to follow the visiting Byfield safely guidelines before undertaking any activity.

    Image of Red Rock camping area.

    Red Rock camping area.

    Photo credit: Matt Kayes © Queensland Government

    Little Five Rocks Beach trail, Byfield Conservation Park.

    Photo credit: Jo Kurpershoek © Queensland Government

    Bowenia Circuit, Water Creek Park.

    Photo credit: Kim Walters © Queensland Government

    Byfield National Park and Conservation Park

    Most of the walks listed below are suitable for beginners though do require a moderate to good level of fitness—ensure you match walk to your fitness and mobility level. 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 2

    Distance: 2km return from Banksia car park
    Time: Allow about 1hr walking time
    Description: Visit the swamplands and marvel at the contrast of hardy banksia leaves against tiny-leaved wet heaths and swamp ferns.

    Creek to Coast walk

    Grade 5

    Distance: 12km one way
    Time: Allow about 5hr one way
    Description: Walk the complete cross-section creek to coast; foothills of weathered range, creek crossings, parabolic dunes and the meeting points between them. For an extended adventure, stay overnight at Five Rocks camping area and return on the same track to Banksia car park. Remember to book your campsite in advance.

    From Five Rocks visitor area and Stockyard Point

    Stockyard Point headland

    Grade 2

    Distance: 540m return from Stockyard Point
    Time: Allow about 20mins walking time
    Description: 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 4

    Distance: 1km return from Five Rocks visitor area (access also from Findlays Creek car park)
    Time: Allow about 1hr walking time
    Description: 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 4

    Distance: Undefined
    Time: Allow 3–4hrs walking time return
    Description: 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.

    From Nine Mile Beach

    Freshwater Creek

    Grade 2

    Distance: 500m return (track entrance 400m south of Nine Mile Beach Access Track/Junction 19)
    Time: Allow about 30mins walking time
    Description: 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 sand blow

    Grade 4

    Distance: 1.45km return (track entrance 1.4km south of Nine Mile Beach Access Track/Junction 19)
    Time: Allow about 1hr walking time
    Description: 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 sand blow

    Grade 4

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

    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
    Description: 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 5

    Distance: Undefined
    Time: Allow about 4hrs walking time return
    Description: 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 3

    Distance: 800m return
    Time: Allow about 20mins walking time
    Description: Take a short walk to Fishing Creek at low tide through mangroves and salt flats. A small sign marks the start of the walk.

    Byfield State Forest

    Tracks through Byfield State Forest provide walking opportunities—but remember these are shared tracks through commercial pine plantations.

    • All tracks in State forest areas, including the Venusta circuit departing from Upper Stony Creek day use area, may be closed at times due to routine forestry operations.
    • For your safety, please heed all safety and track closures signs and comply with HQPlantations Queensland responsible recreation conditions.

    Be aware of the give-way code that operates in State forests—motorised vehicles and cyclists give way horses and walkers, and walkers give way to horses.

    The coastal range has no marked tracks but is popular for longer hikes. Contact us for important safety and walking advice if planning to visit remote areas.

    At Upper Stony

    Venusta circuit

    Grade 2

    Distance: 900m return from Upper Stony day-use area
    Time: Allow about 20mins walking time
    Description: Stroll along the creek valley through pockets of Byfield grevillea, which flower in spring.

    At Water Park Creek

    Bowenia rainforest circuit

    Grade 2

    Distance: 1.2km return from Water Park Creek day-use area
    Time: Allow about 30mins walking time
    Description: Catch glimpses of Water Park Creek through small openings in tall turpentine forest and enjoy the cool rainforest that features the ancient fern-like cycad, Bowenia serrulata (Byfield fern).

    Enjoy your time exploring Byfield and remember to follow the Parks and forests walk with care guidelines.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Five Rocks day-use area in Byfield Conservation Park offers shady tables for keen picnickers. Toilets 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.

    All three camping areas in the State forest have adjoining day-use areas with picnic tables and toilets. Upper Stony and Water Park Creek have automatic barbecues, while Red Rock has wood barbecues—you must bring your own clean, milled timber for firewood.

    Bicycling

    Explore Byfield State Forest by bicycle, it is a perfect way to enjoy the area. The public access road between Byfield businesses, Water Park Creek, Upper Stony and Red Rock are suitable for cycling—however, be prepared for sections of gravel.

    Be aware of the give-way code that operates in State forests—motorised vehicles and cyclists give way horses and walkers, and walkers give way to horses. HQPlantations Queensland conduct harvesting operations in the State forest, ride with caution as logging trucks share the road.

    Most of the tracks in adjoining Byfield National and Conservation Parks are sandy and unsuitable for cycling.

    Remember to follow the Parks and forests cycle with care guidelines.

    Horse riding

    Horse riding is not permitted in Byfield National Park or Byfield Conservation Park or adjacent beaches. However, at Sandy Point horse riding 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.

    Horse riding is allowed on the public access road in this State forest. Horses are not permitted in the Upper Stony, Water Park Creek or Red Rock visitor areas.

    Be aware of the give-way code that operates in State forests—motorised vehicles and cyclists give way horses and walkers, and walkers give way to horses. HQPlantations Queensland conduct harvesting operations in the State forest, ride with caution as logging trucks share the road.

    Remember to horse ride with care to minimise your impact on these special natural areas.

    Water-based activities

    Farnborough, Nine Mile, Little Five Rocks and Five Rocks beaches are popular surfing destinations. Findlays and Freshwater creeks on the coast can offer a quick, freshwater rinse. Creeks may be dry or stagnant after prolonged dry weather, so check conditions before you go.

    A freshwater dip is available at Upper Stony, although Stony Creek may be dry or stagnant after prolonged dry weather. Be alert for bullrouts at all times. Remember, creeks can hide dangers such as submerged logs and rocks, and water depth is variable and unpredictable. Never dive or jump into creeks.

    Water Park Creek upstream of the causeway is perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Launching is possible from the western side of Water Park Creek, just north of the causeway and at council boat ramp.

    Warning: Estuarine crocodiles have been sighted in Corio Bay and the lower reaches of Water Park Creek. Be Crocwise. Stay back from the water’s edge.

    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 which apply to 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 the department, local bait and tackle shops, or Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 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.

    Remember to follow the Parks and forest boat and fish with care guidelines.

    Warning: Estuarine crocodiles have been sighted in Corio Bay and the lower reaches of Water Park Creek. Be Crocwise. Stay back from the water’s edge.

    Vehicle-based activities

    Byfield provides beginner to advanced four-wheel driving and trail bike riding opportunities—read Getting there and getting around.

    Four-wheel driving experience is recommended to drive safely in Byfield parks and forests with minimal impact. Remember all motorised vehicles must be registered and drivers must be licensed. For safety and conservation, vehicles are only permitted on marked tracks. Print off Driving on sand safety guide   (PDF, 2.3MB) to take with you when you visit.

    Remember to follow the Parks and forests four-wheel drive and trail-bike riding guidelines. And comply with HQPlantation Queensland responsible recreation conditions.

    Viewing wildlife

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

    February to March: an ancient cycad—the Byfield fern—fruits at Water Park Creek.

    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. In the State Forest the vulnerable and endemic Byfield grevillea sets small but beautiful flowers at Upper Stony.

    October to April: rainbow bee-eaters bring colour and movement to heathlands and headlands along the coast. Forest pigeons feed at Water Park Creek.