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Booderee National Park/Australia

Introducing Booderee National Park

Occupying Jervis Bay’s southeastern spit, sublime Booderee National Park offers good swimming, surfing and diving on both bay and ocean beaches. Much of it is heath land, with some forest, including small pockets of rainforest. Booderee means ‘plenty of fish’ and it’s easy to see what a bountiful place this must have been for the indigenous people. For personalised tours with an Aboriginal focus, talk to Wreck Bay identity Uncle Barry.

There’s a good visitor centre at the park entrance with walking-trail maps and information on camping. Inside the park is Booderee Botanic Gardens, which is a branch of the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra and includes some enormous rhododendrons as well as coastal plant species once used for food and medicine by local Indigenous groups.

There are many walking trails around the park. Keep an eye out for the 206 species of bird, 27 species of land mammal and 23 species of reptile. Amphibian enthusiasts can thrill to the 15 species of frog.

There are idyllic camping grounds at Green Patch and Bristol Point. For a more secluded experience try the basic camping at Caves Beach. Book through the visitor centre or via the internet up to three weeks in advance at peak times. If you haven’t booked, it’s worth dropping by, as no-shows are common. There’s a 24-hour self-registration system at the entrance to the park.

Surfing is good at Caves Beach, but the real drawcard is the Pipeline (aka Black Rock, Wreck Bay or Summercloud Bay), an A-grade reef break that produces 12ft tubes in optimal conditions.

The park is also home to the naval training base HMAS Creswell, which is off-limits to the public.