Booderee National Park

We want you to have a memorable visit to Booderee National Park for all the right reasons. Before you arrive at Booderee National Park, please ensure that you are familiar with our safety messages as well as the emergency phone numbers. There are many safety hazards within the national park, and we remind visitors to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and those in your care.

Table of contents

General safety

Please adhere to these general safety messages when visiting the park:

  • Always follow park ranger’s directions – their directions are for your safety.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a broad brimmed hat, loose long-sleeved clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
  • Stay in the shade when possible – even when the sun is behind the clouds, there is still a risk of sunburn.
  • Carry drinking water with you at all times, particularly when you are walking.
  • Stay on marked tracks and in designated visitor areas – the park signage will help you to understand where it is safest to walk.
  • Carry a first aid kit with you and always take an adequate supply of water with you on walks.
  • Be aware of your own limitations.
  • Children must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
  • Be aware that spiders, snakes, and ticks inhabit the park.
  • Look out for animals crossing the road, including lizards, snakes, and kangaroos.
  • Do not approach, disturb, or feed wildlife.
  • Exercise extreme caution near cliffs, only walk on marked tracks.
  • Exercise extreme caution near rock platforms, only walk on marked tracks, watch what the waves are doing and never turn your back to the ocean.
  • It is prohibited to possess, use, or carry a spear gun, hand spear or firearm in Booderee National Park.

Boat Safety

Whether you have a kayak, personal watercraft, sailboat, or power boat, it’s important that you know and understand the rules that apply to your mode of transport, as well as have the right equipment to be responsible and safe on our waterways:

  • It’s important to tell someone where you’re going, how many people are on board, your vessel details and when you will return.
  • Check the marine and ocean weather forecast, tidal information and wave report before heading out to make sure it is safe to be on the water and that you have an enjoyable experience.
  • Adhere to the Boating Handbook and rules of your licence type.
  • Remember that boats must observe appropriate distances between other vessels and marine mammals.

Extreme Heat

Heat exhaustion, dehydration, and hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood) can be a danger in the summer months.

To avoid heat-related issues while walking in the park:

  • Walk only in the cooler parts of the day.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and sturdy walking shoes.
  • Carry and drink at least one litre of water per person per hour.
  • Do not consume sports drinks, diet cordials or caffeinated drinks – these do not hydrate you and can all actually contribute to dehydration.
  • Consider using an electrolyte product (such as Hydralyte or Gastrolyte) along with water to replace lost fluids.
  • Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of heatstroke and heat-related illness (see below).
  • Eat regular meals, take frequent breaks, and eat plenty of healthy snacks, even if you don’t feel hungry.
  • Walk with another person at all times
  • Obey all safety directions, notices and warning signs, including any directions from park rangers.
  • Stay on marked tracks at all times
  • Do not walk on any tracks that are closed due to the heat.
  • If you have any concerns about your health or fitness, avoid physical activity (including walking) in extreme heat.

Please familiarise yourself with the symptoms of heat stress, heatstroke and hyponatremia before walking in the national park.

Heat stress and heat stroke

Heat stress occurs when the body can’t cool itself fast enough to maintain a healthy temperature. Heatstroke is an extreme form of heat stress and can be life-threatening.

Potential symptoms are:

  • thirst, dry mouth, or dry lips
  • cold or clammy sweating
  • painful muscle spasms
  • headache
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • high body temperature (over 38.5°C)
  • altered mental state
  • confusion, disorientation, or rapid development of unconsciousness
  • dry skin
  • dry, swollen tongue
  • rapid, strong pulse at first, becoming weaker
  • fits, seizures or coma.


Hyponatremia is caused by an imbalance of sodium electrolytes in the body, which leads to an inability to regulate water.

Potential symptoms are:

  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • lethargy or irritability
  • absent or reduced reflexes
  • confusion
  • seizures.


Fire Danger and how to stay safe, at Booderee National Park

Bushfires have devastating consequences, killing native animals, destroying property, and taking lives.

A total fire ban will be declared in the park when a ban is in place for the Shoalhaven district, or at other times as determined by the park manager.

In the event of a total fire ban:

  • Fire signs in the park will indicate extreme fire danger and/or total fire ban.
  • All walking trails will be closed, with the exception of Murrays Beach, Cave Beach, Bristol Point, Green Patch, Cape St George Lighthouse access points and some walking trails in the botanic gardens.
  • No fires are allowed for any purpose.
  • Heat beads and any form of solid fuel may not be used.
  • During a total fire ban, gas barbecues, stoves and trangias can only be used:
    • in or within 5 m of provided fireplaces where there is an immediate and continuous supply of water (they may not be used on campsites)
    • under the direct control of an adult.

The electric barbecues at Green Patch Day Use and camping areas and Booderee Botanic Gardens can be used during a fire ban.

Reporting a fire

If you see a fire, report it by calling 000, Shoalhaven Fire Control on 02 4424 4424 or the Visitor Centre on 02 4443 0977.


If evacuation is necessary, please follow the directions of police or park staff. Campground evacuation points are at the nearest beach, unless directed otherwise.


As a national park, some restrictions on fishing apply in Booderee National Park.

  • Check for hazards and choose a safer place to fish.
  • Never fish by yourself – tell someone where you are.
  • Carry a mobile phone with you.
  • Never turn your back on the sea or ocean.
  • Always spend time watching the conditions before fishing, and scan for changing conditions. Observe first, fish later.
  • Note the location of and access to life buoys where they are present.
  • Learn how to swim.
  • Plan an escape route in case you’re washed in.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk if someone else is washed into the water.
  • If you’re in doubt, don’t go out.

Rock fishing

Rock fishing at Booderee National Park is extremely dangerous and fatalities have occurred due to this activity. Rock fishing at Booderee National Park is undertaken at your own risk.

If you choose to participate in rock fishing, in addition to the points above, adhering to the following may help save your life:

  • Wear a life vest.
  • Know the tide and weather.
  • If conditions worsen find a calmer, more sheltered spot — or go home.
  • Fish only in places that you know are safe.
  • Wear the right gear — shoes with non-slip soles or cleats.
  • Carry a rope and float with you.

Visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website for more tips on Fishing Safely.

Paddle board

Before entering the water with your paddle board be properly prepared. This includes checking the weather and tides, as a gentle on shore breeze can be deceptive as the wind becomes stronger the further out into the ocean you are.

If possible, go paddle boarding with a friend, it’s more fun and safer, otherwise make sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Ensure your phone is fully charged and stored in a waterproof pouch (which can be found in sports shops and on-line), so you can call 000 for help if need.

Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) especially if you are not a confident swimmer or a beginner paddle boarder. Not all life vests are bulky, and they will help afloat if you to remain afloat should you become separated from your board. To keep connected to your board, make sure to wear your quick release leg strap.


Shark in waters around Booderee National Park

Sharks are common off beaches in and around Booderee National Park, and a number of species can be dangerous.

There have been no recorded shark attacks in the region. However, there is a small risk of shark attack particularly between December and March, when shark numbers are at their highest.

Beaches in the park are not patrolled or netted. The aerial patrol flies over beaches from Stanwell Park to Batemans Bay on weekends and public holidays in summer, which includes Jervis Bay. If a shark is spotted by the aerial patrol, a siren will sound to alert swimmers. However, as the aerial patrol flies over a significant length of the coastline, personal vigilance when swimming is paramount.

Park rangers and police will alert swimmers if a dangerous shark has been reported near swimming beaches.

Here is what you can do to reduce the likelihood of a shark attack:

  • Do not go swimming or wading in the sea between dusk and dawn. Many shark and ray species are more likely to be active and feeding at that time.
  • Do not swim in murky waters or in estuaries like Sussex Inlet, dangerous bull sharks favour these types of waters.
  • Sharks feed on fish, seals, and seabirds – avoid swimming with seal colonies and large schools of bait fish, which are often indicated by activity on the surface and seabirds diving into the water.
  • Do not swim near wharves or boat ramps where people clean fish and discard carcasses, as sharks are attracted to blood.


A range of snake species inhabit the park, so you are encouraged to stay alert and keep an eye out for snakes while walking in Booderee National Park. Snakes can hear low frequency sounds like the thud of approaching footsteps and movement of a large object and will either move away or hide to avoid detection.

If you see a snake remember to not approach the snake. Stay at a safe distance - based on terrain this could be anything from 5-10 metres. However, if you are already within this space, calmly and slowly back away, keeping an eye on the snake and on where you are going. Try not to corner the snake, generally they will try to get away from you, rather than strike, so allow it space to escape. Carry a first aid kit and familiarise yourself with knowing how to treat a snake bite. If there is an emergency call Triple Zero (000).

We recommend:

  • Avoid walking through thickly vegetated areas, especially during spring.
  • Wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants and clothing which provides a contrast to the environment (normally darker clothes) so that snakes will be more likely to see you coming.
  • Step onto, rather than over fallen logs as there may be a snake on the other side.


Non-tropical marine stingers, such as the Bluebottle (physalia) or Hair Jelly (cyanea), may be found anywhere on the Australian coastline. Their stingers are not generally life-threatening but can cause distress and discomfort if you are stung by them.

If you are stung, or you are with someone who has been stung, the treatment will vary depending on the type of stinger involved.

The treatment for Bluebottle stings is as follows:

  • Keep the patient at rest and under constant observation.
  • If it’s a major sting to the face or neck, dial triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance (especially if there is swelling).
  • Do not allow rubbing of the sting area.
  • Pick off any remaining tentacles with fingers (a harmless prickling may be felt).
  • Rinse the sting area well with seawater to remove any invisible stinging cells.
  • Place the sting area in hot water (no hotter than the rescuer can comfortably tolerate). If the pain is unrelieved by the heat, or if hot water is not available, apply cold packs or wrapped ice.
  • Do not use vinegar or rub sand on the sting.

For other non-tropical minor jellyfish stings:

  • Keep the patient at rest and under constant observation.
  • Do not allow rubbing of the sting area.
  • Pick off any remaining tentacles with fingers (a harmless prickling may be felt).
  • Rinse the sting area well with seawater (not freshwater) to remove any invisible stinging cells.
  • Place the stung area in hot water (no hotter than the first aider can tolerate).
  • If local pain is unrelieved by these treatments, or generalised pain develops, or the sting area is large (half of a limb or more), or if the patient appears to be suffering an allergic reaction to the sting, seek urgent medical help dial triple zero (000) and get a surf lifesaver or lifeguard.

Water Safety

Whether you are swimming, snorkelling, diving, paddleboarding, canoeing or fishing at Booderee National Park, be safe. Take care of yourself and those around you, while also being aware of your environment. As the beaches are not patrolled in Booderee National Park, they do not have lifeguards, nor do they have flags to indicate where it is safest to enter the water. Swimming, snorkelling, diving, or fishing is undertaken at your own risk. Please read and remember the following messages to remain safe during your visit to Booderee.

  • Always read and follow park signs and information – safety directions are provided for your safety.
  • Keep children within arms’ reach at all times when in or around water.
  • Never swim, snorkel, dive or fish alone – always go with another person.
  • Only swim during daylight hours.
  • Be aware of ocean currents, check the water depth and know your limits in the water.
  • Ensure you have the correct equipment for the activity you are doing by completing the Safety Link Waterways & Safety Equipment checklist
  • Be alert to changes in the weather, as ocean and creek conditions can change rapidly and become dangerous; currents can shift; water levels can rise very quickly.
  • Maintain an awareness of marine stingers and do not touch or pick up marine animals.


Green Patch Picnic area, Booderee National Park

Many people enjoy watching wildlife and there are few things that match the thrill of encountering a wild animal in its natural habitat.

Visitors are advised not to feed wildlife for a number of reasons. While it might feel good at the time, feeding wildlife can have real and harmful knock-on effects.

Here’s why:

  • Human food isn’t good for animals. Human food is not nutritious enough for animals and may cause serious health problems and diseases.
  • Feeding wildlife makes them lose their natural fear of people. Feeding can make animals become too comfortable around people and once animals learn they can beg for food, they can become a nuisance—or even worse, a safety risk.
  • Feeding wildlife from or near vehicles is dangerous to the animals, people, and property as animals may be hit by a moving vehicle or might try to enter a vehicle in search of food.
  • Feeding wildlife can increase the spread of diseases, some of which may be transmitted to humans.