Important COVID-19 update – Visitor restrictions apply
Travellers need to keep up-to-date with where they can travel and which areas have been declared COVID-19 hotspots, as the COVID-19 situation in Australia is continually evolving.
The Jervis Bay Territory including Booderee National Park is subject to the Public Health Directions currently in place for the Australian Capital Territory. Please consult this list before travelling to Booderee National Park.
We want you to have a memorable holiday for all the right reasons – before you arrive at Booderee, please ensure that you are familiar with our safety tips as well as emergency phone numbers.
Table of contents
- Safety tips
- Water safety in Booderee National Park
- Extreme heat
- Taking care of the wildlife
Please follow these safety recommendations when using the park:
- Always follow directions from park rangers – their directions are for your safety
- Protect yourself from the sun with a broad brimmed hat, loose 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 – our signage will help you to understand where is safe for you to walk
- Carry a first aid kit with you and always take an adequate supply of water 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 are around
- Exercise extreme caution near cliffs
- When on rock platforms, watch what the waves are doing and never turn your back to the ocean
- Spear guns, hand spears and firearms are prohibited
- Look out for animals crossing the road, including lizards, snakes and kangaroos
- Do not approach, disturb or feed wildlife
We need to all keep making COVIDSafe choices to help stop the spread. Here are things you can do to be COVIDSafe when visiting Booderee National Park.
- Practice social distancing – this means keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people and not shaking hands.
- Coughing and/or sneezing into your bent elbow or a tissue, rather than hands, and disposing of the tissue immediately
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser for 20 to 30 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Protect others and stay at home if you’re unwell
- If you’re experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms get tested for COVID-19
- Have the COVIDSafe app
Water safety in Booderee National Park
Whether you’re swimming, snorkelling or fishing, be safe and take care of yourself and be aware of the environment around you. Our beaches are not patrolled by lifeguards and do not have swimming flags. Please heed the following warnings in order to enjoy a safe visit to Booderee.
- Always read and follow park signs and information – safety directions are provided for your safety
- Always supervise children in and around water
- Never swim, snorkel or dive 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
- Never turn your back on the ocean
- Be alert to changes in the weather as ocean and creek conditions can rapidly change and become dangerous; currents can change, water levels can rise
- Be aware of marine stingers and avoid touching or picking up marine animals
- Wear a life vest while fishing from rocks and be alert to changes in the swell and the resulting waves
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, particularly between December and March when shark numbers are highest.
Beaches in the park are not patrolled or netted. The Aerial Patrol flies over beaches from Stanwell Park to Batemans Bay, which includes Jervis Bay on weekends and public holidays in summer. The light aircraft will alert swimmers of sharks by sounding a siren.
Park rangers and police will alert swimmers if dangerous sharks have been reported near swimming beaches.
Here is what you can do to reduce the likelihood of a shark attack:
- Don’t 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
- Always swim with other people
- Don’t 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 seal colonies and large schools of bait fish, which are often indicated by activity on the surface and seabirds diving into the water
- Don’t swim near wharves and boat ramps where people clean fish and discard carcasses, as sharks are attracted to blood
As a national park, some restrictions on fishing apply in Booderee National Park which can be found here.
Rock fishing is extremely dangerous and has caused fatalities in Booderee National Park waters. No matter what your skill level or experience we implore visitors to always wear a life jacket whilst rock fishing.
Here are some things you can do to stay safe when fishing:
- Always wear a life jacket
- Never fish alone; always tell people your plans and when you plan to return
- Always wear appropriate footwear with non-slip soles or cleats
- Carefully assess and monitor weather and tide conditions
- Never turn your back on the ocean
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
- Don’t consume sports drinks, diet cordials or caffeinated drinks – these can all contribute to dehydration
- Consider using an electrolyte product (such as Hydralyte or Gastrolyte) 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
Recognising heat-related illness
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
- 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:
- nausea or vomiting
- lethargy or irritability
- absent or reduced reflexes
Wildfires have devastating consequences, killing native animals, destroying property and taking lives.
Total fire bans 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 except for 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 evacuation is necessary, please follow the directions of police or park staff. Campground evacuation points are the nearest beach unless directed otherwise.
Taking care of the wildlife
Please do not feed the animals
Feeding animals has damaging consequences for the area’s ecosystem.
Feeding attracts crimson rosellas, currawongs and ravens, black feral rats, diseased animals and other creatures that compete with local wildlife. As a result many animals are forced out of nesting hollows, disease is spread and young animals may be preyed on.
Feeding also makes animals aggressive and a nuisance around campsites. In winter, animals can starve because they have lost the ability to find their own food. It can also make them sick.