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Killalea Regional Park: The 8 Best Things to Do In 2024

Killalea Regional Park: The 8 Best Things to Do In 2024

Killalea Regional Park (formerly Killalea State Park) is a spectacular coastal reserve located in Illawarra between Wollongong and Kiama. The area has outstanding natural beauty and exceptional surfing while the land and water are culturally important to the Aboriginal Dharawal and Yuin Peoples. It’s by no coincidence, that the reserve is often referred to as ”the jewel in the crown of the Illawarra”.

During our visit, Beck and I explored all of the best attractions and points of interest in the coastal reserve. In this visitor’s guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Killalea Regional Park. This will include details about the best things to do and places to see in the reserve.

Read about the best things to do in Kiama

About Killalea Regional Park

Killalea Regional Park (AKA Killalea Reserve) is one of the most underrated natural spaces in New South Wales. Featuring pristine beaches, a lagoon, an island, a kiosk and a campground, the 260 hectare reserve is a captivating place to explore. In particular, the reserve’s beaches – Killalea Beach (AKA The Farm) and Minnamurra Beach (AKA Mystics) are renowned for world-class surfing. Collectively, in 2009, the beaches were designated as a National Surfing Reserve.

More recently, in 2022, the reserve entered the management of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as a Regional Park, under the NPWS Act. This change in management was a significant event to help protect the area from development. Because of this, you can continue to enjoy the untouched natural environment synonymous with the Killalea Regional Park.

So, exactly where is the reserve located?

An aerial shot of a beach called Minnamurra Beach and a river called Minnamurra River, separated by bushland, in the Killalea Regional Park

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Where Is Killalea Regional Park?

The Killalea Regional Park is located near Shell Cove and Shellharbour in Illawarra on the South Coast of New South Wales. It’s around a 90 minute drive from Sydney.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Killalea Regional Park
Killalea Regional Park map

Top Things to Do at Killalea Regional Park

There are many great things to do and natural attractions to explore in Killalea Regional Park. As you may expect, surfing, swimming and fishing are some of the most popular popular activities at the reserve. But, there are also superb walking tracks, spots for wildlife observation and birdwatching opportunities.

The reserve also joins the Minnamurra River, which is an excellent spot for swimming, fishing, snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding. On top of that, the reserve has excellent camping facilities and even a cafe! So, there is much to do and see in the relatively compact reserve.

Beck and I visited all of the places mentioned below, so we can provide some insider tips about what to do and where to visit during a trip to the area. Let’s start with one of the reserve’s most popular attractions – Killalea Beach, which is known as The Farm by the locals.

1. Killalea Beach (The Farm)

Killalea Beach is a 600 metre long beach that has remarkable surfing conditions. Indeed, the beach is a famous surfing spot, with surfers up and down the coast, specifically heading there to experience the legendary surf breaks. Of course, you can enjoy swimming at the beach without a board in hand. But, the beach isn’t patrolled and is prone to rips. So, in reality, only strong swimmers should go for a dip there.

Otherwise, fishing at Killalea Beach is another popular thing to do. The western end of the beach has sloping rocks, which are good for a spot of rock fishing. Albeit, there are even better spots for fishing near the Killalea Regional Park – namely, at the Minnamurra River, which opens into Minnamurra Beach at the southern end.

Also, near The Farm Kiosk, there is a fantastic lookout and outdoor seating area overlooking Killalea Beach, which are great places for birdwatching, whale watching and having a picnic.

Read more: The Farm (Killalea Beach) – The Complete Visitor’s Guide

A track made of steps leads down to a beach called The Farm in the Killalea Regional Park
A sandy trail leads to a beach called Killalea Beach in the Killalea Regional Park.

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2. Minnamurra Beach (Mystics)

Minnamurra Beach, which is known as Mystics by the locals, is a stunning 1.5km long golden sand beach. It stretches from a rocky headland in the north to Minnamurra Headland (AKA Minnamurra Point) in the south. As mentioned, at the southern end of the beach, you’ll find the mouth of the Minnamurra River. At the southern end, you’ll also find a volcanic outcrop called Stack Island (AKA Rangoon Island), which is a natural spectacle. Certainly, the beach is part of a supremely natural setting with lots of coastal wonders to explore.

In terms of things to do, the usual coastal activities of surfing, swimming and fishing are the most popular ways to spend time at the beach. Admittedly though, the surf is usually better at Killalea Beach.

Additionally, this beach isn’t patrolled either. The northern end of the beach is prone to rips, while the mouth of the Minnamurra River at the southern end of the beach is also potentially hazardous given tidal flows and currents. So, again, only strong swimmers should go for a paddle at the beach. If you’re a strong swimmer, the best place to swim is at the southern end of the beach, but at a good distance from the mouth of Minnamurra River.

The southern end of the beach, near the mouth of the river, is also one of the best spots for fishing in the Killalea Regional Park.

Read more: Minnamurra Beach – 10 Best Things to Do During Your Visit

A beach called Minnamurra Beach is surrounded by bushland on a partly cloudy day.
An aerial shot of beach called Minnamurra Beach in the Killalea Regional Park is backed by bushland

3. Killalea Regional Park Walking Tracks

There are excellent walking tracks throughout Killalea Regional Park that link different attractions in the reserve. In particular, there is a little-known yet excellent unnamed coastal trail, that connects Killalea Beach and Minnamurra Beach. By doing this walk, you’ll get to explore more of the natural beauty of the Killalea Regional Park, than you would by simply driving between the beaches. For that reason alone, we highly recommend walking along this track.

Inevitably, by walking from one beach to another and back via this track, you’ll walk around 4–5km, depending on how much walking you do at the respective beaches. The walking track between Killalea Beach and Minnamurra Beach is easy to navigate and mostly flat.

A trail near an ocean leads through bushland
The track connecting Killalea and Minnamurra Beaches

Specifically, the walking track that leads from the Minnamurra Beach Car Park, down to Minnamurra Beach is known as the Mystics Walking Track. For a longer walk, you can follow the Mystics Walking Track and then continue along the beach for around 1.5km to reach the southern end of Minnamurra Beach, where the mouth of Minnamurra River is located. By doing so, and walking back, you’ll add another 3km of walking.

Otherwise, there is another bush track, branching from the beach, near the northern end, that leads to the river. To get an idea about this walk, we recommend looking at this AllTrails map.

Dan walks on a beach called Minnamurra Beach in the Killalea Regional Park
Continuing the Mystics Walking Track

Additionally, the walking track that leads from The Farm Kiosk, down to Killalea Beach is known as The Surfers Track, which forms part of a circular walk, known as the Federation Track. The Surfers Track is around a 250 metre boardwalk to the beach’s southern end. From there, you can simply retrace your steps or join the Federation Track to see Killalea Lagoon.

Dan on a wooden steps leading to a beach called The Farm, which is located in the Killalea Regional Park
The Surfers Track

4. Federation Track and Killalea Lagoon

The Federation Track is an approx. 4km circular track that circles Killalea Lagoon. Starting from the parking area at The Farm Kiosk, you’ll descend The Surfers Track, arriving at a flat grassy clearing adjacent to Killalea Beach. To continue The Federation Track, you’ll turn turn left instead of proceeding onto the beach. You’ll then encircle the immaculate lagoon, walking through pockets of dense vegetation and wild meadows. Eventually, you’ll arrive back at The Farm Kiosk!

If you’re keen on birdwatching, you’ll definitely want to do this walk. Along the way, you may see a Bulbul, Australasian Bittern, Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Black-Faced Cuckooshrike, Red-Browed Finch, Fairy Wren, Eastern Whipbird, Yellow Thornbill, Grey Fantail and an Eastern Spinebill. At the lagoon, you’ll also see an abundance of ducks and swans.

Feel free to use this AllTrails map to help you navigate the route.

Dan walks on a boardwalk trail leading down to a beach called The Farm in the Killalea Regional Park
The Surfers Track

5. Minnamurra River

Although the Minnamurra River doesn’t technically fall within the Killalea Regional Park, we thought it was worth mentioning, as the river does open into the southern end of Minnamurra Beach. So, it’s easy enough to explore and access the river from Minnamurra Beach. From the beach, you can easily swim in the calmer waters of the river. Although, as mentioned, care must still be taken as there can be strong tidal flows near the mouth of the river.

For sure, you can explore and experience the beautiful Minnamurra River from Minnamurra Beach in the Killalea Regional Park. The other option is to leave the reserve and explore the river from James Oates Reserve in the town of Minnamurra, where you can access the other side of the river near the beach. From there, it’s easier to kayak and paddleboard as you only have to walk your equipment a short distance to the river from the parking area at James Oates Reserve.

From James Oates Reserve, you can join the Kiama Coastal Walk, and head to the Minnamurra Lookout to enjoy great views of both Minnamurra Beach and Minnamurra River.

FYI – it’s possible to access the Minnamurra River from many other reserves along Charles Avenue in Minnamurra, such as the Rangoon Reserve.

Views of river called Minnamurra River opens onto a beach called Minnamurra Beach
James Oates Reserve

6. The Farm Kiosk

Fancy a little bit of luxury while exploring Killalea Regional Park? Then head to The Farm Kiosk for some food or drink! It’s a lovely cafe run by the local Aboriginal community, that overlooks Killalea Beach. The cafe serves up tasty coffee and delicious pastries, cakes and sandwiches. So, grab yourself a flat white and a pastry, and head out to one of the picnic tables to enjoy the views.

FYI – The Farm Kiosk opening hours are usually 8am to 2pm, Monday to Friday, and 7am to 2pm on the weekend.

A cafe called The Farm Kiosk in the Killalea Regional Park

7. Killalea Campground

If you want to maximise your time at the reserve, then you may want to stay a night or two at the Killalea Campground. Camping at Killalea Regional Park is a popular holiday spot for many families and groups of people wanting to enjoy a natural haven not far from Sydney or Wollongong.

Bear in mind, that the busiest time at the campground is during the summer school holidays. If you want a quieter camping experience, we recommend camping there outside of summer and avoiding the weekend.

Other than camping, it’s even possible to hire cabins (AKA the Bunkhouse) at Killalea Regional Park. To make a booking, either head to the NSW National Parks website or give them a call – 1300 072 757.

Read more: Killalea Campground – 23 Essential Things to Know

A motorhome and camping gear at at a campsite called Killalea Campground in Killalea Regional Park
A camp kitchen in a campground

8. Aboriginal Cultural Experiences

A unique way to experience the Killalea Regional Park is to partake in an Aboriginal cultural tour. As mentioned, the reserve is culturally significant to the Traditional Custodians of the land – the Aboriginal Dharawal and Yuin Peoples. By doing a cultural tour, you can learn more about the reserve’s landscape in the eyes of the Dharawal and Yuin Peoples. During a tour, you’ll hear stories and learn about the cultural practices of the Traditional Custodians.

For information about Aboriginal cultural tours, head to the NSW National Parks website.

What’s Near Killalea Regional Park

Other than exploring Killalea Regional Park itself, there are plenty of beautiful places along the coast to visit nearby. There are plenty of great walks and lookouts in Wollongong and loads of great things to do in Kiama.

If you want to explore more beaches near Killalea Regional Park, there are many spectacular beaches along the Kiama Coast. Just south of Minnamurra Beach, you’ll find Jones Beach, which is home to the impressive rock formations called the Cathedral Rocks. From there, it’s one glorious beach after another.

Below, we’ve listed some other excellent beaches worth exploring south of Killalea Regional Park, along the Kiama Coast to Gerringong and beyond to Gerroa.

Read more: 10 Epic Kiama Beaches (With Parking, Surfing & Patrol Details)

Beck sits on a bench looking at a beach called Werri Beach
Werri Beach

How to Get to Killalea Regional Park

There is no public transport that goes to Killalea Regional Park. With this in mind, the only way to get there is to drive. Additionally, for ease of access around the regional park and to explore further afield, you’ll want to have your own vehicle.

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Camping Near Killalea Regional Park

Undoubtedly, the Killalea Campground is a magnificent natural setting to camp. But, if you want to camp somewhere with more facilities and comfort, you might want to consider a nearby campsite in Kiama. There are many fantastic beachfront holiday parks in Kiama with caravan and camping sites, which give you access to a whole host of facilities and amenities.

Below, we’ve listed the best holiday parks along the Kiama Coast, near the Killalea Regional Park, where you can camp.

Camping in Kiama

A sheltered pool

Want a campsite with more facilities? Check out the awesome camping areas in these nearby holiday parks in Kiama.

Accommodation Near Killalea Regional Park

Other than camping in the Killalea Regional Park or in Kiama, there are loads of great accommodation options, such as holiday houses, apartments, hotels and motels in Kiama and Gerringong. We recommend searching on Booking.com to find accommodation to your liking. Otherwise, you can read our guides below, where we have summarised the best accommodation in these areas.

Killalea Regional Pak FAQs

Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Killalea Regional Park.

Dan walks on a beach

What Are the Killalea Regional Park Opening Hours?

There are no opening hours. You can visit at any time of day.

Is There A Killalea Regional Park Entry Fee?

No.

What Is the Difference Between a National Park and a Regional Park?

In the context of Killalea Regional Park, the main difference is the type of land and area being protected. A national park is often a large area of land protected because of its unspoilt landscape. Whereas, Killalea Regional Park is considered a Regional Park as it’s a land with smaller natural areas to protect that fall within a more modified landscape, surrounded by towns and infrastructure. There are some other nuances and differences, but this is one of the main reasons why the reserve is a Regional Park.

Is Killalea Regional Park Dog Friendly?

No, dogs aren’t allowed in the Killalea Regional Park.

Is Killalea Regional Park Wheelchair Accessible?

Unfortunately, Killalea Regional Park doesn’t feature wheelchair-friendly infrastructure. Click here for more information about wheelchair accessibility at the Killalea Campground.

Why Is Killalea Beach Called The Farm?

A private farm used to operate on the beach’s headland. In the early 1960s, some surfers discovered Kilallea Beach and its amazing surf. Back then, the only way to get to the beach was via the working farm. So, not long after, the beach became known as The Farm.

Please leave us a comment below.

We acknowledge and respect the First Nations people as the Traditional Custodians of the land/water that we visited and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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