There’s a lot of good reasons to visit Woodgate Beach. Not only does it offer a stunning 16-kilometre sweep of soft white sand but it backs onto a national park, there’s walking tracks, boat ramps, two great river mouths for fishing, plenty of parklands and facilities for day visitors and you’ll almost certainly spot wild kangaroos chilling under the trees.
How to get to Woodgate Beach
Woodgate is located in the greater Bundaberg region. It’s a 40-minute drive south of Bundaberg city and around an hour north of Hervey Bay making it an easy drive from either. That’s well within what we consider a good day trip distance but there is so much to see and do in Woodgate that you might choose to stay for a while and there are a few good options for that too.
Things to do in Woodgate Beach
Woodgate beach might be a chilled-out beachside village but there is a lot to see and do here. We’ve been out here for the day many times and still plan on returning with the motorhome in a couple of months for a longer stay.
Walk the beach
There’s no difficulty getting your daily steps in here. The main Woodgate beach is a wide and gently curved sweep stretching 16 kilometres from the Theodolite river in the north to the Burrum River at the southern end.
It’s equally beautiful all the way along so entirely your preference if you head north or south. This is looking north, you can go around that point on the beach or through the bush at the tip to Theodolite Creek.
If you love the sand between your toes and wading in the shallows this is a perfect choice, occasionally you’ll spot a kangaroo in the tree line behind the beach. While the top of the beach is soft fine white sand it packs down as the tide goes out making for easier walking.
Relax and swim on Main Beach
With such an expansive sweep of sand, it’s too easy to find a good section to spread out for the day. There is a beachfront park all the way along from First Avenue to Banksia Park. There are tables and other facilities at intervals all the way along with the main concentration opposite Second Avenue.
We’ll usually park at the southern end in the Banksia Park car park. You can walk directly out onto the sand from here and behind in the park there are picnic tables and other facilities.
We only picked up this Cool Cabana sun shelter earlier this year but it’s been fantastic for extending our time on the sand.
Visit the locals favourite, Theodolite Creek
The first time we drove out here was late in the day and on a high tide, the midges were biting and we didn’t fully appreciate Theodolite Creeks incredible beauty.
We’ve been back many times since and it really is a stunning spot on the mouth of the river with sparkling turquoise water, soft white sand and a backdrop of bushland and birdsong. The sands swirl and settle creating a host of sand bars and tiny islands and you can walk around the head via the beach or through the bush to rugged solitude or continue further down onto the main Woodgate beach.
For the birders, you’ll find a good range of bush birds and migratory waders out on the sandbanks. It’s the perfect location for a kayak or stand-up paddleboards, and smaller boats can be launched from the beach ramp.
There are toilets, sheltered picnic tables and a large car park that offers options for RV’s during the day, there is no camping here.
Enjoy the Banksia Track and boardwalk
The Banksia track is another Burrum Coast National Park track and is 5.2 km return. There is parking for a couple of cars at the entrance, plenty more along the road but it’s never been busy. The trailhead is almost directly opposite the back of the NRMA Holiday Park, ideal if you are staying there.
The first section is paved through to the boardwalk and that runs for around 400 metres. It seems most people only come out to this point and return once they have their Instagram shot. From here it is a normal dirt track through the open forest of tea trees and palms.
In late winter and early spring, you’ll be able to enjoy the wildflower season and accompanying butterflies. There’s also a good diversity of birdlife.
It’s very quiet and easy walking on the grade 2 track. For more on track ratings for your fitness and equipment see our article on the Australian track grading system.
Stretch the legs on the Melaleuca and Bird Hide Track
The Burrum Coast National Park offers several walking tracks suited to different fitness levels. The Melaleuca Track is 12.3 kilometres long and begins at the Walkers Point day-use area.
There’s a picnic table at the start but for toilet facilities, you’ll need to continue 500 metres back along the road or beach to the boat ramp car park. There are toilets again at the Burrum Point beach camping area which is the turnaround point.
The track starts sealed but that continues only for around 500 metres before it reverts to a well-drained sandy dirt track. The early section runs through a variety of vegetation and if you keep watch out to the right you’ll see an active Osprey nest high in a tree out to the right (towards the water). This is the most active and diverse area for birdlife.
The walk progresses through mangroves and across the salt marshes with wildflowers and a variety of halophyte plants that thrive in alkaline, saline conditions. Around 2 kilometres in the path branches, right for the longer track through to the beach and left to the bird hide.
The bird hide is well constructed on the water’s edge set in amongst the mangroves. It was late morning when we visited and not a lot of bird activity but still worth detouring out to even if you are continuing on for the long walk, it’s far off the main trail and returns the same way.
The walk is open and exposed so it can be very hot in summer. Make sure you have good sun protection and plenty of water. Insect repellant and is also a good idea through here, even with it I picked up a few bites
If you are staying at the Burrum Point beach camping area you could do either of these walks in reverse, both are signposted from that end too.
Look out for the mobs of Kangaroos
We’ve not seen as many kangaroos around the village as we have in previous years when they were regularly spotted relaxing and grazing in peoples gardens, parks and even the beachfront.
There is still a good population in the adjacent Burrum National Park and you’ll still see them from time to time in open grassed blocks and the park but you need to look a bit harder.
The most likely time to see kangaroos is around dawn and dusk when they are out in the open grazing, during the day they are more likely to be stretched out under a tree somewhere.
Get out on the water
If you are planning to get out on the water in your boat or jetski there are three boat ramps to choose from in Woodgate. The first is at the northern end of The Esplanade, it’s a concrete ramp but is only suited for high tide access unless you are confident launching from the sand when the tide is out.
The most popular option is into the mouth of the Burrum River. Follow the Walkers Point Road around from the southern end of The Esplanade. Facilities here include the all tides ramp, toilets and a large car park.
There’s a third option which is the beach access at Theodolite Creek, it’s most suited to small boats and jet skis. This is directly off the sand with a launching pad of stabilizing panels set into the sand. It’s not suitable on all tides and depending on the weather and tide it can have a significant cross current impact here.
The Great Sandy Marine Park attracts many with an interest in marine wildlife. There are two significant features here that contribute to marine biodiversity in the area.
The first is the seagrass meadows that attract dugong and sea turtles. The other is the 1200-year-old ‘4-mile reef’ located around 5 kilometres offshore between Elliot Heads and Theodolite Creek. The reef supports significant hard and soft coral growth, reef sharks, sponges and fish communities. It is estimated to be around 1200 years old.
Many humpback whales also pass by here between July and October each year on their annual migration from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef for the breeding season.
Enjoy a spot of fishing
Woodgate is popular for fishing both from a boat and from the beach. The most popular and apparently successful spots are at the river mouth at either end of Woodgate.
Recreational fisherman in the area target species including bream, whiting, flathead, grunter, mangrove jack, estuary cod, tarpon, trevally, prawns and crabs.
Spot native and migratory birds
For those with an interest in wildlife, there’s a great range of birdlife to be seen in Woodgate Beach. The habitat provided by the national park, salt marshes, rivers, mangroves, beaches and lagoon makes for great diversity. Add to that its position along the migratory route for waders making their way down from the northern hemisphere winter including Japan, China and Siberia.
Give Stand up Paddleboarding or kayaking a try
The beaches here are often quite calm in the shelter of Fraser Island but Theodolite Creek between the sand islands would be our pick to give SUP and kayaking a go. While the currents do move through here as a tidal river mouth it is usually quite flat and incredibly pretty.
If you don’t have your own you can rent a kayak, SUP or bike from Woodgate Beach Toys on Third Avenue by the hour, day or multiple days.
For those with 4-wheel drives beach camping at the mouth of the Burrum River is popular. You will need a high clearance vehicle equipped for driving on the sand to get out here but at the time of writing no permit was required, you can check for current booking and access information on the Queensland Parks and Forest website.
There are around a dozen campsites suited to tents or off-road camper trailers. On-site facilities include toilets and cold showers.
First Avenue Lagoon and boardwalk
Another spot for a walk around the Woodgate salt marshes is over the boardwalk and follow the path alongside the lagoon.
It’s nestled in behind the residential area so not immediately obvious but offers another interesting ecosystem to explore.
Where to stay on Woodgate Beach
You won’t find major hotel chains or towering apartments shading the beach at Woodgate. What you will find is a variety of holiday homes for rent and the Woodgate Beach Caravan Park which offers the full range of tent and RV sites plus cabins and villas directly across from the beach. This one was very clean and well presented and the position is perfectly located between the beach on one side and the National Park behind.
Woodgate Beach is one of several favourite beachside spots in the area. If you are visiting or passing through you should find some other top spots and hidden gems in our Bundaberg guide and for the foodies, these great Bundy cafes are worth a visit.
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