Broughton Island, Myall Lakes National Park: A Treasure of an Island
Located 14 kilometres north of Port Stephens and accessible only by boat, Broughton Island is a truly secluded paradise.
With golden beaches framed by rocky outcrops providing a sanctuary for wildlife, the island – which is part of Myall Lakes National Park – has a long history of settlement, documented from the 1800s with the fishermen who camped on its shores.
A small community was established on the island’s north side, while shacks were also built on the south-eastern shores at Esmerelda Beach. Eight privately-owned shacks are still standing, having been handed down through generations of families who continue to holiday at this unique location.
The island is also a key breeding ground for wedge-tailed shearwaters (also known as muttonbirds) and is frequented by scientists and rangers who come to study and protect the birds.
Popular with divers, fishermen and nature lovers, Broughton Island offers plenty of opportunities to explore. Scuba divers will love the Looking Glass dive, a narrow waterway that cuts through the island and is home to hundreds of fish, rays and grey nurse sharks; large groups of grey nurse sharks can also be viewed at the North Rock dive site.
Hikers will enjoy tackling the rocky terrain and climbing the hill to enjoy spectacular views. Broughton Island attracts plenty of wildlife, including whales, dolphins and even the odd penguin. Whale watching season is between May and November and penguins are best viewed at night.
Broughton Island is for intrepid campers. With only five campsites, built on platforms overlooking Little Poverty Beach (the next cove around from the huts), a maximum of 30 campers are allowed on the island at one time to minimise environmental damage.
Camping enthusiasts need to book ahead, and pack comprehensive supplies, as there are minimal facilities on the island and no shade. You need to bring all your own water and take out all your own garbage. Broughton Island is a strictly no pet and no smoking area.
Three transport services run from Nelson Bay. Moonshadow-TQC Cruises offer day-trips to the island, while Imagine Cruises conduct guided tours. Pre-arranged transfer services can also be booked with Let’s Go Adventures. Grey Nurse Charters operates from Soldiers Point, outside Nelson Bay. Private vessels need to register with Marine Rescue Port Stephens on marine radio prior to travel.
For more information visit http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/campgrounds/broughton-island-campground