Barrenjoey Head Aquatic Reserve


Barrenjoey Head is situated at the northernmost peninsula of Sydney's northern beaches at the junction of the Hawkesbury River and the ocean.

The aquatic reserve covers approximately 30 hectares including the rocky shore around Barrenjoey Head, extending from the northern end of Palm Beach around Barrenjoey Head to the northern end of Station Beach, and out to 100 m offshore.


  • conserve the biodiversity of fish and marine vegetation
  • protect fish habitat
  • facilitate scientific research.

This site was an Intertidal Protected Area from 1993 to 2002.


The reserve is focused on conserving marine biodiversity of the rocky shore fringing Barrenjoey Headland. The rocky shore has a diversity of habitats and associated marine life, including four of the five types of habitats described for NSW rocky shores (platform, crevice, rock-pool and boulder habitats)r

A mosaic of other habitats occur in and around the reserve, including subtidal rock walls and boulders, seagrass beds, reef systems and sandy seabed.

Rocky shore animals and seaweeds, long spined sea urchins and finfish species, such as hulafish and wrasses, are commonly seen in the reserve.

The Barrenjoey Head section of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park covers coastal land adjacent to the reserve and contributes to making this coastal area a place of great natural beauty.

What can I do in the Aquatic Reserve?

You can enjoy all sorts of marine activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving and fishing. You can line fish, spearfish and collect blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra rubra), rock lobster (eastern rock lobster Sagmariasus verreauxi and southern rock lobster Jasus edwardsii), sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) and bait weed (Enteromorpha intestinalis), subject to other NSW fishing rules and regulations.

In this reserve it is prohibited to collect cunjevoi or any marine invertebrates except abalone and rock lobster. For example you cannot collect anemones, barnacles, chitons, cockles, crabs, mussels, octopus, oysters, pipis, sea urchins, starfish, snails and worms, whether they are dead or alive. Empty shells cannot be collected in the reserve because they provide homes for living organisms. Marine vegetation cannot be collected except for sea lettuce and bait weed.

Please report illegal or suspect fishing activities to your nearest Fisheries Office or use the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.

Explore the Aquatic Reserve

Western side of Barrenjeoy Headland, a meeting point for the Hawkesbury River, Pittwater and the Tasman Sea. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Barrenjoey Head

Stunning views of Palm Beach from the top of Barrenjoey Head. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Barrenjoey Head

Looking out towards Lion Island and Broken Bay. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Barrenjoey Head

Crimsonband wrasse (Notolabrus gymnogenis) are commonly seen at Barrenjoey Head Aquatic Reserve. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Getting there

You can get to Barrenjoey Head Aquatic Reserve from either Palm Beach or Station Beach. Spectacular views of the reserve can be seen from the top of Barrenjoey Headland within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The reserve is around 26 km north of the Sydney CBD, with the closest road access via Barrenjoey Road.

Further information

Please contact us at