The Coast Track, Royal National Park, Sydney

One of Sydney’s classic bushwalks, the 27-30km Coast Track is a smorgasboard of coastal scenery, including plenty of sandy beaches, cliffs, weathered rocks, prominent headlands, lagoons, and heathland.

The Coast Track, Royal National Park

The Royal National Park Coast Track is a classic 26-29km walk along the full length of the park’s coastline, just south of Sydney. There are unspoilt sandy beaches galore, shear cliffs, prominent headlands, interesting rocks, heathland, lagoons, pockets of forest, and even a palm jungle. There are a bunch of shorter day walks that take in sections of this walk, but only the full walk allows you to properly overdose on quintessential NSW coastal scenery.

Track Notes

The Coast Track runs from the sleepy and cut-off suburb of Bundeena in Sydney’s south, to Otford in Wollongong’s north. If you take public transport then it’s about 29km from the ferry wharf* at Bundeena to Otford train station, but shorter (about 26-27km) from the RNP entrance on Beachcomber Ave to Otford Lookout, which can be done with two cars or by getting a lift. You won’t need track notes because its well signposted nowadays and the track is pretty obvious, but here’s a link to a short description on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website. It’s generally recommended to be done as a two day walk, but if you can sort out transport then I think it’s a very manageable if rather long day walk. Might take a fit walker about 7 hours. (*The ferry leaves from Cronulla in Sydney’s south-east).

The Coast Track, Royal National Park
A National Parks sign bearing the Lyre Bird symbol, on a sign with an arrow pointing at an actual Lyre Bird. Neat.

The Scenery

Photos from two occasions, displayed in order within each occasion. I’ve taken heaps of photos of this coastline over the years, but I’ll include just a few highlights here.

27th July 2017

The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Some wave action.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Marley Head and Marley Beach.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
One of my favourite cliff shots I’ve taken a few times when passing by this section.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Various interesting rock textures on this walk.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
This spot isn’t accessed by the more popular shorter day walks.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Looking north over heathland, with what I think is water spray creating a mist.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Eagle Rock. I always feel obligated to take a picture of this.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
That’s a Gymea Lily in the foreground centre (no flower).
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Lunch on North Garie Head.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
View of Garie Beach from North Garie Head.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Not often I get a shot of a Gymea Lily from on top, because they are so tall, but this was growing below a rock ledge.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Era Beach
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Oh deer. Not native to Australia and no doubt competing with native animals like wallabies, deer are considered a pest and hunters are sent to shoot them from time to time. Not working that well it seems.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Looking south towards the end of the walk. The sun was going down in the west, creating a gloomy shadow over the coast.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Sophia in the palm jungle, posing in a position that I recently photographed her in when doing the Burning Palms portion of this walk. I obviously have limited creativity.

20th November 2016

A few more photos, these from our first time doing the full Coast Track (and taken with my old phone). We’d not done it in the past because we had only one car and couldn’t be bothered taking public transport, which adds time not just to the walking, but the travelling also.

The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Near the start.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Wedding cake rock is about to divorce itself from the cliff line.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Blue bottles washed up on the shore.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Big seas all day.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
No filter used, just very colourful rocks.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
An unusual gorge down to the sea.
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Looking towards North Garie Head
The Coast Track, Royal National Park
Garie Beach and Little Garie Beach.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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