Surely one of the best walks in NSW, summiting The Castle (847m) in Morton National Park provides spectacular views of the surrounding cliffs and plateaus in the Budawang Range. It’s only for fit walkers, and those willing to do a fair bit of scrambling, and also those with a reasonable head for heights.
These pics are from our second time up The Castle (847m), one of NSW’s most challenging and spectacular day walks, situated in Morton National Park on the South Coast of NSW near Ulladulla. The views are probably the best I’ve seen in NSW, and with just enough exposure near the top to get the adrenaline flowing, it makes a memorable walk for any fit bushwalker.
You don’t walk all that far (11 or 12 kms) but the terrain slows you down in some sections, and there’s a decent change in elevation of about 800m. Starting in rainforest, you’ll soon ascend into dryer forest, then skirt the western edge of the Castle’s lower walls with views of Mt Nibelung and Mt Owen. It’s then up through cliffs with progressively more expansive views of the Budawangs, until you reach the summit plateau. Make sure you walk to the southern end for the best views of Byangee Walls. There’s a box for a log book there, but I think the better views are a few minutes to the left (east) of this.
The drive from Ulladulla or Milton takes a bit over an hour on mostly dirt roads, (or faster if you have AWD and some clearance).
You’ll need good track notes for this walk as it’s easy to get lost and waste time if you’ve not done it before. There are decent notes in two books we own – Take a Walk in Southern NSW & the ACT and Best Bush, Coast and Village Walks of The Shoalhaven, but I think we used notes from the Bushwalking NSW website when we did it the first time. It helps to go with someone who’s done the walk before. We did it 90 minutes quicker the second time around, partially due to increased confidence with route finding. I’d allocate at least 10 hours for the return walk if it’s your first time.
The Castle Track: The Scenery
This video is from our first time up the Castle, when the wind was blowing a gale! Sophia almost gets blown off her feet at one point.
If you are interested in other walks on the NSW South Coast then have a browse through some that I’ve done below. Many have been in the Budawangs and a few along the nearby coastline. The walk into Monolith Valley from the same start as the Castle is another absolute classic that I highly recommend (and there’s no scary exposure on this walk).
Climbing through Byangee Walls to the summit plateau of Byangee Mountain in the Budawangs makes for an excellent day walk, and is a bit easier than the nearby ascent of the Castle, which looms overhead for part of the walk. Lots of cliffs along the route and great views from the top.