When Sophia and I first tried to do this walk many years ago it was overgrown, and on that day we discovered the nearby Forest Walk, which goes to Sublime Point. I saw on Facebook that a friend had done the Wodi Wodi Track recently though, so I thought we would give it a go. It’s a fairly short circuit walk through eucalypt forest and rainforest, with some steep climbing and walking on roads. If you take a side trip near Stanwell Park station there are viewpoints over the suburb of Stanwell Park and the coast. Track notes at the end.
Wodi Wodi Track: The Scenery
Not much in the way of track notes online, and although there were track notes in the older edition of A Day in the Bush, they took it out because the track was overgrown for a while. We started in the suburb of Stanwell Park near the beach and lagoon, and walked clockwise.
From the car we walked along the Lower Coast Road onto a narrow track and eventually Lawrence Hargrave Drive towards Coal Cliff station. Before you get to the station there is a signposted turnoff to the right which passes under the railway tracks through a tunnel, and then onto the Wodi Wodi Track. Along this track the aforementioned Forest Walk is a left turn and steep climb up the hill, and you can take this for a short while to get to a view point at the top. But the Wodi Wodi Track continues on, and eventually you must take a left turn off a fire trail to stay on this track. (If you accidentally continue straight you will start to realise that you’re descending back towards the coast prematurely, and so have missed the turn off).
The track starts to climb steeply up the escarpment, then levels out, and as you get near to Stanwell Park station there is a left turn which climbs steeply again up the escarpment to a junction. From the junction you can go left and keep to the left as a few other tracks branch off, and you eventually get to a vantage point with views over the coast. Going right takes you to Stanwell Tops, emerging at the back of a nice B&B, and Stanwell Tops Lookout is a short distance along the road to the right (the original lookout is unsafe, but there are nearby rocks which provide good views). Returning back down to the main track you take a left and are soon at the station. Walk back through Stanwell Park to wherever you parked your car, taking in the beach if you like.
It all sounds a bit confusing I’m sure, but I used my phone and Google maps to navigate the roads and work out that side trip. The Wodi Wodi track is marked, as is the side trip to Stanwell Tops, but the left turn at the fork to the vantage point is not marked at the time of writing – you’ll see it though.
If you’re interested in doing other walks in the Illawarra, or in the Royal National Park just to the north, then browse through the walks I’ve done in the area below. There are some real classics in the Royal National Park, especially along the coast.
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve is situated at the southern end of the Illawarra Escarpment, inland from Kiama. There’s a few easy to moderate walking options that we’d done in the past (based on the Griffiths Track loop), but the route depicted here is a longish (19km) walk along the Kangaroo Ridge Trail, which continues to the edge of the escarpment for views over the NSW South Coast. The area is notable for its bird life, and contains a combination of heath and forest vegetation. (more…)
The pleasant coastal town of Kiama, at the southern end of the Illawarra region south of Sydney, is best known for its blow hole. Swell direction dictates whether or not the blowhole does its thang, but you are guaranteed an excellent coastal experience on the underrated Kiama Coast Walk. This undulating track hugs the coastline on the edge of farmland, and the relative lack of vegetation makes for an open windswept feeling, with views of cliffs and boulder strewn beaches along the whole route. You can access rock platforms in a few places for closer views of the cliffs. The tracks ends at Werri Beach in the also very pleasant village of Gerringong. (more…)
Two short walks starting at roughly the same place in Macquarie Pass National Park, on the escarpment inland from Kiama on the NSW South Coast. Both walks are through rainforest or similar vegetation. Macquarie Rivulet is reasonably scenic, and there is a swimmable pool up stream. Cascade Falls are a small but scenic waterfall accessed on a track starting on the other side of the Illawarra Highway. The water features on these walks are nice enough, but the rainforest vegetation is probably the highlight. (more…)
I don’t think I’d ever visited Minnamurra Falls before, or if I did it was a very long time ago when I was young. I’d driven past a few times and perhaps missed it out because the walk is quite short, an easygoing 4 kms roughly. I’m glad I stopped by with family though, because it’s a very charming and picturesque walk. Although the falls are the main reason to visit this patch of remnant rainforest, I actually found the rainforest itself to be the highlight.
This walk from the pretty suburb of Austinmer to Coal Cliff first climbs steeply up the Illawarra Escarpment to Sublime Point, where there are excellent views down the coast towards Wollongong (although a bit hazy on the day we did it). There’s a restaurant/cafe here in case you’re already hungry and/or thirsty. You then take the Forest Walk north, with more coastal views along the way. There’s attractive forest scenery throughout, including rainforest and open forest. (more…)
Royal National Park
This walk is an alternative way to experience one of the more impressive stretches of the Royal National Park Coast Track. (The Wattamolla to Marley Beach Circuit is the other that I’ve done; lots more photos in that post). The walk starts inland in eucalypt forest, and then moves into heathland until it drops to the coast, where there are windswept bays and beaches, various interesting rock formations, and rugged coastal cliffs.
Bundeena to Marley Head is one of my favourite sections of the classic Royal National Park Coast Track, although choosing a favourite section is a bit like choosing a favourite child. It’s got what you want from a coast track: cliffs, beaches, heath, and interesting rock formations. You can keep going as far as you like, but the views from Marley Head are very satisfying, so we usually turn around there and head back. (more…)
I’ve done the Burning Palms Circuit multiple times, and it remains one of my favourite walks around Sydney. It starts at Otford on the edge of the Royal National Park, and you soon pass by steep coastal cliffs, descend into a palm jungle, pass through grassy plains, then arrive at the very picturesque Burning Palms Beach, backed by the beginnings of the Illawarra Escarpment. There were very choppy seas on the day I took these pictures (…and I’ve now put a few extra pics at the end from a different day just a month later). (more…)
The Curra Moors Circuit passes through heathland in the Royal National Park. There are views of Eagle Rock at the halfway point, and with just a little bit of exploring, views of two waterfalls that enter the sea. (more…)
There are a number of walking options in the Royal National Park that take in a section of the classic 30km Coast Track. One good option is to start at the Garrawarra Farm car park on top of the escarpment, walk east down Burgh Ridge towards the sea, then walk north as far as Garie North Head for excellent views back down the coast. And in the summer holidays Garie Beach is patrolled so you can safely have a swim before heading back. (more…)