A Hiking and Camping Adventure Along the Royal National Park’s Coast Track

Why Walk the Coast Track?

Just a touch south of Sydney, the Coast Track is not only one of the most convenient overnight hikes for Sydneysiders (and Sydney visitors), it’s also one of the most spectacular. The 26km walk can be tackled in one (very long) day, but to really appreciate the stunning coastal landscapes and isolated beaches, you’ll want to split the trek into two days, spending the night at a bush campsite overlooking pristine North Era Beach.

The hike is a relatively easy one – there are few short, steepish uphill climbs, but the majority of the trail is on flat, sturdy sandstone trails and raised boardwalks. The short coastal scrub provides precious little shade, however, so make sure you’ve got adequate sun protection.

You will need to be fully self-sufficient to do this walk, carrying your own food, drinking water, and camping supplies.

Getting There and Back

The best plan for tackling two days on the Coast Track is to take advantage of public transport.

From Sydney, catch a train to Cronulla, then hop on the ferry at Cronulla Wharf which departs every hour and takes 30 minutes to reach the delightful beachside town of Bundeena.

Officially, the Coast Track (assuming you’re travelling from north to south) starts at the end of Beachcomber Avenue in Bundeena, but you can add a scenic extension around Jibbon Head by following the Jibbon Loop Track at the western end of Jibbon Beach.

The trail ends just beyond Otford Lookout – from there it’s a short stroll to Otford Station for the train back to Cronulla.

Highlights of the Coast Track

Day 1 – Bundeena to North Era Campground (18km)

One of the first points of interest is Wedding Cake Rock, a layered stack of bright white rectangular rocks forming a lookout platform on a cliff ledge.

At around the 10km mark, you’ll reach Wattamolla. This picnic spot is usually buzzing with daytrippers in summer, drawn to the calm, safe swimming conditions in the lagoon beneath Wattamolla Falls.

4km from Wattamolla is Curracurrong Falls, one of the few waterfalls in the world that drops down a sheer vertical cliff face directly into the ocean. Next to the Falls is Eagle Rock, a lookout high above the mighty Tasman Sea that you can hike down to for stellar views of the falls.

North Era is the only official campground along the Coast Track. You’ll need to book in advance on the National Parks NSW website. North Era is a remote, bush camping site, with no facilities other than toilets.

Day 2 – North Era Campground to Otford (8km)

From the campground, the track winds its way through dense bushland before descending into the cool, damp shade of the tropical-feeling Palm Jungle.

Take a detour across Burning Palms Beach and you’ll reach one of the most well-known beauty spots in the park, the famously photogenic Figure Eight Pools. The pools lie on a spit of rock sticking out into the ocean and are safely accessible only at low tide. As the tide rises, waves wash over the pools, eventually submerging them.

The final stop is Otford Lookout, which provides sweeping panoramas over the park’s majestic coastal cliffs – a fitting end to a truly sensational, year-round adventure hike.

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