December 5, 2017
Curracurrong Falls, or Eagle Rock in Royal National Park, is one of those rare waterfalls that sometimes looks like it’s flowing upwards. It can happen when the wind is strong enough to blow the water droplets back up before seemingly disappearing as mist. The churning ocean below shows the day’s wild weather. The waterfall is impressive after sustained rainfall and an extra special sight in windy conditions.
That’s Eagle Rock in the top right of the picture. Can you pick out the shape of the eagle’s beak? It’s the iconic imagery on signs for Royal National Park.
Such a large overhang is a rare sight. The heavy Hawkesbury Sandstone usually needs supportive rock underneath or adjoining blocks to lock it in place. But Eagle Rock is unsupported so it’s a ticking time bomb before – boom – gravity takes its toll and it smashes into the water below. The tricky thing about the natural world is that it doesn’t tell you exactly when it’s going to drop a rock the size of a double-decker bus… like this one at Sydney’s North Head. So yeah, not a great idea to go off track and sit on it.
This vantage point of Eagle Rock from the cliffs at Curracurrong Creek is about an hour’s walk south of Wattamolla on the Coast Track in Royal National Park.
Directions to Eagle Rock, Sydney
There are three ways to get to Eagle Rock in Royal National Park. They’re much of a muchness in terms of time and distance: all about a two hour return walk.
You can walk via:
* Curra Moors Track
* Garie Beach
Our favourite track to walk to Eagle Rock is via Wattamolla – it’s the most scenic and follows the Coast Track for extraordinary coastal views. Curra Moors Track is a fairly uninspiring fire trail, but the birdlife and wildflowers are exceptional. And finally walking to Eagle Rock via Garie Beach, while the most challenging route, offers the tempting summertime reward of a swim at the start or end of the loop walk. So it’s up to you…
This walk starts from the top car park at Wattamolla (the car park furthest away from the lagoon area). Wattamolla is in Royal National Park, accessed via Sir Bertram Stevens Drive, then Wattamolla Road. The car park can become very crowded on sunny summer days or public holidays, and is completely closed by authorities once full (check whether Wattamolla is open).
There is no regular public transport to Wattamolla but you could try your luck with a private shuttle bus on Thursdays – Sundays. Check the bus schedule before you go.
From Wattamolla’s top car park, the trail is sign-posted “The Coast Track”. Walk south, passing the first inlet called Curracurrang. Continue up and over the next headland. The track on the northern side (heading up the hill) is metal grates, so may be slippery in the morning from dew or after rainfall.
There has been no track work on the southern side of the headland (heading back down the other side) and it’s horrendously eroded. Watch your footing.
Looking south, enjoy the views of Wollongong and surrounds in the distance. If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of a second waterfall at Curra Brook that appears only after rain.
Cross Curracurrong Creek. There are no permanent stepping stones. Your feet will probably stay dry but the crossing will be more challenging after heavy rainfall: wet feet, yes, but we’re not talking waist height water with ropes required or anything like that.
Follow the track around to where it meets the fire trail. Then turn to look back north for a great view of Eagle Rock.
Image: Curracurrong Inlet
To enjoy an even better vantage point, head underneath the rock overhang that you’re now standing on. Follow a little path between the shrubs down towards the creek (don’t go anywhere near the rocky edge).
You’ll find a cool shelter from sunny weather with a view from the top of Curracurrong waterfall, to it crashing into the ocean down below. It’s a refreshing spot to stop for lunch when it’s warm, but can get a bit damp on windy days with spray from the waterfall.
The only way back is to re-trace your steps. The ‘there and back’ walk to Eagle Rock will take you about an hour each way from Wattamolla, so allow about two and half hours including breaks.