Whatever you are looking for in a bush walk, the coast track provides. Every hill opens a window to another astounding view and every corner unlocks the door to a track that, despite its popularity, makes you feel like you are the first person to ever walk it.
Stretching for 30km along Royal National Park’s ocean shore, this coastal walk is spellbinding.
Enjoy the whole walk as a two-day ‘thru-hike’, a challenging day trek or break it down into smaller sections to walk at your leisure. Whatever your level of experience The Royal National Park Coastal Walk has some breathtaking scenery to share. Get out and enjoy it!
30km (19 miles)
Two days, comfortable pace. Experienced hikers can walk it in one day. There are numerous vehicle access points to walk it over several days doing comfortable day walks. (Choose whether one or two days is right for you.)
Fair, severely eroded in parts. Reasonably well marked track. No track marked along beaches.
Class 4 Track (Although beaches are un-tracked and technically 5+).
Mountains to climb?
Several steep climbs between 50m and 200m.
Mobile (cell phone) reception?
Occasional. At headlands and high-points only.
Yes. Train access to Otford, ferry access to Bundeena.
Yes, Bundeena only; try Cafe Manna. Garie Surf Club has pies, cold drinks and lollies in the summer months, weekends only.
Whichever way you walk the Royal National Park coastal walk, you’ll be treated to spellbinding views and countless photo opportunities. Remember to stop, turn around and enjoy a different perspective on this unique stretch of coastline.
We prefer this as a two-day walk, starting from Bundeena, but if you’re doing it one day, then Otford may be better.
The official coastal campground is at North Era, 8km from Otford and 22km from Bundeena (Bookings essential). Either way you will have one longer, and one shorter day.
North to south, Bundeena to Otford, is probably more difficult because you end with the 200m ascent through the Palm Jungle but the views are more dramatic and revealing. It’s also nice to be in the rainforest canopy on a hot afternoon.
South to north, Otford to Bundeena, you start downhill through the Palm Jungle and finish with the relatively flat exit to Bundeena. The last section over the sandstone to Bundeena can be very hot on a summer afternoon.
If you’re hiking the Royal Coast Track over two days, there is only one place to stay:
North Era campground. It’s as close to the beach you can get without being washed away overnight. It’s a prime location but also very basic: no vehicle access, no water source and long-drop toilets that are often at the mercy of other less-considerate campers. And if you’re camping, this’ll come in handy: our hiking checklist.
But where should you stay the night before or after the hike? Or what if you’re only walking a section of the Coast Track as a day hike (like Wedding Cake Rock)? There are so many options that we’ve gone into detail to answer everything about accommodation near Royal National Park. Everything. Whether you want a hotel or campsite, whether you have a car or relying on public transport, and whether you’re with a big group or want a quiet weekend retreat, check out all the hotels (and more) near Royal.
Royal National Park is blessed with Sydney’s most pristine beaches. The coastal walk traverses seven of them with short detours to several others. If beaches are your thing you need to leave your footprints on some of these. You’ll always find the usual seashore fare of huge cuttlefish bones, colourful shells and lots of seaweed. In season you may also find shark eggs, exhausted shearwaters (muttonbirds) and possibly NZ pumice washed up on the beach. If you’re really lucky you might find something valuable or a message in a bottle.
An ocean swim is a highlight of our coastal walks, however if the surf is too rough we’re happy just to wash our faces in the shallows.
You’ll walk through habitats as diverse as hardy sandstone heath to lush littoral rainforest. Banksia, grass trees and westringia abound in the north and cabbage tree palms and figs in the south. In between, well, you find everything in between. Wildflowers give a superb colour display in winter along the track north of Garie Beach.
Wattlebirds, honeyeaters and whip birds welcome you all year round and Wedge-tailed and White-Bellied Eagles are also a common sight on the coast track. Echidna and swamp wallaby are the most seen native mammals but don’t be surprised when you see a big Rusa Deer on the track at dusk. Whale watching is an added bonus between May and November.
Background image: Marc Anderson Photography
“Sensational with spectacular views. We watched whales with their calves whilst enjoying a fresh, healthy lunch in the shade of an overhanging sandstone ledge – truly an experience to tick off the bucket list.”
“Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable, and took his time to identify the birds, the flora, the trees, and tie them to Australian history or Aboriginal culture. Sydney Coast Walks are serious about their craft but make the tour light and fun. I can’t recommend this enough!”
“This is a great way to spend a day outdoors, with amazing scenery and a guide who knows what he’s talking about and really cares for the area and its heritage as well as his walkers. If you have only one day to spend outdoors in Sydney, skip the Blue Mountains and do a Sydney coast walk.”
The Coast Track Map
Easy-to-read PDF map
All the stories and track notes – at your leisure!
Full day guided walk
An exclusive guided Coast Track experience.