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The bleached stark white of Wedding Cake Rock is a rare natural phenomena found in Royal National Park. Discover it for yourself on a two hour round trip hike on the Wedding Cake Rock trail.

So where is Wedding Cake Rock and how do you get there? And why is it so white?

What Is Wedding Cake Rock Sydney?

Sydney’s foundations are sandstone. It’s everywhere. Under our feet, along the coast and in all the old buildings. It’s full of distinctive rusty-coloured tones and patterns.

Wedding Cake Rock is sandstone too, but what makes it unique is a complete lack of iron particles in the sand that makes up the rock. No iron means no rust (literally) and no colour. Just white.

This is typical Hawkesbury Sandstone you find throughout Sydney and Royal National Park. Look at those beautiful orange colours – that’s rust!

Typical Hawkesbury Sandstone, the type of rock that the uniquely white Wedding Cake Rock consists of. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

And this is Wedding Cake Rock. Beautiful in it’s white-ness.

Wedding Cake Rock walk

Wedding Cake Rock. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

How to Get to Wedding Cake Rock

Wedding Cake Rock is just north of Marley Beach in Royal National Park, Sydney.

The nearest access is via a 3km (1.8 mile) walk along the Coast Track from Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock. (It is Stop 3 on the Royal National Park Coastal Walk Map).

The one hour walk to get there is challenging in parts but extraordinary views make up for it.

Sandstone cliffs in Royal National Park, seen on the hike from Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have fenced off the actual rock so you can’t walk (or sit, or star jump, or do a spot of yoga) on top of it.

All those #weddingcakerock people perched precariously near the edge have jumped the fence. They don’t remember, like we do, that a 23 year old died here while taking a selfie, and two more have had to be rescued. Seriously guys… now they’re going to build a bigger fence.

You can still get a great photo by walking a little bit further south up the hill. This gives a great perspective looking back down over the top of it.

Look, a photo taken from the safe side of the fence!

Wedding Cake Rock Sydney

A photo of Wedding Cake Rock taken from behind the fence. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

I’ve walked past Wedding Cake Rock hundreds of times since founding Sydney Coast Walks in 2009. I’ve seen the gap widening and white cake rock’s surface change dramatically in that time. What I couldn’t see was the erosion from underneath.

The fence is ugly, but it’s there for a reason. Use your head and stay on this side.

Wedding Cake Rock walk

Wedding Cake Rock fence. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

Wedding Cake Rock Parking

Drive through the Royal National Park until you see the sign to Bundeena. It’s about a one hour drive south from the city.

The nearest parking is at the start of the Royal National Park Coastal walk. Enter “71 Beachcomber Ave, Bundeena” in Google Maps, which is a residential address directly opposite the handful of designated parking spaces.

Given its popularity though, Wedding Cake Rock parking is more likely in the surrounding streets: Eric Street and Beachcomber Ave.

Street parking is free.

How To Go To Wedding Cake Rock By Train

There are two steps to get to Wedding Cake Rock by public transport.

The first is to catch a train from the city to Cronulla… takes about 50 minutes. Cronulla is a beachside suburb of Sydney, but when you get off the train head to the bay side. Exit the station and turn left. Walk through the pedestrian tunnel underpass, across the park, and down to the ferry wharf.

Then catch the ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena, a village in Royal National Park. Ferries depart every half hour and are not part of the Opal card system (bring cash – not credit card – for the ticket).

Cronulla ferry, Sutherland Shire

The Royal National Park ferry, waiting at Cronulla wharf. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

It’s a scenic 25 minute trip across the Hacking River (sometimes they even spot dolphins!). Allow another 30 minutes to walk from Bundeena wharf to get to Beachcomber Avenue, start of the Wedding Cake Rock hike.

How Do You Get To Wedding Cake Rock Trail?

The Wedding Cake Rock hike is a 6.8 kilometre (4.2 miles) walk. Allow 2 hours return (there and back).

There is a locked gate at the end of Beachcomber Ave, Bundeena. This is the start of the Coast Track.

Follow the sealed road (fire trail) until the second turn on your left – about 100 metres – marked ‘Royal Coast Track’. This sandy track will take you to the coast. When it opens out a bit, take a look to your left (north) for great city views on a clear day.

wedding cake rock trail

There are clear signs at the start of the Wedding Cake Rock trail. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

When you reach the coast, there is another sign marked ‘The Balconies’. If you look south from here – to your right as you face the sign – the nearest headland you can see is Marley.

You might also be able to see a sandy track winding up the hill through the bushes in the distance. Wedding Cake Rock is at the top of that hill.

the balconies to marley beach

The Balconies, Royal National Park. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

So, turn south, keep the ocean on your left and follow the track to Wedding Cake Rock.

When you go down a steep section of sandstone stairs, cross a small creek and start climbing a hill, you’re nearly there. This is the hill you saw from The Balconies.

wedding cake rock hike

Crossing the Water Run, on the way to Wedding Cake Rock. Image: Sydney Coast Walks.

Most of this track is now boardwalk, with some sections over rock. You’ll see the not-very-nice fence ahead of you, and that’s when you know you’re at Wedding Cake Rock (before the fence, I used to see people walk right past, not realising it was there).

Remember what I said about grabbing the best photo? Just walk a little past it to get a great shot looking back north. You could stop here to enjoy the view before heading back along the same path, or….

… Keep Going

Another leisurely 20 minutes (about 1km / 0.6 miles), will get you to Marley headland, with sweeping views of Big and Little Marley Beaches below.

the balconies to marley beach

The view from Marley headland overlooking Marley beaches, Royal National Park. Image: Sydney Coast Walks

It’s one of the best whale watching spots in Sydney too, so consider planning this as your turn-around point instead of Wedding Cake Rock.

Walking from The Balconies to Marley Beach will put the full length of the Royal National Park Coastal Walk on your wish list as you see the trail stretching out before you.

Tips For A Great Day Out

  • Remember you need to walk a few hours through the bush, so wear comfortable, covered shoes (no thongs/flip-flops or sandals).
  • There are no shops in the national park. Take plenty of water and whatever food you need.
  • No rubbish bins either. Carry out what you carry in.
  • Toilets are near the ferry wharf and at the start of the walking track at the end of Beachcomber Ave, Bundeena. There are no toilets on the track to Wedding Cake Rock.
  • There is no mobile phone reception along this section of the track.
  • Remember to wear a hat and sunscreen, even in winter: the track’s pretty exposed.
  • Insta-famous walks like #weddingcakerock mean the track can get busy on weekends and public holidays with nice weather. Try weekdays or early mornings to beat the crowds.

Enjoy your trip to Wedding Cake Rock Royal National Park, one of Sydney’s most dramatic coastal walks. It’s a unique coastal formation that won’t last forever, so see it while you can.

Wedding Cake Rock Map

Buy the Wedding Cake Rock Map here ($2.99). The downloadable PDF map includes the full length of the Coast Walk for more adventures.

Royal National Park Coast Track

Royal National Park Coastal Track Map

Coast Track Map Information Points

Alternative Stop A: Jibbon Head (Aboriginal Carvings)
Alternative Stop B: Shelley Beach coming soon
Alternative Stop C: Wave Rock coming soon
Alternative Stop D: Canadian cave coming soon
Stop 1: The Balconies coming soon
Stop 2: The Waterrun coming soon
Stop 3: Wedding Cake Rock You are here
Stop 4: Wattamolla coming soon
Stop 5: Providential Point coming soon
Stop 6: Curracurrang coming soon
Stop 7: Eagle Rock
Stop 8: Little Garie Shack Community
Stop 9: Era Shack Community
Stop 10: Burning Palms coming soon
Alternative Stop E: Figure 8 Pools
Stop 11: Palm Jungle coming soon
Stop 12: Werrong Lookout coming soon

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About

Sydney Coast Walks is borne from the marriage between hiking guide Ian Wells and outdoor journalist and writer Tara Wells. Put simply, he walks and she writes. Together they research the best stories and share on-the-track experiences for others to get more out of every Sydney walking adventure.



7 comments

  1. Comment by Danny Tran

    Danny Tran July 20, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Ian,
    I heard that the wedding cake rock was closed from May, is it true? Could we visit there at this time?
    Thanks.

    • Comment by Ian Wells

      Ian Wells July 20, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      G’day Danny,
      Wedding Cake Rock has a permanent fence around it to prevent access onto the rock itself. You can still see it and photograph it. It’s still a one of a kind rock formation and worth visiting. Cheers, Ian.

      • Comment by Danny Tran

        Danny Tran July 20, 2016 at 9:58 pm

        Thanks for valuable information. Just one more question. How long does it take if walking from Bundeena ferry? About an hour?

        • Comment by Ian Wells

          Ian Wells July 20, 2016 at 11:05 pm

          Just over an hour, Danny. A leisurely 1:15 – 1:30.

  2. Comment by Trent Hanrahan

    Trent Hanrahan September 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Hey mate, I just wanted some clarity on how much time I should allow for a round trip walk from my car to the rock and back via a view of the balconies
    …I will be a little low on time

    • Comment by Ian Wells

      Ian Wells September 25, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      At least 1:30, Trent. You could do it a bit quicker if you keep your head down and don’t look around… but if you only have one chance to visit you want to enjoy it. It’s all boardwalk now so it’s pretty easy walking.

  3. Comment by Trent Hanrahan

    Trent Hanrahan September 26, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Thanks for that mate

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