2015 Royal National Park - Bundeena to Otford - The Coastal Walk

summary: Normally a track you would do in pieces, or even overnight. But as part of our Nepal training we decided to complete the journey in a single day, much to Jacks dismay.
date: 15 August 2015
distance: 27kms
people: Jack, Graham, Edwin, Kelly
difficulty: Very hard for a day walk
duration: 8 hours
views: 3159

The Coastal Walk

Much has been said about this walk and its amazing views along the Sydney coast line, but for all the years that I have been hiking, I have never attempted it. Well it didnt take much convincing when Edwin suggested it as another Nepal training hike. Not realising just how hard this track would be to complete in a single day, I asked Jack to come along as his first serious hike.

Early Start

For Jack and I it was a very early morning start. We left home about 5:45am and walked down to the train station to catch the 6:09am train to Sydney. It was a glorious morning, not too cold, but still very dark! At the station we patiently waited on platform 1 for the train to arrive, which it did right on time, but on platform 2! So everyone did the quick dash up over the bridge and down the other side. Mental note, dont try running with a pack, and a mouthful of breakfast - it doesnt end well.

Once we were comfortably seated on the train, was relaxed and took it easy for the trip up to Sutherland. We watched the sun come up over the ocean which is alway an amazing blessing of catching the early morning train on the South Coast line.

Sutherland arrived quicker than expected, and we quickly left the train and moved over to the next platform where we would wait for 15 minutes to pick up our connection to Cronulla, and to meet up with Edwin and Kelly who were already on the train - and just awake I think!

Let the walking begin

Our last transit leg was to catch the Bundeena Ferry from Cronulla across the bay to Bundeena which is the start of the walk. After a quick stop at the local IGA for supplies, we started the short but frustrating walking along the suburban road to the trail head. Was interesting to chat to the other hikers though, some doing day walks, some overnight, and some even been to Everest Base camp before!

It wasnt long before we started walking on the dirt road of the main trail. I was quite surprised at the number of people that were also walking the trail, in both directions. But with an amazing day of fine weather ahead of us how could you blame people for wanting to be out in the fresh air. We were soon passed by some fitness groups obviously training for an upcoming Coastal Walk fun run, they were working hard thats for sure - perhaps that will be us next year?!

Not long after starting on the main trail we were provided some of the most amazing views of the coastline you could ever imagine. The rugged cliffs stretched out north and south as far as you could see. And of course to the south was the direction we were travelling so we could see all a lot of difficult and challenging terrain ahead of us.

After taking a few photos and admiring the views, we continued down the trail and reached Wedding Cake rock. This is currently fenced off due to the instability of the rock face, and the tragic death of a tourist on this spot not so long ago. We chatted with some people here who explain that only a few months ago they were sitting out on that very edge of rock that fell away into the ocean.

From here we continued up and down, up and down along some amazing trail, the views at this end of the walk are never ending. The trail dropped down onto the beach a couple of times where we got to 'enjoy' the feeling of walking in the soft sand. There were also a number of creeks we needed to cross, and more cliff faces to hang over looking at the drop into the ocean.

We eventually arrived at Wattamolla shortly after midday. Jack had been asking for some time when lunch was going to be, so we decided that now was as good a time as any. There are lots of people here, as its accessible by road, and actually an amazing location in itself. Beautiful beach, and water way just off the main beach, great facilities with BBQs and picnic tables all around. Lunch was had fairly quickly as we knew we were under some time pressures, but we all enjoyed some savoury delights and a refill of water containers before heading back off again.

After Lunch

Shortly after lunch, we started to realise that we were running a bit behind schedule, so we put Kelly in front and let her set the pace. It was a hot pace! We carved up the next couple of kms and got back on track, not out of the woods mind you we still had a long way to go, but we figured we could actually make our destination in time to catch the train at 5:15pm.

We did still get enough time to soak in the environment and see the views. We started passing people on the trail though, most of which were happy enough to pull over and let us past. The trail had closed in a bit, and was a little more inland at this stage so not really enough room for more than single file.

We eventually started the descent into Garie beach - which was pretty hard on the legs. Very steep, large steps, and a long way. By the time we got to the bottom, which was our agreed spot for afternoon tea, we were almost out of energy. Poor Jack was so exhausted he even forgot we had Tim Tams for afternoon tea!

After a quick break for afternoon tea, we were off again. The trail still crossed a number of sandy beaches, and rugged bushland before we found ourselves heading away from the water and up to the ridge line of the escarpment. This track was supposed to get us to the train station quicker, and easier. Well the climb up the escarpment was anything but easy, steep steps once again, but surrounded in amazing bushland. We all made it to the top, and with only a little over an hour before the train arrives, and about 4kms to go, there was not time for relaxing. On we forged along a relatively flat fire trail, quite removed from the cliff line and ocean views. These views returned though when we were just minutes from the lookout at Otford - which was a welcome relief. From here, we followed a fire trail just off the main road which took us down to the train station, where we arrived less than ten minutes before the train.

So an amazing day of hiking, the views were second to none, but I think next time we need to take a little more time to soak it all in - definitely a night camping would have gone down pretty well.


2015-08-16 08:44:49 [Photo] Jacks first big hike. 27kms in one day was a pretty good effort!

2015-08-16 08:43:27 [Photo] Living on the edge!

2015-08-16 08:41:11 [Photo] Best coastal walk in the world? Perhaps it is!

2015-08-15 07:54:21 Where's Edwin!?

2015-08-15 06:06:47 off we go to the coast walk. Best in the world apparently!

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