Royal National Park – Garie Beach to Figure Eight Pools return
Garie Beach to Figure Eight Pools return (NSW)
This walk is located within the Royal National Park in NSW. I like this walk because it has a bit of everything – beach, Australian bush, rainforest-like palm forest, rock pools. All to be enjoyed in the one walk. There are campgrounds for those who want to do it as an overnight walk.
Getting there by Vehicle: Garie Beach is located south of the Sydney CBD within the Royal National Park. Drive to Garie Beach and park at the car park. It’s about a 60-90mins drive from Sydney Central Station depending on traffic. I like to get there early (before 8am) because you can get a parking spot, you can avoid any potential delays as people queue up to get through the boom gate, and the sun won’t be too hot. You may see whales migration between May and October.
Getting there (public transport): You can also get to Garie Beach by train to Sutherland Train Station, and catching a pre-booked transfer from parkconnections.com.au
Total distance: My iPhone tells me that that trip took 15,000 steps and the distance was 8km return
Total time required: 4 hours return plus additional time for pictures and rests
Caution: The Figure Eight Pools should only be visited at low tide and with safe surf conditions. People have been washed off the rocks during dangerous surf conditions.
Grade: Moderate – lots of steep ascend and descend
- The start of the walk begins at the Coast Track that’s next to the Garie Surf Life Saving Club. There are toilets here at the car park. Follow the track along the beach. You’ll be walking on a narrow rock path along the cliff.
- After about 20mins, you’ll cross a little creek and head inland towards a grass area with simple holiday accomodation. Follow the sign uphill, winding through the accomodation. You’ll soon arrive at an open plain where the path will travel uphill. At the top of the hill, you’ll be reward with a view over the open sea.
- Keep following the Coast Track that will continue to take you through open plains. The path takes you through steep ascends and descends, with some sheltered spots under trees at the top of the ascend where you can enjoy the view and take a rest. There’ll be some curious small birds to greet you amongst the trees.
- The path will eventually descend to the beach where you’ll be walking along the beach on sand. Walk along the beach and follow the sign that takes you back inland next to the Era Surf Life Saving Club.
- Continue on the Coast Track, taking you through Australian bushes and open plains. It will eventually take you through another holiday accomodation area near the Burning Palms Surf Life Saving Club.
- As you continue along the Coast Track, you’ll cross a few metal bridges. If you cross slowly and look under the bridge, you might catch the sights of medium sized goannas resting right under the bridges.
- You have two choices from here to get to Figure Eight Pools. You can either veer left and head down the path to the Burning Palms Beach and walk along the beach to the Figure Eight Pool.s Or you can continue along the Coast Track and walk through the Burning Palms area. The Burning Palms area is akin to a palms rainforest, where you’ll be walking amongst a dense forest of palms and in open plains. Regardless of which path you choose, you’ll need to veer left and get off the Coast Track (ether at the start of the Burning Palms Beach or at the end of the beach). Remember, do not head over to the Figure Eight Pools during high tide or hazardous surf conditions.
- At the Southern end of the Burning Palms Beach, walk and hop along the rocks for a good 30 mins. The path will make a slight bend to the right at about the 20mins mark. Keep going until you get to an area that opens up to a large area of rock surface. That’s where the Figure Eight Pools are located. They are pools that are formed in the figure of eight shape.
- Rest, have some snacks and take some photos here. Some people jump into the shallow pools in their swim wear to cool off and have a splash in the water.
- To finish, head back along the same track back to Garie beach. Have an ice cream at the Garie Beach Surf Life Saving Club.
– I carried 2L of water and hiked this when it was 31 degrees.
– There are no toilets along this track
– There are no water refills along this track. If you choose to camp overnight, be sure to bring enough water for two days.
– The track consists of paved paths, rock boulders, sand, metal crates, grass. The Burning Palms section gets very muddy after rainy days. Tracking poles recommended through this section when it’s muddy.
– This track gets busy in summer. I prefer hiking this either very early in summer before others arrive, or I’ll hike this in winter.
So go forth. Walk, and enjoy. And step by step, we’ll see where the future takes us….