Australia – Circular walk from Garrawarra Farm to Otford and back

Walk from Garrawarra Farm to Otford
Walk from Garrawarra Farm to Otford

Having done extensive research I settled on a walk along the coast south of Sydney, in the Royal National Park, it is a circular walk starting at Otford Rail Station, to Garrawarra Farm carpark. One way is up high and the other is down near the sea, I opted to start at Garrawarra and go close to the aea, so I could get a coffee and cake at Otford before walking the high road which is slightly shorter and does not involve steep down and up sections.

I left the hotel just beforeI08:00, and took the M7/5, and A5/6, the drive was just around the 90 minute mark. I nearly missed the car park road because it is not a road but rather a track, that leads to the car park, it was 1.5km long and quite rutted, but the hire car made it ok. I was surprised at the size of he car park at the end, there was room for a couple of hundred cars, but there were only about 20 parked up. Parking was $12 which covered the park entrance fee.

Walk from Garrawarra Farm to Otford

The track was well sign posted and led me through the forest, and was downhill and quite steep, very rocky and covered in roots. I could see the sea before I saw it, but when I did the view was fantastic. I could see the bright exit of the forest and once out there was a great vista with Burning Palm beach at the bottom. Interestingly there were lots of shacks and a life guard hut down there, however there was no road in. I passed a guy with a large water container on his back.

I had a wander down on the beach, and dipped my toes into the Pacific Ocean, and grabbed a few shots before heading up and over the outcrop. I had hoped to get a look at Figure of Eight pool but the tide was wrong, and there was no way to get to them with the sea up against the cliff bottom. Given the remoteness of the walk it was surprisingly busy, I passed people once or twice a kilometre.

The path eventually gained height very quickly for quite a while which made sense given I had walked a long way down hill to get to the beach, I would definitely take the flatter path back to the car. I came across a few more people as I got closer to Otford, including a kind couple, with camera gear who patiently figured out the names of the birds I had seen from my vague descriptions.

The path dumped me on a road, and I checked the map there was a coffee shop about 500m down the road, The Otford Pantry provided a cake and coffee and a water bottle fill. The couple I had met earlier were also in the café. I took my time earlier my snail, a literal translation of the French pastry Escargot, it was lovely and doughy, with just enough raisins and crème patttisier.

Suitably rests I headed back the way I certainly until the track split and I took the high road, i.e. one that does not descend the reascend, as I had already done that. I passed quite a few large plants which are just a bit taller than me and consist of broad long leaves growing out from the ground and bending away from the center, like a large climb of grass. Some has a long shoot at least, and often more, the height of the plant it self, about 2m high. The shoot has a large complex dark red flower at the top.

The walk back to the car park undulated just a bit. It was interesting to see the usual plants. At one point I saw a large ground bird with an interesting curly tail, it was scratching the ground looking for food. I got close enough for a look, I think it might be the bird on the NSW wildlife reserves logo. It was only 15:00 when I got to tg car so it drove down to take a look at Bundeena a village at the end of the peninsula I was on. It was a sleepy little place with a ferry quay and a golden sandy curving beach, with houses with beach front locations. I wandered around and got some pictures while the sun was low on the sky.

The drive back was interesting because I took the route that took me across town rather than round. I got off track a few times but satnav soon put me right again. Helen called at one point it was great to catch up a by voice rather than text a as we had been for the last few days. Iropped the car off at the hotel then headed over to the nice Italian called Il Lago, I had tagliatelle with chilli, tomato and crab, it was delicious. I spent the rest of the evening developing my photos and trying to figure out where to go on Sunday.