Hilltop Cottage

Royal National Park

Affected by closures, check current alerts 

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Overview

Hilltop Cottage offers heritage accommodation in Sydney's majestic Royal National Park. It's an ideal base to explore the surrounding walking tracks, beaches, and wildlife spotting opportunities in the park.

Accommodation Details
Accommodation type Cottage
Where 154 Rathane Road, Royal National Park, NSW, 2232 - in Royal National Park
Bedrooms 3
Maximum guests 6
Facilities Barbecue facilities, cafe/kiosk, drinking water, showers, toilets, electric power
Price

Rates and availability are displayed when making an online booking. Minimum stays apply.

Entry fees

Park entry fees are not included in your accommodation fees.

Bookings Book online or call the National Parks Contact Centre on 1300 072 757.
Please note
  • Check in between 2pm and 4pm, check out 10am.
  • To arrange after hours check in, call the property managers during business hours. 
  • Fees apply for late check outs.
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The spacious Hilltop Cottage sleeps up to 6 people. It's ideal for small groups or families and features high-quality amenities. Relax on the deck, do a spot of bird watching or gaze across Port Hacking and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

From here you can walk a leg of The Coast track, try walking tracks to Winifred Falls or Uloola Falls, or why not cycle the historic carriage route of Lady Carrington Drive.

Visit in spring to immerse yourself in wildflowers, including the area's Gymea lillies. Summer is prime time for a refreshing dip in the park's waterways and beaches.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/hilltop-cottage/local-alerts

Bookings

Park info

  • in Royal National Park in the Sydney and surrounds and South Coast regions
  • Royal National Park is open 7am to 8.30pm but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    $12 per vehicle per day. Seasonal ticket booths at Wattamolla and Garie Beach - cash and credit card facilities available. Please bring correct change. There's also coin and card operated pay and display machines to buy day passes.

    Vehicles over 8 seats: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day). Students on educational programs: $1.10 per student. Teachers/educational supervisors: free (1 adult per 10 students).

    Buy annual pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Hilltop Cottage.

Getting there and parking

Hilltop Cottage is located overlooking the Hacking River and is around 42km south of Sydney. 

From Sydney 

  • Travel south along the Princes Highway from Sutherland 
  • Turn left onto Farnell Avenue, Audley (Royal National Park) 
  • Proceed along Farnell Avenue to Audley Weir 
  • Drive across Audley Weir and continue along Sir Bertram Stevens Drive for approximately 2km
  • Turn left on to Warumbul Road and follow to the junction of Rathane Road
  • Continue along the sealed Rathane Road until you reach the entrance to Youthworks Conference Centre
  • Enter the Hilltop Cottage gate on the right (please do not enter Youthworks property).

Pick up service: Pick up service is available from Sutherland Station. You must arrange pick up with the property managers at least 48 hours before you check in.

Check in: The property managers will contact you before your booking to arrange your check in details and security deposit. A $200 security deposit is required.

You will receive 2 keys; 1 key to unlock the cottage entrance gate, and 1 key to unlock the cottage. You will also receive a PIN code to access the cottage and to open the boom gate at Warumbul Road. This gate is closed from 8:30pm to 7am.

Check out and returning keys: A $50 hourly penalty fee applies for late check outs. Please return the keys on check out, to the key boxes at the Royal Visitor Centre or to the property managers. A $100 fee applies for lost keys or keys not returned at time of check out.

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at the cottage.

Facilities

  • The cottage has a fully furnished living room, a bathroom with shower, separate toilet and laundry.
  • The kitchen has a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, cooktop, oven, crockery, cutlery and glassware.
  • Bedding configuration: 2 x queen, 2 x singles.
  • Bed linen and towels are provided, please bring your own beach towels.
  • The cottage has a television, Blu-Ray/DVD player, washing machine, dryer, iron, ironing board, gas heater and a gas barbecue.
  • Please leave the cottage clean and tidy, or additional fees may apply. Place rubbish in the bins provided outside. Excessive amounts of rubbish should be taken with you.

Toilets

  • Flush toilets

Barbecue facilities

  • Gas/electric barbecues (free)

Cafe/kiosk

  • Audley Dance Hall Café has coffee and refreshments.
  • You can pick up supplies at nearby shops in Sutherland and Engadine.

Drinking water

Showers

  • Hot showers

Electric power

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Beach safety

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

There is mobile phone service at the cottage, however there's no wifi.

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Permitted

Fishing

A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

Prohibited

  • Amplified music is not permitted
  • Please don’t feed the birds or animals.
  • The cottage is not to be used for commercial purposes, including filming. Email Royal National Park for more information.

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Generators

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

Learn more

Hilltop Cottage is in Royal National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A date with history

Audley Visitor Centre, Royal National Park. Photo: Andy Richards

When exploring Royal National Park you can see a range of Aboriginal sites and artefacts. The best way to find out more about Aboriginal cultural heritage in the park is on a tour with an Aboriginal Discovery ranger. You might also spot one of the 80 historic remnants from the park’s Victorian-era establishment, including ornamental trees and residential remains.

  • Couranga walking track Vivid wildflowers pepper this medium walking track near Waterfall. Only an hour from Sydney, it offers several picnic spots and birdwatching opportunities.
  • Lady Carrington Drive This historic cycling track near Audley and a short drive from Sydney follows the river and offers birdwatching, pretty picnic areas and history to explore.

A place to get active

Coastal walk, Royal National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

Who needs a gym? At Royal National Park you can hike, swim and row to your heart’s content. Hire a paddleboat from the Audley boatshed or surf the renowned Garie Beach. Jog along sandstone cliffs, attempt over 100km of walking tracks or try mountain biking the East Heathcote trails (be sure to note the ‘no sign–no ride’ policy). Located at Audley, just 32km from Sydney city, the park offers incredible beauty and natural diversity just minutes from the highway and train station. Spanning Port Hacking to Helensburgh, the park features multiple entry points and is well signposted, though it’s always a good idea to take a Royal National Park map.

  • Bundeena Drive to Marley walk This rewarding walk from Bundeena Drive to Little Marley Beach leads through heath, past fresh water pools and creeks, and on to scenic beach views in Royal National Park.
  • Garie Beach picnic area A perfect day out, Garie Beach is a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic and is great for swimming, whale watching, fishing, surfing and walking options.
  • Royal National Park bus service Skip driving and parking in Royal National Park and catch the Park Connections bus. Hop from Sutherland station or Bundeena Wharf to spots in the park like Audley and Wattamolla.

Exceptional environments

Rocky cliffs dropping off into the ocean, Royal National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

The park was one of Australia’s first areas of land set aside for conservation. In this natural haven, open ocean, sandstone cliffs and wetlands meet grassy woodland, rainforests, coastal heathland and eucalypt forests. You’ll also find some significant geological sites, including fascinating beach ridges at Cabbage Tree Basin.

  • Bundeena to Marley gourmet walks at sunset This sunset guided walk with Lost and Found Wellness Adventures has all the ingredients to delight your senses. Immerse yourself in the changing moods of stunning coastal scenery near Sydney as you enjoy gourmet food and drink.
  • Bundeena to Wattamolla guided coastal walks Delight your senses on this coastal adventure run by M8 Explorer. With their knowledgeable and safety-conscious guides, explore beautiful coastline on a 4hr hike in the Royal National Park, beginning and ending with stops for delicious meals.  
  • Curra Moors loop track A challenging walk through heath and waterfalls, the Curra Moors loop track offers scenic sandstone cliff and coastal views, waterfalls and great birdwatching.
  • Palm Jungle loop track A challenging yet spectacular walk, Palm Jungle loop track takes in rainforest, cliff tops, beaches and scenic coastal views in Royal National Park, near Otford.
  • Private premium day tours on the South Coast Indulge your senses on a big day out with Sydney Private Guided Tours. You’ll visit stunning lookouts, see beautiful wildlife and rainforest, and experience iconic coastal scenery.
  • Tailored tours of Royal National Park Join Sydney Nimble Tours for your own private day out in the Royal National Park. From pristine beaches to sweeping coastal vistas, these tailored experiences are a great way to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature.  
  • The Coast track The Coast track in Sydney's Royal National Park is an epic multi-day walk between Bundeena and Otford. Enjoy incredible coastal lookouts, swimming spots, seasonal wildflowers and whale watching along this challenging 26km track.
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Home to the feathered and furry

A flower blooming,  Royal National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Many visitors regularly spot native wildlife in the Hacking River Valley area, so keep an eye out for possums, sugar gliders and wallabies. This Sydney park is also home to a huge number of bats, amphibians and reptiles. Plus, birdwatchers are in luck - over 300 bird species have been recorded here, look out for sulphur-crested cockatoos, crimson rosellas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets.

  • Biology fieldwork at Bonnie Vale Senior biology students will hone their skills on this Stage 6 (Years 11-12) fieldwork study in Royal National Park. This biology excursion is designed to support Module 3 (adaptations) and Module 4 (population dynamics) of the syllabus.
  • Biophysical interactions at Garie Beach Senior students will hone their fieldwork skills in this Stage 6 (Years 11-12) geography excursion at Garie Beach. Located at the southern end of Royal National Park, Garie Beach offers students a complex site to study biophysical interactions. 
  • Couranga walking track Vivid wildflowers pepper this medium walking track near Waterfall. Only an hour from Sydney, it offers several picnic spots and birdwatching opportunities.
  • Forest path Forest path is an easy walk in Royal National Park. It's great for kids and just 1 hour south of Sydney. Wander through cabbage tree palms and Gymea lilies on the path beside Bola Creek and the Hacking River.
  • Living world wet and dry environments This Stage 1 excursion in Royal National Park, southern Sydney, gives students first-hand experience exploring the living world. It aligns with the Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus. 
  • Living world WildTracker at Audley Join us on a WildTracker science and technology excursion for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students in Royal National Park. We'll explore and analyse the natural environment, identify and group species, and discuss the adaptations that help them survive here.
  • Private premium day tours on the South Coast Indulge your senses on a big day out with Sydney Private Guided Tours. You’ll visit stunning lookouts, see beautiful wildlife and rainforest, and experience iconic coastal scenery.
  • Tailored tours of Royal National Park Join Sydney Nimble Tours for your own private day out in the Royal National Park. From pristine beaches to sweeping coastal vistas, these tailored experiences are a great way to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature.  
  • WildThings at Audley Discover WildThings in Royal National Park on this Stage 1 (Years 1-2) science and technology excursion. Together we'll examine the unique mangrove environment and the abundance of life it supports. Exploring the living world has never been more fun.
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Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Australian pelican. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

    The curious pelican is Australia’s largest flying bird and has the longest bill of any bird in the world. These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands.

Plants

  • Close up photo of a waratah flower, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH.

    Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

    The beautiful waratah is not only the NSW floral emblem, it's also one of the best-known Australian native plants. This iconic Australian bush flower can be found on sandstone ridges around Sydney, in nearby mountain ranges and on the NSW South Coast. The waratah has a vibrant crimson flowerhead, measuring up to 15cm across, and blossoms in spring.

  • Cabbage tree palm in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer/OEH

    Cabbage palm (Livistona australis)

    With glossy green leaves spanning 3-4m in length and a trunk reaching a height of up to 30m, the cabbage tree palm, or fan palm, is one of the tallest Australian native plants. Thriving in rainforest margins along the east coast of NSW, in summer this giant palm produces striking spikes of cream flowers which resemble cabbages.

  • Gymea lily. Photo: Simone Cottrell

    Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa)

    The magnificent Gymea lily is one of the most unusual Australian native plants, found only along the coast and surrounding bushland of the Sydney Basin, from Newcastle to Wollongong. In spring this giant lily shoots out spectacular red flowers that can reach heights of 2-4m.

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

    An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (13)