School excursion

Biophysical interactions at Garie Beach

Stage 6 (Years 11-12), Geography, Royal National Park

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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. 

Read more about Biophysical interactions at Garie Beach

Students will observe first-hand the biophysical processes that influence this coastal environment of beach, rocky platforms and freshwater creek. We'll discuss the 4 spheres that shape and impact this landscape.

Students will undertake a scientific investigation to determine biotic and abiotic factors here. They'll use their surveying and mapping skills to form a comprehensive audit of the site and the factors impacting it.

As mock land managers they'll determine the best approach for sustainable management of visitation. Their prescribed role will be to reduce the negative impact on this sensitive coastal ecosystem.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 6 (Years 11-12)
Learning area Geography
Student outcomes

P2. Describes the interactions between the four components which define the biophysical environment.

P3. Explains how a specific environment functions in terms of biophysical factors.

P9. Uses maps, graphs and statistics, photographs and fieldwork to conduct geographical inquiries.


Students will:

  • Explore and sketch the headland and rock platform to see first-hand the interactions between the hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere and biosphere
  • Collect and use digital images
  • Practise field sketch techniques using maps and a Google Earth image
  • Measure the abiotic factors of the fore dune and hind dune
  • Identify plants along the revegetated sand dune
  • Observe and analyse changes made to the carpark and surf club area
  • Dip-net for fresh water animals to determine the health of the creek
  • Consider the impact of climate change on the environment
  • Consider the issues and impacts at Garie Beach posed by humans and the management responses of NPWS and other agencies.

Excursion details


Weekdays during school term.

Guided. Available on request.
Garie Beach picnic area, Royal National Park
Medium. Guided activities along a beach, across sand dunes and along a creek.

$28 per student for groups of 25 or more. GST included. For smaller groups conditions apply.

No wheelchair access
Meeting point
Meet at Garie Beach carpark.
Yes. All field equipment provided.
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
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Local alerts

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Operated by

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).

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See more visitor info

Info for teachers

All the practical information you need to know about Biophysical interactions at Garie Beach.

Program outline

  • Welcome, acknowledgement of Country and safety talk
  • Observe and discuss development of the carpark and surf club area
  • Morning tea and toilet break 
  • Conduct a field sketch of the site
  • Measure and compare abiotic factors of fore dune and hind dune
  • Dip-net in a freshwater creek to determine ecosystem health
  • Predict the influence of sea level rise on the freshwater environment
  • Examine physical processes shaping the landscape
  • Return walk to shaded area for lunch
  • Conduct a vegetation transect along a dune
  • Assess current management strategies through a role-play scenario
  • Farewell and depart on bus

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Garie Beach picnic area is in the southern precinct of Royal National Park. To get there:

    From Audley:

    • Drive across Audley Weir and continue along Sir Bertram Stevens Drive
    • Turn left onto Garie Road and follow to Garie Beach picnic area

    From Waterfall:

    • Follow McKell Avenue to the end
    • Turn left onto Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and continue for approximately 5km
    • Turn right onto Garie Road and follow to Garie Beach picnic area

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather


    Parking is available at Garie Beach picnic area, but it can be a busy place on the weekend when parking may be limited. 

    By public transport

    Park Connections operate a Royal National Park bus service between Sutherland Train Station and locations within the park including Audley, Garie Beach, Wattamolla, Bundeena Wharf, Otford Train Station, and the north and south ends of The Coast track.

    What to bring

    Please wear fully enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, wet weather gear, and lunch which should be low waste with a refillable water bottle. Students should bring gear in a backpack or similar (not plastic bags). Please note: Students should have their own copy of the excursion worksheet, a clipboard and pencil.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

    Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

    Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

    Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

    Risk assessment and risk benefits

    Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

    We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

    Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


    Disability access level - no wheelchair access

    There is no wheelchair access available. If you have someone with special needs, please let us know in advance so that we can plan accordingly.