School excursion

Biophysical interactions at Wattamolla

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 Wattamolla. Located in Royal National Park, Wattamolla offers students a complex site to study biophysical interactions. 

Read more about Biophysical interactions at Wattamolla

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

GE-11-02. Explains geographical processes and influences, at a range of scales, that form and transform places and environments

GE-11-04. Assesses responses and management strategies, at a range of scales, for sustainability

GE-11-07. Applies geographical inquiry skills and tools, including spatial technologies, fieldwork and ethical practices, to investigate places and environments

GE-12-02. Analyses geographical processes and influences, at a range of scales, that form and transform places and environments

GE-12-04. Evaluates responses and management strategies, at a range of scales, for sustainability

GE-12-07. Selects and applies geographical inquiry skills and tools, including spatial technologies, fieldwork and ethical practices, to investigate places and environments


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 image
  • 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 vegetated gardens
  • Dip-net for freshwater animals to determine the health of the creek
  • Consider the impact of climate change on the environment
  • Consider the issues and impacts at Wattamolla posed by humans and the management responses of NPWS and other agencies.

Excursion details


Weekdays during school term.

Guided. Available on request.
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
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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Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

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Park info

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Info for teachers

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

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

    Wattamolla picnic area is in the eastern precinct of Royal National Park. To get there:

    From Audley:

    • Drive across Audley Weir and continue along Sir Bertram Stevens Drive for approximately 11km
    • Turn left onto Wattamolla Road, 250m past Bundeena Drive, and follow to Wattamolla picnic area.

    From Waterfall:

    • Follow McKell Avenue to the end
    • Turn left onto Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and continue for approximately 9km
    • Turn right onto Wattamolla Road and follow to Wattamolla picnic area

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather


    Parking is available.

    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.