Wattamolla picnic area

Royal National Park

Affected by closures, check current alerts 

Overview

The coastal Wattamolla picnic area at Royal National Park is a popular family spot for swimming, fishing, snorkelling and bushwalking.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Royal National Park
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
Please note
  • For your own safety, please don't jump from the top of the waterfall into the lagoon. Many people have been injured this way.
  • Follow @royalnpalerts on Twitter for regular, real-time updates about traffic and parking capacity.
  • You'll need to bring drinking and cooking water to Wattamolla picnic area
  • Please don’t feed wild animals in the park

When you’re pining for the feel of sand between your toes, take the family and head to Wattamolla picnic area in Royal National Park. With loads of options to keep everyone happy, this is a popular place to base yourself while you’re exploring the park.

The kids will love the calm waters of the lagoon for snorkelling, swimming and liloing. Unpack a picnic under the shade of the cabbage tree palms and do some serious unwinding, or head to the beach for a spot of fishing.

After enjoying a barbecue lunch, go for a walk along one of the beach tracks, with a prize for the first to see a sea eagle or oystercatcher.

Take a virtual tour of Wattamolla picnic area captured with Google Street View Trekker.

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/things-to-do/picnic-areas/wattamolla-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

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 the Wattamolla picnic area.

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

     

    Follow @royalnpalerts on Twitter for regular, real-time updates about traffic and parking capacity.

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    • Parking is available but it can get very busy on the weekend, when parking might be limited.
    • Think about car pooling to Wattamolla because the number of people visiting often exceeds the parking spaces available.

    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.

    Best times to visit

    Spring

    Plan a visit during spring to admire the stunning heathland wildflowers on display. Head along parts of the Coast track to see them in bloom. 

    Summer

    You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to water activities at Wattamolla. Float around in the majestic lagoon, perfect for small children, or cool off at the beach. Just remember to be safe because there's no lifeguard service at Wattamolla. It's an extremely popular location so plan to arrive early in the day as parking is limited and the car park often fills up before midday on a hot weekend.

    Winter

    Winter is a great time to visit Wattamolla as it's a lot quieter than it is during the busy summer months. Not only will you be greeted by spectacular coastal scenery, you can also see whales from the cliffs or the lookout between June and August.

    Facilities

    You'll need to bring your own water for drinking and cooking.


    Toilets

    • Flush toilets

    Picnic tables

    Barbecue facilities

    • Gas/electric barbecues (free)

    Carpark

    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).

    Water activities

    Beaches, rivers and lakes in NSW national parks offer lots of opportunities for water activities. Please take care in the water and find out how to help your family and friends stay safe around water.

    For your own safety, please don't jump from the top of the waterfall into the lagoon. Jumping from the waterfall is prohibited. Please read our waterfall safety tips.

    Permitted

    Fishing

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

    Prohibited

    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

    Nearby towns

    Bundeena (5 km)

    This historic national park, Australia's oldest, is now on the National Heritage List and is easily accessible by car or by ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena. More than 100 kilometres of walking trails are there for you to enjoy. The 26-km Coast Track has magnificent cliff-top views or you can take the Forest Island loop walk through cool valleys, thick with rainforest. Wattamolla, Garie and Burning Palms are amongst the most beautiful beaches in Australia.

    www.sydney.com

    Campbelltown (26 km)

    For nature lovers, the Macarthur region has plenty of natural attractions. Explore nature reserves and wildlife trails or see spectacular native flora and fauna at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, the largest botanic garden in Australia.

    www.sydney.com

    Sydney City Centre (24 km)

    No trip to Sydney is complete without spending some time in the city’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s in central areas like Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens or further out in Centennial Parklands, there’s plenty of green space to go out and enjoy.

    www.sydney.com

    Learn more

    Wattamolla picnic area 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.
    Show more

    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.

    • 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.
    Show more

    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 (7)