Bundeena Drive to Marley walk

Royal National Park

Overview

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.

Where
Royal National Park
Distance
8km return
Time suggested
1hr 30min - 2hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 2
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note

  • It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch or whale watch

A delightful track that combines bush, heath and beaches with a moderate walk in the coastal region of Royal National Park. Bundeena Drive to Marley walk is ideal for intrepid bush walkers who love an invigorating day-walk with birdwatching and spell-binding views, just south of Sydney.

Follow the track as it winds through fragrant bushland to Deer Pool. Continue on to join Little Marley trail and get your camera ready to snap the views as you spot the the golden arc of the picturesque Little Marley Beach. 

Enjoy a dip before tucking into a well deserved picnic on the sands while soaking up the fresh coastal breezes. Retrace your steps, or if you’re feeling like a longer walk, organise a pick up and head north for Bundeena along The Coast track.

Take a virtual tour of Bundeena Drive to Marley walk 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/walking-tracks/bundeena-drive-to-marley-walk/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Bundeena Drive to Marley walk.

Track grading

Grade 2

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    1hr 30min - 2hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    8km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Bundeena Drive to Marley walk 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 10km
    • Turn left onto Bundeena Drive and continue for approximately 6km
    • Look for the signs to Marley trail and carpark on the left

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available on the western side of Bundeena Drive.

    Best times to visit

    Royal National Park covers a wide range of landscapes, from open grassland to ocean-fronting clifftops. It's a good idea to pack clothing suitable for all weather conditions along with water, sunscreen and a map on your visit. Royal National Park shines in all seasons, though summer and winter each offer a few special attractions.

    Summer

    Visit the majestic Garie Beach to surf or just relax. The beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers in summer. Plus, the panorama from Garie North Head is just amazing, so be sure to take your camera. The beach at Bundeena's Bonnie Vale is a great swimming spot, as are Jibbon, Wattamolla and Little Marley beaches. If a freshwater swim is more your thing, try Karloo Pool, Deer Pool or Curracurrang. The summer holiday information has important tips to help you plan your day to Royal National Park during the busy holiday period .

    Winter

    Winter is a great time to tackle the popular Coast track from Bundeena to Otford. Not only will you be greeted by spectacular coastal scenery, you can also see whales from the cliffs (June to August). Complete the walk in small sections or undertake the entire 26km over two days. Plan a visit during spring to admire the stunning heathland wildflowers on display. Head along the Coast track or the Curra Moors Loop track or walk to Wises track to see them in bloom. .

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    16°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    42°C (1977)

    Winter temperature

    Average

    6°C and 17°C

    Lowest recorded

    -0.6°C (1968)

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    254.5mm

    Facilities

    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.

    Both Marley Beach and Little Marley Beach are remote and unpatrolled. These beaches can be rough and have very strong currents. They also have a steep drop off once in the water. They are not recommended as safe swimming beaches. 

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    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).

    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 OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Nearby towns

    Bundeena (4 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 (31 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 (25 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

    Bundeena Drive to Marley walk 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.

    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.

    • 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.
    • 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.

    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.
    • Wet and Dry Environments - Bonnie Vale This excursion experience has been updated and is now being delivered in line with the new NSW Department of Education Curriculum. We will be revising this excursion's name and information online soon. Contact your local national parks office for more information about the updated excursion.
    • WilderQuest WildThings Come on a WilderQuest WildThings excursion to explore the bushland along the beautiful Hacking River. Designed for Stage 1 students and focusing on Science and Technology, investigate the living world in this part of Royal National Park, home to amazing plants and animals.
    • WilderQuest WildTracker Come on a WilderQuest WildTracker excursion designed for Stage 2 students focusing on science and technology. Carry out investigations to explore the living world in this part of Royal National Park.

    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

    • Waratah. Photo: Barry Collier

      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, Budderoo National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      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 (15)

    Wedding Cake Rock, Royal National Park. Photo: David Finnegan