Forest walk to Sublime Point track

Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Combining several hiking tracks, this extended day walk is one of the region’s best, taking in scenic views of the coast and Sydney, with access to nearby forest picnic spots.

Where
Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area
Distance
14km one-way
Time suggested
5 - 6hrs
Grade
Grade 4
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

Opening times

The walking tracks are always open, though it is recommended that the extended hike is only attempted in daylight hours.

What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • The southern end of Forest walk joins the Woodward track, which adjoins Sublime Point. Sublime track runs between Sublime Point and Austinmer.
  • The weather in this area can be unpredictable, so please make sure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch

The Illawarra Escarpment offers a full range of exciting walks. This extended hike combines several of the best, threading through magnificent cliff-top rainforest and dry eucalypts.

Start the walk at either Coalcliff (Wodi Wodi track) or Austinmer (Sublime Point track). Both trackheads are a short stroll from the train station. Your path then ascends sharply before snaking a leisurely 11km along Forest walk. Views are superb across the panoramic coast below, as you wander through upland swamps and tall blackbutt-apple shale forest. You’re bound to capture some inspiring photos here.

You can cap it all off with a post-trek barbecue: at Sublime Point lookout, the track takes a steep turn down to Austinmer via a narrow cliff ledge and several ladders. The nearby Lady Fuller park, featuring picnic tables and toilets, offers a fitting end to your challenging, but rewarding hike.

Take a virtual tour of Forest walk to Sublime Point track captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


Map legend

Map legend

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/forest-walk-to-sublime-point-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

  • in Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area in the South Coast region
  • Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger. However, it is recommended that bushwalking only be undertaken during daylight hours because of the presence of cliff edges and other hazards.

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Forest walk to Sublime Point track.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    5 - 6hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Very steep

  • Distance

    14km one-way

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Forest walk to Sublime Point track is in the Stanwell Park-Austinmer precinct of the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. To get there:

    By car:

    • From Stanwell Park, follow Lawrence Hargrave Drive for approximately 1.3km
    • The walk begins at the Wodi Wodi trackhead, on the right.

    Alternatively, if starting from Austinmer:

    • From Lawrence Hargrave Drive, turn into Moore Street
    • Crossover the railway bridge and continue straight along Balfour Road
    • Turn left into Hill Street and take the next left into Foothills Road
    • The walk begins at the Sublime Point trackhead, on the right.

    By train:

    • Take the South Coast line to Coalcliff station
    • Walk north approximately 600m along Lawrence Hargrave Drive, to the Wodi Wodi trackhead. The walk finishes in Austinmer.
    • Access to the Sublime Point trackhead is via Hill Street then Foothills Road

    Parking

    Parking is available on Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Coalcliff and Foothills Road, Austinmer. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Here are some of the highlights.

    Spring

    Enjoy a native wildflower display on the Forest walk.

    Summer

    Cool your heels on the Mount Keira ring track, which threads through refreshing rainforest.

    Winter

    Take advantage of the escarpment elevation for a spot of whale watching north of Mount Keira, or from one of the several lookouts.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    16.5°C and 25.6°C

    Highest recorded

    42.3°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    8.3°C and 18.3°C

    Lowest recorded

    -0.5°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    April

    Driest month

    August

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    316mm

    Facilities

    Drinking water

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

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    For your safety, don’t leave the track or approach within 4m of any cliff edges.

    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.

    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.

    The walking opportunities in this park are suitable for experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable undertaking self-reliant hiking.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus 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).

    Prohibited

    Camp fires and solid fuel burners

    Fires are not permitted

    Pets

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


    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    Forest walk to Sublime Point track is in Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    200 million years and counting

    Views across the escarpment, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    The 500-metre-high Illawarra Escarpment provides a dramatic backdrop to the city of Wollongong and spans 200 million years of geological history. The escarpment is so notable, it's currently listed as a 'Scenic Landscape of State-wide Significance' on the Register of the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

    • Forest walk to Sublime Point track Combining several hiking tracks, this extended day walk is one of the region’s best, taking in scenic views of the coast and Sydney, with access to nearby forest picnic spots.
    • Mount Keira Ring track Encircling Mount Keira, the ring track passes through the varied terrains and forests of the Illawarra Escarpment, starting and finishing in a perfect picnic spot.
    • Sublime Point walking track For a challenging walk through rainforest, Sublime Point walking track offers great birdwatching and scenic views across Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area.

    Going bush

    Cabbage tree palm (Livistonia Australis), Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

    The Illawarra Escarpment contains the most extensive area of rainforest in the Sydney basin and forms a crucial corridor between Royal National Park and the South Coast. The area acts as an important refuge for species that are affected by environmental disturbances such as development and bushfires. There are currently 12 threatened animal species in the area. You might even spot a lyrebird, the wildlife emblem of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    • Byarong Park picnic area Easily accessible and featuring all the facilities needed to enjoy a barbecue, the popular Byarong Park picnic area also offers walking track access and birdwatching.
    • Forest walk to Sublime Point track Combining several hiking tracks, this extended day walk is one of the region’s best, taking in scenic views of the coast and Sydney, with access to nearby forest picnic spots.

    How it all began

    Sublime Point lookout, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    The Illawarra Escarpment lands were occupied by the Wodi Wodi Aboriginal people for 20,000 years. As such, they are a source of cultural legends and of continuing spiritual significance: Mount Kembla and Mount Keira, for example, feature in a number of creation stories. The conversation area also contains traditional routes of travel between the coastal plain and the plateau.

    • Mount Kembla Ring track Taking in a significant Aboriginal site, local heritage, stunning scenic rainforest and a notable landmark, the Mount Kembla Ring track offers a taste of everything.

    Our colonial past

    Mount Kembla lookout, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    The Illawarra Escarpment area is full of important local heritage, including colonial roads like the ones constructed by Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell around 1834. Some were even built by convicts. Keep your eyes open for buildings, portals, rail tracks and other features from former farming and coal mining.

    • Mount Keira Ring track Encircling Mount Keira, the ring track passes through the varied terrains and forests of the Illawarra Escarpment, starting and finishing in a perfect picnic spot.

    Weekend city escape

    Rhododendron Park picnic area, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Photo: Nick Cubbin

    Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area's convenient proximity to the city and public transport options means it has become an important venue for sports and recreation - on weekends it buzzes with hikers, picnickers, and cyclists.

    • Byarong Park picnic area Easily accessible and featuring all the facilities needed to enjoy a barbecue, the popular Byarong Park picnic area also offers walking track access and birdwatching.
    • Robertson lookout The most scenic views of Mount Keira can be found at Robertson’s lookout, and tables make this a terrific picnic spot as well.

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