Mount Keira Ring track

Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area

Overview

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.

Where
Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area
Distance
5.5km loop
Time suggested
3hrs 30min - 4hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 4
Opening times

The track-head at Byarong Park is open from sunrise to sunset.

Please note
It's not possible to complete the full loop of this walking track because some sections are closed:
  • The northern section of this track is closed between Mount Pleasant track up to the stairs leading to Queen Elizabeth Drive.
  • All areas of the park between Mount Keira Ring track to Mount Keira summit are closed, (except for Dave Walsh track and the rock-climbing area on the western face of Mount Keira).
  • For your own safety, please don't enter the track if signage on the ground indicates that it's closed.

Circling Mount Keira in an engaging loop, the ring track is a terrific setting for a casual hike or an energetic run. Expect to encounter a lush parade of forests and terrain, from cool sub-tropical bush to lofty red cedars and rocky outcrops. Catbirds call in the rainforest as you trace the old route of an early colonial road.

You’ll find the track-head by following the trail from the car park to the Girl Guide Camp entrance road. Cross the road, rejoining the trail on the other side. The ring track is just a short distance away.

If you want to make a day of it, pack a picnic. Byarong Park picnic area is a terrific spot to settle down for a relaxing barbecue or an afternoon ball game.

Take a virtual tour of Mount Keira Ring track 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/mount-keira-ring-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Mount Keira Ring track.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    3hrs 30min - 4hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    5.5km loop

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Byarong Park picnic area, where the track begins, is in the Mount Keira precinct of Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. To get there:

  • Heading south on the Southern Freeway from Waterfall towards Wollongong, exit at Figtree.
  • Turn left onto the Princes Highway
  • After 0.5km, turn left again onto Mount Keira Road. It is 3km to Byarong Park.

Parking

Parking is available at Byarong Park. 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 isn't available in this area, so you'll need to bring your own supply.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Please take care on this walk, stay on the track and keep a safe distance from cliff edges.

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 + 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

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.

Nearby towns

Bulli (13 km)

Bulli is a former coal-mining village with reminders of its colourful history. A coastal town, it's at the foot of the steep coastal escarpment.

www.visitnsw.com

Campbelltown (37 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

Wollongong (10 km)

There are plenty of opportunities for adventure activities in and around Wollongong ranging from surfing and swimming to sailing, hang gliding, paragliding, cycling and abseiling. Wollongong is the only place in NSW where you can skydive onto the beach.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Mount Keira Ring 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.

Education resources (1)

Mount Keira Ring track, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer