Mount Kembla Ring track

Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

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.

Where
Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area
Distance
5.3km loop
Time suggested
2hrs 30min - 3hrs 30min
Grade
Grade 4
Price
Free
Opening times

The track is always open, but it is recommended that the walk only be attempted during daylight hours.

What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • Take care and watch for motor vehicles while walking on Cordeaux Road.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird watch.

Mount Kembla is a significant Aboriginal site for the Wodi Wodi people, featuring in many of their creation stories. The impressive natural landmark also acts as a dramatic backdrop for the Ring track, with lush vegetation and a glimpse of local history on a terrific 5km loop.

With access to the scenic Kembla lookout (via the Summit track), there’s much to see, from native birdwatching to spectacular views of the NSW coast. So don’t forget your hiking boots.

The Ring track quickly descends from shaded slopes into cool rainforest. Cycling offers a thrilling alternative on the fire trail. Also, note the closed entrances to two early coal mines – the area is rich with fascinating Illawarra heritage.

Take a virtual tour of Mount Kembla 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-kembla-ring-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 Mount Kembla Ring track.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    2hrs 30min - 3hrs 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Very steep

  • Distance

    5.3km loop

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Mount Kembla Ring track is in the Mount Kembla precinct of Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. To get there from Sydney:

    • Drive south on the Princes Motorway (M1) to West Wollongong.
    • Take the exit for Princes Highway, heading south.
    • Continue for 2.5km, then turn right onto Cordeaux Road.
    • Stay on Cordeaux Road for about 7km to reach the carpark at Mount Kembla lookout (on your left hand side).

    Walk across the small clearing next to the carpark to reach the trackhead. Veer right and follow signs for Mount Kembla Ring track.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at the carpark at Mount Kembla lookout.

    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

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    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 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

    Gathering firewood

    Firewood may not be gathered in Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area.

    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.

    Learn more

    Mount Kembla 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.

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