Western Escarpment walking track

Malabar Headland National Park

Overview

Get back to nature on Western Escarpment walking track in Sydney's Malabar Headland National Park, near Maroubra. This short track through native heath boasts coastal views, bird life and wildflowers.

Where
Malabar Headland National Park
Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Distance
1km one-way
Time suggested
20 - 30min
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • Please stay on the marked track to protect the sensitive vegetation and avoid hazards.
  • Bring your binoculars during June and July to spot migrating humpback whales or frolicking seals off the coast.
  • This walk offers a year-round alternative to Boora Point walking track, which closes when the ANZAC Rifle Range is in use.

Western Escarpment walking track winds through an island of unspoiled bushland in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Purpose-built by Randwick City Council and NSW National Parks, the track connects South Maroubra Beach with Malabar and is a vital new link in the iconic Eastern Beaches coastal walkway.

Starting from Arthur Byrne Reserve or Pioneers Park you’ll climb the exposed sandstone escarpment. There are seats along the way to stop and soak in the natural beauty. At its highest point, the walk treats you to 3600 views over Malabar Headland, Maroubra Beach, and Botany Bay from a natural sandstone platform.

This protected area teems with bird and animal life. Keep an eye out for red wattlebirds, new holland honeyeaters and blue fairy wrens in the heath. You might spot kestrels and sea eagles searching for prey above, as you walk through the endangered eastern suburbs banksia scrub.

Why not combine your nature walk with a day at Maroubra or Malabar Beach, or picnic at the nearby public parks? For a longer walk, connect with Boora Point walking track in the eastern section of the park (when it’s open) for a 5km loop, or continue along the Eastern Beaches coastal walkway.

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/western-escarpment-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Western Escarpment walking track.

Track grading

Grade 3

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

    20 - 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    1km one-way

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Western Escarpment walking track is in the western section of Malabar Headland National Park.

To get to Arthur Byrne Reserve carpark from Sydney city:

  • Drive south along Anzac Parade
  • Turn left onto Fitzgerald Avenue towards Maroubra Beach
  • At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Bernie Kelly Drive
  • The carpark is at the end of Bernie Kelly Drive

To get to Pioneers Park carpark from Sydney city:

  • Drive south along Anzac Parade, passing through Maroubra
  • Pioneers Park is on your left, before you reach Malabar
  • Follow the Pioneers walking track around 350m to the north of the carpark to reach the national park and track head

Parking

  • Free parking is available at the south end of Maroubra Beach at Arthur Byrne Reserve carpark. The track head is 50m from the carpark.
  • You can also park at Pioneers Park in Malabar. The track head is 350m from the carpark.

Facilities

There are no facilities in Malabar Headland National Park. Toilets, picnic tables and barbecues are available at Arthur Byrne Reserve and Pioneers Park. Please take all waste out of the park and use rubbish bins at Pioneers Park or Arthur Byrne Reserve.

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.

This walking track passes close by unstable cliff edges. Always supervise children and stick to the marked route.

Accessibility

Disability access level - no wheelchair access

Not wheelchair-accessible.

Prohibited

Camp fires and solid fuel burners

Camping

Cycling

Bicycles and trail bikes are not permitted on Western Escarpment walking track.

Drones

Flying recreational drones is not permitted. Please contact the park office for consent if you wish to fly a drone for commercial filming or photography purposes. For more information, see the Drones in parks policy.

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.

There are off-leash dog areas at Pioneers Park and on-leash areas at Arthur Byrne Reserve. See the Randwick City Council website for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Learn more

Western Escarpment walking track is in Malabar Headland National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Ancient landscapes

View of Malabar from Malabar Headland National Park. Photo: Chad Weston/OEH

Malabar Headland National Park is part of the traditional land of the Bidjigal and Gadigal People. Malabar Headland is a significant area (Bora Ground) for Aboriginal people. The word Bora is used throughout Eastern Australia to describe an initiation site or ceremony.

Plants a plenty

Eucalyptus moorei buds on eucalyptus mallee scrub. Photo: Steve Douglas

Alive with wildflowers in spring, Malabar Headland contains the last known population of the once extensive Port Jackson mallee in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It’s also home to the eastern suburbs banksia scrub – one of the most critically endangered ecological communities in NSW. The park supports at least 7 distinct plant communities and this diversity of habitats is only matched in the eastern suburbs in Kamay Botany Bay National Park.

  • Malabar wildflower walk Come and see the wildflowers at Malabar Headland National Park. On this vibrant 2km tour, you'll see Port Jackson Mallee and the critically endangered ecological community known in the area.
  • Western Escarpment walking track Get back to nature on Western Escarpment walking track in Sydney's Malabar Headland National Park, near Maroubra. This short track through native heath boasts coastal views, bird life and wildflowers.

Dramatic cliffs

Cliffs and coastline, Malabar Headland National Park. Photo: C Weston/OEH

Malabar Headland is home to many of the pre-colonial landscapes that once occurred throughout the eastern suburbs. You’ll find coastal rock platforms, sea cliffs and headlands in the eastern section, and sandstone escarpments and remnants of aeolian sand dunes in the western section. These were believed to have been formed as a result of the last major glacial period.

  • Malabar Headland and fortification tour Join this fascinating tour at Malabar Headland National Park. Find out the history of this area. Hear the story of Malabar Battery, built during World War II to defend Sydney from possible invasion.
  • Malabar wildflower walk Come and see the wildflowers at Malabar Headland National Park. On this vibrant 2km tour, you'll see Port Jackson Mallee and the critically endangered ecological community known in the area.

Walk the coast

Humpback whale breaching off the coast of NSW. Photo: OEH

If you’re keen for a walk with never-ending ocean views as your backdrop, follow the rugged coastal cliffs along Boora Point walking track which links to the iconic eastern beaches coastal walk. During whale watching season, you might even spot a whale or two on their annual migration.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Eastern common ringtail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)

    Commonly found in forests, woodlands and leafy gardens across eastern NSW, the Australian ringtail possum is a tree-dwelling marsupial. With a powerful tail perfectly adapted to grasp objects, it forages in trees for eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruit.

  • Eastern bentwing bat. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Eastern bentwing-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis)

    In colonies numbering up to 150,000, eastern bentwing-bats congregate in caves across the east and north-west coasts of Australia. These small Australian animals weigh around 13-17g and can reach speeds of up to 50km per hour. Eastern bentwing-bats use both sight and echolocation to catch small insects mid-air.

  • Humpback whale breaching. Photo: Dan Burns

    Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    The humpback whale has the longest migratory path of any mammal, travelling over 5000km from its summer feeding grounds in Antarctica to its breeding grounds in the subtropics. Its playful antics, such as body-rolling, breaching and pectoral slapping, are a spectacular sight for whale watchers in NSW national parks.

  • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

    White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

    White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

Environments in this park

View to Maroubra Beach from Western Escarpment walking track. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH