Malabar Headland National Park

Overview

Malabar Headland National Park offers dramatic coastal views and walks between Maroubra and Malabar beaches, in Sydney's east. The western section of the park is open year-round. The eastern section is closed when ANZAC Rifle Range is in use so check safety messages and alerts before visiting.

Read more about Malabar Headland National Park

Dramatic cliff top views and rugged bushland make Malabar Headland National Park a popular spot for coast walks and fishing. Keep an eye out for humpbacks cruising the Pacific Ocean during whale watching season too.

Tucked between public beaches and parks, the natural landscape is dominated by towering cliffs, sandstone escarpments and remnant heritage structures. Get away from the urban crowds and discover expansive views all the way north to Bondi and south to La Perouse.

If you're looking to cool off in summer you'll find popular swimming spots nearby, with Maroubra Beach and Malabar Beach located near either end of Western Escarpment walking track and Boora Point walking track. And nature lovers will find several species of wildlife and protected vegetation, including the critically endangered eastern suburbs banksia scrub.

ANZAC Rifle Range

The eastern section of Malabar Headland National Park is subject to closure when the adjacent ANZAC Rifle Range is in use. This is the largest rifle range in the southern hemisphere and is headquarters to the New South Wales Rifle Association. Please check all safety messages and alerts before visiting.

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/visit-a-park/parks/malabar-headland-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Malabar Headland National Park.

Getting there and parking

The main entry points to Malabar Headland National Park are accessed from Anzac Parade, Malabar Road and Fishermans Road.

From Sydney CBD to the western section of the park:

  • Follow Anzac Parade, passing through Maroubra until you reach Pioneers Park carpark, on your left
  • Follow Pioneers walking track to the north of the carpark until you reach the national park entry (approximately 350 metres)
  • You can also access the park from the south eastern corner of the Arthur Byrne carpark

From Sydney CBD to the eastern section of the park:

  • Take Anzac Parade, or the M1 and Wentworth Avenue, to Maroubra
  • Take Fitzgerald Avenue toward Maroubra Beach
  • At the end of Fitzgerald Avenue, turn right at the roundabout into Bernie Kelly Drive in Arthur Byrne Reserve
  • The national park can be accessed from the south eastern corner of the Arthur Byrne carpark

Parking

Parking is available at:

  • Western section: South Maroubra Beach carpark, Arthur Byrne Reserve, Pioneers Park carpark and Ford Road.
  • Eastern section: South Maroubra Beach carpark, Arthur Byrne Reserve and Fishermans Road carpark

Please note parking is limited in this park and on busy days there may be no place to park.

By bike

Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information. 

By public transport

Malabar Headland National Park is accessible by bus from Sydney City and Eastgardens.

  • From the city to Marine Parade, South Maroubra, take bus 395, 396 or 397
  • From the city or La Perouse to Malabar and Pioneers Park take bus L94, 393 or 399
  • From Eastgardens to Maroubra Beach take bus 317 or 353

For more information about public transport options and timetables, visit the Transport NSW Info website.

Best times to visit

Spring

The critically endangered eastern suburbs banksia scrub is in flower along with other plant species that attract birds such as New Holland Honeyeaters. If you missed the winter whales heading north, there’s still a chance to spot them as they return to the food-rich Antarctic waters.

Summer

Bring your swimsuit to enjoy popular Maroubra Beach and Malabar Beach at the beginning or end of your walk in the park. If you’re planning a picnic with the family, the western section of the park offers more shade than the eastern section.

Winter

Keep an eye out for humpback whales on their annual migration, as you walk along Boora Point or Western Escarpment walking tracks. If you’re very lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the rarer southern right whale, which cruise close by the headland on their way up to tropical waters.

Facilities

There are no facilities within the national park. Toilets, bins, carparks and dog walking areas are located nearby at the council-managed Pioneers Park and Arthur Byrne Reserve.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

ANZAC rifle range closures

  • When the nearby ANZAC Rifle Range is operating, the eastern section of the park is closed to public access. 
  • The eastern section of the park is always closed on Saturdays and every first and third Sunday of the month.It is often closed on weekdays also.
  • Always check the local alerts before planning to visit
  • Please do not enter the eastern section of the park if red flags are flying above the Rifle Range and observe area closure signs at all times
  • More safety information can be found on the NSW Rifle Association website

Rifle range safety procedures

The NSW Rifle Association (NSWRA) is responsible for range safety during operation, including the danger template encompassing the eastern part of the park.

Prior to conducting live firing at the range, the New South Wales Rifle Association will:

  • Erect 'closed area' signage at rifle range and park entry points (Fishermans Road and South Maroubra Beach)
  • Close and lock the park access gates (Fishermans Road and South Maroubra Beach)
  • Carry out physical checks of the range complex and all restricted areas, including the park to ensure the area contains no unauthorised persons.
  • Station security personnel at the rifle range and park entry points for the duration of range operation (Fishermans Road and South Maroubra Beach)
  • Erect red danger flags at the rifle range boundary and above the targets.

Bushwalking safety

There are high, unstable cliffs and no barriers in Malabar Headland National Park. Please supervise children closely and stick to marked walking routes.

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

Visit the Water Safety website for more information on staying safe when rock fishing.

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.

While fishing is permitted at Malabar Headland, it can be very dangerous. Life jackets are compulsory when rock fishing. Please see our fishing safety page for more.

Recreational fishing off Magic Point is permitted. However, line fishing is prohibited more than 50m offshore because Magic Point is a critical habitat area for the endangered grey nurse shark. Check this map showing the critical habitat area

Prohibited

Cycling

Bicycles and trail bikes are not permitted on walking tracks in Malabar Headland National Park.

Drones

Flying recreational drones is not permitted in this park because it is located within 5.5km of an airfield or helicopter landing site. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) states that drones should not be flown within 30m of vehicles, boats, buildings or people, or within 5.5km of an airfield. Drones can also impact on public enjoyment and privacy, interfere with park operations, and may pose a threat to wildlife in some areas. 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.

Fishing

Line fishing is prohibited more than 50m offshore because Magic Point is a critical habitat area for the endangered grey nurse shark. Check this map showing the critical habitat 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.

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.

Nearby towns

Maroubra

Famous for its consistent waves, Maroubra Beach is a popular destination for experienced surfers and beginners keen to learn from the local experts. The beach is 40 minutes by bus from the city centre.

www.sydney.com

Sydney City Centre

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

Malabar Headland National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

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.

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.

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.

  • 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.

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

What we're doing

Malabar Headland National Park has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents.

Conserving our Aboriginal culture

Malabar Headland National Park aims to manage Aboriginal sites with guidance from the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council. Ongoing research and maintenance of an Aboriginal sites register within the park is a priority in Malabar.

Developing visitor facilities and experiences

NPWS will continue to improve and maintain visitor park facilities such as walking tracks, lookouts, day use facilities and signage.

Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

Malabar has a unique historic heritage, NPWS will continue to work towards protecting these areas from vandalism and investigate safe options for public access.

Managing fire

Fire will be managed in accordance with Living with Fire in NSW National Parks – A strategy for managing bushfires in national parks and reserves 2012-2021. A Reserve Fire Management Strategy will be prepared for Malabar Headland National Park and made available to the public.

Preserving biodiversity

The biodiversity of Malabar Headland National Park is protected by minimising the impacts of visitor use, weeds and pest animals, and regenerating important plant communities using local endemic species.

Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

Pests and weeds have a significant impact on the ecosystems within Malabar Headland National Park. NPWS, in conjunction with the community group Friends of Malabar Headland, carries out regular works to protect biodiversity in this park.

View to magic point from cliffs in Malabar Headland National Park. Photo: C Weston/OEH