Cliff-tops, caves and coastline, that’s exactly what the Royal National Park (RNP) coastal track sounds like. I edited a short video to guide you through bits of the track and more importantly to Wedding Cake Rock and our final destination, Wattamolla beach. I noticed the video lags at certain points, but I made it quickly on my phone and couldn’t really fix it (sorry). This 12km hike is only part one of our journey in completing the entire track to Otford – a further 15km walk.
After a two hour travel via train and ferry, we arrived at Bundeena and took a 10 minute walk to the beginning of the coastal track. Feeling fit at this point, the sand, rocks and grates were no match to our fitness levels… or so we thought until another 20 minutes. Arriving at various cliff-tops was relaxing however, and both the breeze and crashing waves were soothing. There are lots of good photo opportunities not only at Wedding Cake Rock, but on the cliffs while making your way there! Be sure to stay safe on the cliffs though, maybe even ask a friend to hold your hand like Kim did. Better safe than sorry.
Wedding Cake Rock now has a gate around it for safety purposes due to the large amount of visitors and unstable rocks. The signs around the gate read, “Penalties Apply” and “Don’t risk your life for a photograph.” When we arrived, it was quite crowded and people were lining up to take pictures on the rock. Few jumped the gate, and others went around it where there isn’t much space, so you have to be really careful. Being the type of person that has a care-free attitude and does things for “the thrill of it”, we went around the gate and took a couple of photographs. It didn’t take us long, and after a short break we were back on the track preparing ourselves for the beaches, mud and slightly more difficult terrain.
Following the sandy track downhill we made our way towards the coastline, the trail turns south towards Wattamolla from there. The track is easily visible in most places except for a few rocky cliff-tops and on the two beaches you cross, Marley and Little Marley Beach. However, considering we didn’t get lost, you’ll probably be perfectly fine. Just make sure to stay relatively close to the shoreline (within roughly 50m), and if anything, there is usually many other people that pass by and you could ask them for reassurance. Marley Beach is large and always quite empty, the waves and huge currents make it difficult to get into the water. Little Marley beach is more serene and slightly more populated, nothing compares to the population and peacefulness of Wattamolla though!
Towards the last 3km, it felt as though it was taking forever to get to Wattamolla. Aside from the panoramic cliff-top sections and the beaches, the remaining sections of the track vary between eucalyptus forests and unfortunately for us, lots of mud with the combinations of rocks. As it had rained a few days before, it was still muddy in some areas and it became difficult and tiring. Our determination to arrive to Wattamolla allowed us to persevere and we managed to knock out the last 1.5km pretty quickly, and beautiful views finally opened up after being in the forest for so long.
At this point the track had been sandy, rocky, and there have been elevated walkways constructed to minimise deterioration. It felt so relieving to hear so much laughter and the sound of soft waves, which guided us to Wattamolla. We arrived where people were cliff jumping and strangers were helping and encouraging each other. The view really made the whole walk worth-while.
The beach was gorgeous and extremely calming, we stayed there for a while and we knew we wouldn’t have enough time to walk back before the last ferry at 6pm. As well as that, there was no reception and so looking at the car park, I knew we would have to hitchhike. The next time we decide to do this walk, we’ll be going all the way to Otford and definitely plan it out better. Essentially there are two options:
- Start the walk REALLY early in the morning, or the more intriguing option in my opinion,
- Camp overnight at North Era Beach, roughly 9km south of Wattamolla, giving you more time to explore and no need to rush (or wake up too early).
Luckily for us, the people that agreed to give us a lift to a train station were a friendly couple and a friend of theirs. We were fortunate to discover they lived around the same area as us, and they found it no hassle to drive us to a station so close to our own. Both of us were really thankful and the song at the very end of my video (“I’m Coming Home”) was one they played in the car that all five of us peacefully enjoyed. They ended up being really cool, easy going people however, this may not always be the case and therefore, hitchhiking should be one of your last options. Hopefully, you could learn from our mistakes and make your journey slightly easier.
Extra tip: Bring spare shoes and socks if possible, even a simple pair of thongs. They will come in pretty handy when your shoes get soaked at Marley beach.
While editing the video and looking through my photographs, I was thinking about the things that went wrong that day, and then I realised adventures are the best way to learn.