Duration: Three days
Highlights: Beaches, National Parks
Jump on the train to the Sutherland Shire and spend your weekend swimming, hiking, enjoying fabulous food and the stunning coastline and parklands of Cronulla, Bundeena and Kurnell.
Just 40 minutes by train from Sydney’s Central Station, the Cronulla coastline is on the edge of the Sutherland Shire - but its ocean border is not the only waterway in the area, the sparkling Port Hacking River and Kurnell’s Botany Bay are as much of a magical playground as the waves of the Pacific.
Visit for three days on public transport with this family-friendly itinerary.
Cronulla train station is the end of the line, so jump off, smell the salty air and cross the road into Monro Park. The landscaping here is always gorgeous and there is lots of room for kids to run around and stretch their legs after the train ride. Pay your respects at the Cronulla War Memorial in the centre of the park where the community’s ANZAC Day Dawn Service is held every year. Grab a coffee and a bacon and egg roll for breakfast at Anna’s Shop Around the Corner before dropping your bags off at your hotel, AirBNB or motel.
Stroll down to Cronulla Beach and take a dip in the surf under the watchful eye of local lifesavers, then walk along the coastal Esplanade stopping to look at the surfers out at Shark Island. At Blackwood’s Beach take an easy climb down the escarpment for a swim, and paddle in the Nuns Pool, named for the nuns at the local convent who used to swim here back in the day. Have a rest at Shelly Beach [note the ocean pool here has an accessible ramp from the park into the water] while the kids play and swing in the childrens’ park and grab lunch at the Nuns Pool Restaurant, or a burger at Shelly Park Shop.
You can follow the Esplanade all the way around to Salmon Haul Reserve, a stunning rocky bay beach on the Port Hacking River with crystal clear water, great snorkelling and a small kids play area. Wander back through Darook Park and along Gunnamatta Bay, stopping for more swims, and you will arrive back at the train station, having walked around the peninsula.
For dinner, grab fish and chips on Cronulla Beach at Blue Pacific Grille or a burger from Eat Burger, or try one of Cronulla’s many new restaurants and cafes that are redefining the suburb as a foodie destination - have your phone handy for all those intstagram-worthy shots.
In the morning it’s time to eat again, with breakfast at INC Cafe & Restaurant, Cronulla Junction, Blackwood Pantry or Gerrale St Kitchen but get in early to beat the crowds. For coffee with the locals head to Grind in the mall.
Today you are off to Bundeena in the Royal National Park - a short ride across the Port Hacking on one of NSW’s beautiful old wooden ferries, adorable in their distinctive yellow and green livery run by Cronulla Ferries. Keep an eye out for the conductors’ old leather money and ticket pouch and try to grab a seat outside for the best open views up and down the river.
When you get to Bundeena you can swim at Horderns Beach just to the right of the jetty or wander around to Bonnie Vale Picnic Grounds and hire stand up paddle boards and kayaks and spend a day playing in the waves. If you’re feeling more energetic you can try a short hike through the national park to Jibbon Head or Bundeena Lookout. Cafes in the main street can help you with lunch, and you can pick up supplies from the IGA supermarket. The Bundeena Saltwater Markets are held in the Summers Reserve on the first Sunday of every month.
It’s time for the ferry back to Cronulla and a walk through the mall to grab dinner or head out to the kid friendly Cronulla RSL where you can sit outside overlooking South Cronulla Beach and enjoy a well deserved beer and a meal.
It’s your final day here so after breakfast take a bus to Kurnell, the landing place of Captain James Cook and birthplace of of modern Australia (see Our Story). Walk around the Kamay Botany Bay National Park and up to Cape Solander Point. At certain times of the year you can see whales migrating up and down the coast and help park rangers count them for their census.
Enjoy a swim at Silver Beach after your walk, grab a pizza or a table at the Silver Beach Cafe for lunch and then hop back on the bus to Cronulla. Collect your bags and board the train at Cronulla train station back to Central after a brilliant weekend in the Shire.
What a weekend! We look forward to seeing you again.
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