The Shire's Most Scenic Walks

By Shire Scout
30 May, 2022

From the coast to the rainforest, we’re spoilt for choice. 

There is a reason why Sydneysiders joke that Shire locals rarely venture very far. Stretching from the iconic beaches of Cronulla to the leafy oasis of The Royal National Park, The Shire offers up plenty to do, see and explore. When it comes to embarking on a scenic walk, there are options aplenty. Here we count down a few of our faves...

Temptation Creek and The Holy Trail

This walk is best enjoyed in Spring due to the abundance of wildflowers and opportunities for a creek-side picnic. Start your journey by parking at the end of Greenhaven Road, Grays Point. There are no signposts but the fire trail gate is a great place to enter the track. Whilst the fire trail is not the most scenic portion of the walk, you’ll find a sea of flannel flowers to enjoy along the way. After ten minutes you’ll come to a fork in the road - take the track to the right which will immediately begin descending to Temptation Creek (don’t follow the Honeymoon stairs track). Once you reach the creek, cross over and take your first left. The Holy Trail isn’t well-signposted so this part is best left for confident walkers. You’ll follow the creek for a short while before ascending once again. Eventually, you’ll emerge back onto Bungoona Track from which you can head back to Greenhaven Road. Be sure to watch out for bike riders as this is a popular trail!

Distance: Approx 4 km
Difficulty: Medium - hard
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Dog friendly: No

The EsplanadeThe Esplanade, Cronulla (photo credit: SVPlace)

Whilst The Esplanade isn’t quite a ‘wild adventure’ it’s worthy of a place on this list purely due to the sweeping coastal views. Plus, any walk with a multitude of coffee stops along the way will always be our winner in our books. You can carve this walk up however you please as there are entrance and exit points the whole way along. If you’re in for the long haul, park up alongside Wanda Beach and follow the pavement right along to Bass and Flinders Point. Fully accessible, there are also plenty of toilet stops along the way.

Distance: Approx 4km one way
Difficulty: Easy 
Time: 45 mins - 1 hour 
Dog friendly: Yes

Greenhills to Boat Harbour

It wouldn’t be a round-up of the best walks in The Shire without mention of this classic beach walk. Most scenic at sunrise and sunset, it’s an oldie but a goodie. The entire walk can be done barefoot, with sand sinking beneath your toes, and there are endless opportunities to swim if you fancy cooling off. You can enjoy views back to the Cronulla coastline and out towards the elusive horizon. And, of course, the entire walk is dog-friendly so whether you have a furry friend of your own to join you, or just enjoy a spot of dog watching, you’ll meet plenty of happy faces along the way.

Distance: 8 km
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 2 hours
Dog friendly: Yes, before 10am and after 3pm (4pm in summer)

Honeymoon Track to Audley

The Honeymoon track is the perfect Saturday morning nature fix. This walk begins behind the Environmental Education Centre at 146 Farnell Ave in the Royal National Park , the walk takes you through sun-dappled bushland, past caves and down into peaceful Audley. Grab a coffee at Audley Dance Hall & Cafe and if you have time, settle in to enjoy their scrummy homestyle breaky or lunch menu. The walk back is quite steep so make sure you enjoy the rest whilst you can! 

NOTE: Please check the Royal National Park website for any closures before leaving home - you will want to make sure Audley Weir is open as you will not be able to get to the all important Dance Hall Cafe if it is closed.

Distance: 2 km return
Difficulty: Medium
Time: 30 mins - 1 hour each way
Dog friendly: No

Barden’s Creek Blue Walk

One for the confident bushwalker, Barden’s Creek trail begins directly opposite ANSTO and Rutherford Avenue. Park up and make your way down to the fire trail, taking the first path to your left. We recommend making use of the app AllTrails to help you stay on track as this walk is not signposted. The trail will have you following Barden’s Creek until it emerges onto a divine blue swimming hole, nestled amongst a rocky amphitheatre. The perfect place for a wild dip.

Distance: 3.5 km
Difficulty: Medium
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Dog friendly: Yes

Forest PathForest Path (Photo Credit(@moore_to_adventure)

The Forest Path is as magical as it sounds. You start the walk at the stone gates on Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and follow Bola Creek past cabbage tree palms, mossy rocks, ferns and vines. Sun dappled and deeply green, you’ll be whipping out your phone for snaps every few minutes. There’s definitely a Jurassic Park vibe going on. There are plenty of tucked away nooks to take advantage of so be sure to pack a picnic. This walk is particularly great for hot days as it’s shady and cool due to the rainforest canopy. Don’t forget to check the National Parks website for any road or track closures and remember to purchase a day pass to the Park!

Distance: 4.4km loop
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Dog friendly: No

Eagle Rock

Starting at the Wattamolla car park in the Royal National Park, the hike to Eagle Rock is one of our favourites. From the top car park, you can head to the track signposted “The Coast Track” and be on your way. Traversing the coastline, there is so much to see from the towering sandstone cliffs to the abundance of birdlife and wildflowers. Much of the walk utilises boardwalks that snake across the scrub creating a scenic moment of their own. Be sure to pack a picnic because almost anywhere you settle down for a snack will be one of your most picturesque picnic spots to date. And here’s your handy reminder to check the National Parks website for any road or track closures and to grab a ticket from the Park’s visitors centre on arrival. 

Distance: 6.6 km (return)
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 3-3.5 hours
Dog friendly: No

Cape Bailey Track

Known for its whale watching opportunities, The Cape Bailey Track is a delight in its own right. As the walk is within Kamay Botany Bay National Park you will need to snag a parking ticket from the visitor centre. The walk begins at the Cape Solander lookout and will take you all the way to the solitary Cape Bailey lighthouse. Keep your eyes peeled if you're hiking between June and September for any breaching whales.

Distance: 6 km (return)
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 3 hours
Dog friendly: No

Karloo PoolsKarloo Pools (Photo Credit: She Who Hikes)

Wild swimmers, this one is for you! As the best place to begin this walk is by parking up at Heathcote train station, the Karloo walking track is a great walk for users of public transport, too. The walk to the pools is relatively easy as it is largely downhill and will take you through iconic Aussie bushland. Upon arriving at the pool (known as one of the best wild swimming spots in Sydney!) you’ll find plenty of places to lay a towel down for a relaxing few hours of swimming, picnicking and sunbathing. Whilst it is quite a popular destination amongst locals and visitors alike, there is plenty of space for everyone with the pool measuring an impressive 15 x 30 metres, inviting swimmers in with it’s deep emerald sheen and clear waters.

Distance: 6 km (return)
Difficulty: Medium
Time: 2 hours
Dog friendly: No

Shire Scout

Shire Scout

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Gerrale Street, Cronulla

Quest Cronulla Beach

1 Kingsway, Cronulla

T: 02 8536 3600

Cronulla and National Park Ferry Cruises

1 Tonkin Street, Cronulla

T: 02 9523 2990

Rydges Cronulla Beachside

20 - 26 The Kingsway, Cronulla

T: 02 9527 3100

Engadine Motor Inn

1229-1233 Princes Highway, Engadine

T: 02 9520 8166

Bundeena Kayaks

2 Seabreeze Lane, Bundeena

T: 0419 254 981


Old Princes Highway, Engadine

Sydney Tramway Museum

Cnr. Pitt St. & Rawson Ave (Old Princes Hwy), Loftus

T: 02 9542 3646

Metro Hotel Miranda

522 Kingsway (Corner of Jackson Avenue), Miranda

T: 1800 004 321

Cronulla Beach

20-38 Gerrale Street, Cronulla

T: 02 9710 0333