Date: 1/11/2023
Trip leader: Wing Chun Sze
Party: Anna, Maritza, Thomas, Weixi

It’s midday and the group met up at Cronulla Wharf. A casual easy walk like this allows for a later start where other plans can be made in the morning or at night. The coastal track starts at Bundeena which is 20 minutes away from Cronulla on a ferry, running once every hour. Some T4 trains are scheduled to meet up with the ferry with a transfer time of 7 minutes (it’s a 4-minute walk from the station to the wharf) but I got everyone to take the earlier one since T4 trains are always late. I woke up late after a night shift on the previous day, rushed to grab lunch and ironically missed the earlier train I told everyone to take. On the train, I emailed everyone to meet me at the wharf (which thankfully everyone did) and once I arrived at Cronulla on a 2-minute late train I ran down to the wharf, meeting everyone minutes before the ferry departure.

The privately run Cronulla ferry is perhaps the best ferry experience in Sydney. Old timber boats dating as far back as the 1940s still operate to this day with only minor modifications such as steel railings. On a weekday it was mostly Bundeena locals that used the ferry and we had a nice chat at the outdoor seating area. On the way out of Cronulla coastal houses line the shore as the ferry navigates through the narrow channels around parked yachts. One of them had a dinosaur on its balcony, and we were told the story that the dinosaur was on display at Miranda Cinema when Jurassic Park 2 was still being shown and was then taken home.

The small ferry boats also allowed them to operate on shallow waterways. Back in the day the ferry operated as far as Audley in Royal National Park, where the current visitor centre is, near the track to Uloola Falls. The ferry service was suspended when modern-day people became obsessed with cars, and it’s not uncommon for people who don’t want to walk to drive down to Wattamolla Beach for a day out (instead of walking).

Bundeena Wharf

A friendly Bundeena resident decides to show us a hidden military lookout by the coastal track. We first went up the suburban streets and then shortly into the entrance of the park. There was a giant spider in the toilet at the trailhead the last time I was there, but it appears that it’s now gone. That guy, carrying a massive backpack with an Australian Government patch, dives into the bush around the toilet searching for bushtuckers. Some gave it a go feeling its sweet taste out of the leaves. The bush near the first bit of the walk also appeared burnt, a result of recent fuel reduction burns. Not much sign of burn could be seen as sunlight in recent days brought fast regrowth of plants.

Shortly the track leads to the coastline, and this is where we hop off onto the rock shelf in search of the military lookout. A bit of scrambling along the coast leads to a minor track where we see a shelf doubling as the roof. The lookout was built as a defence against a potential Japanese invasion in WWII and has been left abandoned since then.

The lookout structure was supported barely by lots of temporary fixes by Bundeena residents. Sand was dripping off the massive sandstone on top which led to a rather sandy floor. The place has fortunately been kept rather unknown leaving it for the residents to enjoy, sometimes camping and starting a firepit in this closed space. The wall was sadly tagged by a few and as that person said roughly, “Go tag in Mt Everest and I’ll call that impressive”.

Soon we parted ways with our lovely guest and headed down towards Wedding Cake Rock, down the easy track on the escarpment. The rock has been fenced off for years with tall fences due to safety concerns. After that it was Marley Beach, a remote beach within easy reach of Sydney where we took our break.

We made our way up onto the sand dune in the middle of the beach, giving us unobstructed views over the lagoon at the back and the ocean in the front. Being a half-day trip it was a short break before we took our group photo and started heading back.

On the beach one found a skeleton of an unknown sea animal, looking very similar to a pufferfish. I asked my friend who guessed it was a longhorn cowfish but we’re still not sure. The person who took it, being an artist herself, bought it home and hopefully that inspires some artistic creations.

We went back to Bundeena straight after, petting a cute dog in the suburb as we walked past. The same ferry brought us back to Cronulla where we jumped on a T4 train back to the city.

P.S.: Uni has been busy so there’s been a backlog of trip reports. Will catch up with reports of my latest trips soon 🙂

interesting find on someone’s backpack