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Figure Eight Pools

Greater Sydney

Royal National Park


Distance (kms):

5.6 kms

Time (hrs):

Allow 5 hrs

Elevation gain (m):

157 m

Max. elevation (m):

220 m

Difficulty (Grade):

Hard (Grade 5)

Route type:





2WD Sufficient

Click to see full image.

One of the most popular sights in the park, these incredible rock pools are a natural wonder, however care must be exercised when visiting the pools.

This heavily trafficked walk begins at the Garawarra Farm carpark, off Garie Road in Royal National Park.

Despite its beauty, it needs to be respected that the Figure Eight Pools is in an isolated location. The remoteness of the location, and the dangers posed by tidal and ocean conditions, mean that care and planning need to be exercised when visiting the pools.

Most importantly, accessibility to the rock pools, which are located on a precarious and dangerous rock shelf directly beside the ocean, is heavily dependent on tides and ocean conditions. 

It can’t be stressed enough that there are times when the pools cannot be safely reached, and when visiting them would be a pointless endeavour as they would be covered. 

Only visit at low tide – and never at mid tide or high tide, or if inclement weather is forecast.

The New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service website has a guidance chart that notes the current risk levels for visiting the pools.

While the walk is just shy of 6 kms, the terrain is steep and uneven, with many sections not involving a formed track. It is therefore advised to wear sturdy footwear, with the track not suitable for young children or prams.

With all other factors considered, it is strongly advised to visit the pools in the morning if possible. The pools are particularly beautiful at sunrise, and this is typically the only time you can avoid the crowds.

From the car park, the track heads downhill through the forest, along graded paths and constructed boardwalks. 

The track then joins up with the Coast Track, with wonderful views down to Burning Palms Beach. 

Note that the first rock shelf viewed at the end of the beach from this vantage point is not where the Figure Eight Pools are – they are located at the second rock shelf. Informative signage details what to look for to check if it is worth continuing to the beach. 

If it looks safe, head right at the fork down the hill and into the forest. Continue down a large number of steps, through a tiny village, and on to Burning Palms Beach.

Walk down onto the beach and along the beach toward the rocky cliff at the other end. Do not continue along the Coastal Track or you will end up on top of the cliffs above the pools, with no way down.

From here it a rock scramble along ocean side rock shelfs and rocky beaches around the headland. It is the next headland where the Figure Eight Pools are located. 

This section can be slippery and is the hardest part of the track. It will become obvious why it is critical to visit the pools during low tide only. 

Once at the rock pools, admire the natural wonder of what erosion can do. While the Figure Eight Pools are the most popular at the location, due to their shape, there are many other wonderful small pools here too.

It is important to remember to never turn your back on the ocean here. Even on a good day, rogue waves can occur. There is no reason to go near the edge, so stay well clear.

It is easy to become complacent due to social media portrayals of the pools as the idyllic location they can indeed be. But to be clear, this can be a very dangerous location, with numerous injuries and several avoidable deaths having occurred at Figure Eight Pools. 

The location has no lifeguard service and emergency access is also very restricted, so you must exercise caution when visiting.

To return, simply retrace your steps. Remember that all the descent to arrive at the pools will now be the ascent required to return to the car park.

There are no toilet facilities, rubbish bins or drinking water available at any point along the track to the pools. Bring what you need and be sure to protect the natural beauty of the location and take all rubbish with you.

Note that gates to car park are closed and locked at 8.30pm.

This is a great walk to add to a day-trip of the park, hitting the top sights in the park, including Wattamolla Falls and Providential Point, Eagle Rock and Curracurrong Falls, Wedding Cake Rock, and Bungoona Lookout.

Track: The trail involves mostly well-maintained graded paths and constructed boardwalks, and lots of steps. 

The section from Burning Palms Beach to Figure Eight Pools is along the beach and then rock hopping on rock shelves beside the ocean and rocky beaches. 

The track is steep, and the terrain can be very uneven and slippery at times. The track is relatively well-signed and easy to follow. 

Difficulty: The track steep and the terrain can be very uneven at times. It requires a moderate to high level of fitness. The track is not suitable for children.

Extreme caution is required along the rock shelves leading from Burning Palms Beach to the pools. These sections involve rock hopping and can be slippery. 

The location should be visited at low-tide only, has no lifeguard service and emergency access is also very restricted, so you must exercise caution when visiting.

Direction: This is an out-and-back track that returns the way you came. 

getting there

The walk is located at the Garawarra Farm carpark, off Garie Road in Royal National Park, 1.25 hours drive south of Sydney. 

The car park is large but can become extremely busy during peak periods.

best time to go

The walk can be completed year-round, but can only be visited during low-tide and when ocean conditions are calm. The pools are inaccessible at other times. 

Sunrise is a particularly great time to visit the location, if the tides and other conditions are good.

Be sure to check the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service website for updates regarding track closures and for a guide on current levels of danger at the location.

Note that there are park fees associated with entering many national parks in New South Wales. Check the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service website for more information.

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in new window [on the Garmin website]

Remember, whenever venturing into the outdoors, practice the Leave No Trace principles and be considerate of others. This means: dispose of your waste properly, don't remove things or move things from their natural position and respect all wildlife. Also be sure to plan ahead and adequately prepare for any adventure. 

I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which all activities listed on this website are found, as well as Elders past, present and emerging. I strive to not promote sites where requests have been made for people not to explore due to the cultural significance of the site to Indigenous peoples, or note how to respectfully visit a site. If I have a promoted a site with cultural significance, please send me a message and let me know.   

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