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South Head Heritage Trail

Greater Sydney

Sydney Harbour National Park


Distance (kms):

1.8 kms

Time (hrs):

Allow 1 hr

Elevation gain (m):

27 m

Max. elevation (m):

21 m

Difficulty (Grade):

Easy (Grade 3)

Route type:





2WD Sufficient

Click to see full image.

An easy but feature-packed walk including beaches, Sydney Harbour and city skyline views, military history and the Hornby Lighthouse.

This heavily trafficked walk starts from the Camp Cove car park at the end of Cliff Street in Watsons Bay.

The walk begins with Camp Cove Beach, a tranquil little cove with a jetty and fantastic views of the city skyline. Head across the beach and up the stairs to start the walk (left path goes to the jetty, right to the walk).

After a short distance you walk across a section of cobblestone road laid in the 1870’s, before reaching an historical cannon, with more great views across the harbour.

Continue from here along a vehicle-access restricted road, before you return to the path and arrive at Lady Bay Beach, another small and sheltered beach with harbour views. Note that this is a clothes-optional beach.

A set of steep stairs at the southern end of the beach takes you to the shoreline, while at the northern end, there is a lookout platform with views down onto the beach and across the harbour.

The path continues from the beach, before looping around the headland. While this can be completed in either direction, the elevation profile is easier if done clockwise.

Pass the Lightkeeper’s Cottage and more old military fortifications and historic gun emplacements, before arriving at the distinctive red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse, a heritage-listed scenic lighthouse built in 1858. 

While rounding the headland, enjoy magnificent views across the harbour to Middle and North Head.

The walk is also a fantastic spot for whale watching during the season (June-October).

This walk can be paired with the nearby Gap Bluff Track (there is actually a path through the bush that links the walks), which offers more incredible views of the dramatic coastline, or the Hermitage Foreshore Track in nearby Rose Bay. 

If the views across to North Head piqued your interest, venture there for the Fairfax Walk or Bradleys Head Track.

You will find public toilets at both Camp Cove Beach and Lady Bay Beach.

Track: The trail involves mostly concrete paths. While there are occasional steps, the walk is relatively flat. The track is well-signed and easy to follow. 

Difficulty: The track is relatively easy and suitable for all fitness levels.

Note that the beaches are unpatrolled. Swim with caution and supervise children at all times.

Direction: This is an out-and-back track that returns the way you came, with a short loop around the headland.

getting there

The walk starts from the Camp Cove carpark at the end of Cliff Street in Watsons Bay, 30 mins drive east of Sydney. 

The car park is small and becomes extremely busy during peak periods, including weekends.

Additional street parking can be found along Cliff Street, as well as the surrounding side-streets (parking fees and time limits may apply). 

best time to go

The walk can be completed year-round. 

Click title on the map above to view larger map
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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