Duration: 1 Hours
Child Friendly: Yes
Dog Friendly: No
The easy Hermitage Foreshore Track is one of Sydney's great urban coastal walks. It's a wonderful way to explore Sydney Harbour from the perspective of South Head. The walk begins from Nielsen Park and follows a well-maintained path along the narrow strip of harbour-side bushland to the Bayview Hill Road.
Along the way, you will catch Instagram-worthy glimpses of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Shark Island, and Opera House. Don't forget to pack swimmers and sunscreens, as you will pass by many tiny beaches so secluded that you will feel isolated from the world. You will also visit the historic Strickland House, a heritage-listed Victorian Italianate mansion built in the 1850s. Multi-million dollar homes along the way will introduce you to the marvellous real estate industry of Sydney. So make sure you carry your camera on the walk as Hermitage Foreshore track offers stunning views of Sydney Harbour, historical icons, islands, beaches and many more.
History and Development
Hermitage Foreshore, located in Sydney Harbour, is managed and secured by the Harbour Foreshores Vigilance Committee. The committee was formed in 1905 with William Notting as secretary. William Notting was an enthusiastic campaigner against the alienation of Harbour foreshore lands. He urged for taking steps to prevent Sydney Harbour from becoming a private lake. The committee established the Foreshore Resumptions Scheme and created Nielsen Park. At that time, the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve and Strickland House were also reclaimed.
The newly formed Nielsen Park Reserve spanned over 51 acres of land, including Shark Beach, Bottle and Glass Point, a parcel of land belonging to George Donaldso, etc. Greycliffe Estate became the part of Nielsen Park Reserve in 1911. The Battery at Steele Point remained in the ownership of Commonwealth of Australia ownership.
Hermitage Foreshore Track offers almost all kinds of activities that walkers would expect. There are netted swimming areas, secret beaches to get away from the crowd, picnic areas and places of historical significance. You can also involve in activities such as nature walking, fishing, sightseeing and interacting with residents to understand the culture and lifestyle of people living in this part of Australia. You will have huge quality time with your family or friends in grassy gardens, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
The government is upgrading the track to preserve its natural environment and make it accessible to more visitors.
Get to Greycliffe Avenue Car Park by car or bus. Free parking is available for cars. You can get back from the end of the Bayview Hill Road by car or bus.
The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is a gem of Sydney Harbour coastal walks. It offers some of the most picturesque yet secluded spots for picnics, swimming, exploration, and to have some quality time with your loved ones.
Get to Greycliffe Avenue car park. From its lower end, walk along the sealed path towards the water, crossing 'Sydney Harbour National Park' sign. After 50 meters, you will notice a four-way intersection. From there, walk straight, and the path will soon bend left. The walk heads behind the beach. Around 50m after heading over the 'Dressing Pavilion' tunnel, you will reach the front of the Nielsen Park Cafe to have postcard-perfect water views.
Shark Bay sits at the northern end of Nielsen Park. This Sydney beach has a swimming net enclosure, change rooms, public toilets, and showers. Shark Bay is a famous spot in Nielsen Park and also has a cafe.
Nielsen Park Cafe
This historic cafe opens 8-5 daily and has inside seating with a range of meals, snacks, and beverages. Relax at the cafe and have some snacks before going further.
From the cafe, continue straight, and you will cross the 'William Albert Notting' and 'Niels R.W. Nielsen, MLA' memorial to soon find a four-way intersection. Walk straight, and you will see the 'Hermitage Foreshore Walking Track' sign up the stairs. The path then flattens out through the open grassy area and heads up a few steps to arrive at an intersection next to the fenced degaussing range.
Situated at Steele Point, this degaussing range was built in 1960 and is operated by the Royal Australian Navy. Degaussing involves removing a magnetic field, and this degaussing range services four areas in the harbour to automatically de-magnetise metal ships passing over it to prevent the triggering of seabed mines.
Optional side trip to Steele Point Gun Emplacement
From the intersection, turn right keeping the degaussing range fence to your left. At the end of the driveway, walk across the grass to find the Steele Point Gun Emplacement. This sandstone pit once had a steel dome. It was used as a part of gun emplacements series to protect from the threat of invasion. Today, there is a series of tall sandstone channels and the circular pit where the main guns once placed. Take care in the area, as it is unfenced. At the end of this historical side trip, walk back to the main track and turn right.
Steele Point Cottage
Crossing the 'Steele Point Cottage' sign, the walk heads to an intersection featuring a large 'Hermitage Foreshore Walk' sign, on your right. Constructed in 1880, Steele Point Cottage is a one-time barracks for gunners. It has now been restored into one bedroom getaway managed by NPWS. This cottage is available for hire for two on a romantic gateway.
Steele Point Lookout
Veer right from the Steele Point Intersection towards the 'Hermitage Foreshore Walk' sign down the sandstone stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, you will cross a 'Surviving in the city' information sign, and after 25m, you will arrive at a fenced lookout with scenic water, harbour and city views.
Turn left from the lookout, up the steps. The track continues along the main track, past more fenced and unfenced Sydney harbour views and 90m later, you will head down a few steps to the foreshore with some awesome rock formations. From here, keep walking past the small inlet on handrail along the coastline. After 150m, you will notice an intersection marked with 'Surviving in the City' information sign.
Veer right from the intersection and walk down a few steps to walk while having great harbour views. Then head up some steps, coming to a minor intersection. Turn right and head down the hill where the track turns left and down some steps onto the northern end of Milk Beach.
Milk Beach is a small, secluded and sandy beach that looks straight out toward the Sydney skyline. You will have some amazing views across the water to Sydney Harbour and Shark Island. Sit on the beach to relax and enjoy for a while. It's also a great place to get your toes wet.
Turn left from Milk Beach and head up the steps on the southeastern end of the beach to notice a large 'Hermitage Foreshore Walk' sign. Turn right and head up the stone stairs to find a large grassy clearing and picnic tables at the back of Strickland House.
Strickland House was constructed in 1913 and named after then-Governor of NSW, Sir Gerald Strickland. It was a women's convalescent home until 1989, and today, the house and gardens are available for private functions on rent. For those on walking, it's a great spot to take a break and relax.
Optional side trip to Tingara Beach
Walk straight from the Strickland House picnic area, crossing the 'Hermitage Foreshore Walk - Tingara Beach' sign. At the end of the lawn, the walk heads through the gap in the fence and after 20m, there is an intersection at the top of Tingara Beach track.
Walk right from the intersection and head downhill along the rocky steps to arrive at Tingara Beach. Relax at the beach and then, retrace your steps back to the main track and turn right.
Ralph Newboult Lookout
Walk straight from the intersection towards another minor intersection. Take the main track towards a three-way intersection and keep straight to head down the few sandstone steps leading towards some steps that meet a large rock with a handrail. Soon, you will cross sandstone wall and down the brick some sandstone steps, to find the Ralph Newboult Lookout.
The lookout is a shaded historic spot with great views across Sydney Harbour and the city. Ralph was a bushwalker who led walks most Wednesdays for NSW's National Parks Association. His sudden death while walking in November 2000 startled his family and many who walked with him.
Hermit Bay Beach
Walk straight from Ralph Newboult Lookout keeping the water on your right and head up the following steps. You will walk behind the houses and then down the brick steps to follow the path behind Hermit Bay beach to a shady spot small bridge, near fascinating rock formations.
Now, you are at Hermit Bay, a 40m-wide, east-facing sandy beach. Lined with many natural sandstone sculptures, this beach is a wonderful and peaceful place to enjoy the harbour views.
From Hermit Bay Beach, veer right and cross the small bridge while following the foreshore. You will notice a grassy clearing signposted 'Hermit Point.'
Hermit Point is surrounded by a sandstone sea wall that hosts some boat pens, a launch, and a timber wharf. There are some picnic tables, natural shade, and a small sandstone cave. Hermitage Bay and Hermitage Point derive their name from a large house, known as 'The Hermitage,' behind this point. Originally built in 1840 by Alexander Dick, this property was turned into a Victorian Rustic Gothic house in the 1870s by Edward Mason Hunt.
Walk left from Hermit Point and follow the concrete path up the hill. Turn left and walk up the steps, over a small creek, and down another staircase to a three-way intersection. Veer right and head down the steps towards the Queens Beach. Come to a boardwalk, a 'Hermitage Foreshore Walk - Queens Beach' sign and walk down some steps leading to the beach.
Framed by greenery and purple flowers, Queens Beach is a west-facing beach near Queens Avenue Vaucluse. Enjoy beautiful views across the Harbour Bridge and the city, and splash your feet.
Continue straight behind Queens Beach to walk on the timber boardwalk, keeping the beach on your right. You will cross the handrail past many harbour views and then some sandstone steps. After 40m from the top of the staircase, you will pass the fenced Convent of the Sacred Heart Cemetery. After 35m, you will pass a minor intersection and continue along the main track. After 90m, follow the concrete path which soon turns left and leads to the end of Bayview Hill Road.
A Recent TripAdvisor Review:
" Lovely walk along the boardwalk all the way. Lots of steps. Beautiful views the whole way across the harbour and the city with great views of the bridge in the distance."
Ensure that you and your group are well-prepared to tackle all possible delays and hazards. Check weather information and park closures before starting. Allow extra time for resting and exploring the areas on the way.
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