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Bushwalking track notes, photographs, maps and more for Balmoral to Middle Head Forts are found in each of the tabs below
Balmoral to Middle Head Forts
Time: 2 hrs Walking time
Please allow extra time to rest and to explore
2.1 km E of Mosman
Length: 3.9 km Walk Length
As this is a Circuit style walk, the 3.9 km includes the walking distance from the start around the loop and back to the start again
Sydney Harbour National Park
Climb: 187 m Total Climbing
This walk has a total cumulative climb of 187 m, this is the total of the elevation gains made in each of the walks uphill sections
There is car access and parking near the start and end of this walk There is a bus stop within 2km of the start and end of this walk
Style: Circuit
Track: Hard

This walk to the Middle Head fortifications is a great way to break up your day at the beach. There are plenty of places to explore, and the forts are quite interesting and historically significant. The track is well marked and has some information signs. The views of Sydney Harbour are great and it is well worth carrying a picnic lunch to allow more time to enjoy North Head. (open in app)


There are closures in Sydney Harbour National Park
Today's Fire rating
LOW MODERATE (No fire ban)
Sponsor of Balmoral to Middle Head Forts bushwalking tracknotes

Map of Walk

Location

                Sponsor of Balmoral to Middle Head Forts bushwalking tracknotes
Map of Balmoral to Middle Head Forts
Problem loading PDF Try here
Map Controls - Show Contours | Hide Path | Hide Distances | Hide Names
Map Scale 1 km
Balmoral Park car park
Int. Balmoral Park car park and Chowder Bay Trk
Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk
Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd
Fence Gate
Int. Old Fort and Govenors Rds
Old Fort Road gun brackets
Middle Head Fort
Int. Lower Barracks Trk and Old Fort Rd
Disappearing Gun Pit South
Inner Forts intersection
Inner Forts intersection
Int. Govenors Rd and Inner Forts Trk
Cobblers and Officers Quarters int.
Cobblers Beach
Cobblers and Officers Quarters int.
Cobblers Beach Trail Top
Middle Head Oval NE Gate
Middle Head Oval SW Gate
Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd
Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk
Int. Balmoral Park car park and Chowder Bay Trk
Starting point for this hiking track: Balmoral Park car park

Base maps are used under licence and is © Department of lands   Panorama Avenue Bathurst 2795   www.lands.nsw.gov.au

Maps that cover the walk area (please always carry maps of the area)

Print a map and track notes here
 Sydney Heads 1:25 000 Map Series NSW-91302N 
 Sydney 1:100 000 Map Series 9130 

Photo Gallery

 
Balmoral Beach
 
Balmoral Beach +
 
Balmoral Park
 
Balmoral Park +
 
Steps between balmoral park and Middle head road
 
Steps between balmoral park and Middle head road +

 
Sign along the track
 
Sign along the track +
 
Middl Head car park
 
Middl Head car park +
 
Grassed track around fence
 
Grassed track around fence +

 
Track to Old Fort Rd
 
Track to Old Fort Rd +
 
Track down to the forts
 
Track down to the forts +
 
View from Forts
 
View from Forts +

 
Tallest Fort
 
Tallest Fort +
 
View to North Head
 
View to North Head +
 
Sign to Disappearing gun pits
 
Sign to Disappearing gun pits +

 
Filled in fort
 
Filled in fort +
 
Officers quarters
 
Officers quarters +
 
Middle Head Oval
 
Middle Head Oval +

Terrain

Cross sectional view of the Balmoral to Middle Head Forts bushwalking track

Cross Section of the Balmoral to Middle Head Forts bushwalking track



Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Balmoral to Middle Head Forts bushwalking track

Summary of the gradients over the the lenght of the Balmoral to Middle Head Forts bushwalking track

Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.

Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
Length 3.9km
Time 2 hrs
.


Grade 4/6

Track: Hard
AS 2156.1 Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Signs Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Experience Required No experience required (1/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing

Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk.
Gradient
2.5km of this walk has gentle hills with occasional steps and another 750m is very steep. Whilst another 550m is flat with no steps and the remaining 100m has short steep hills.

Quality of track
2.2km of this walk follows a smooth and hardened path and another 1.2km follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles. The remaining (490m) follows a clear and well formed track or trail.

Signs
Around 2.3km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 1.6km is clearly signposted.

Experience Required
This whole walk, 3.9km requires no previous bushwalking experience.

Weather
This whole walk, 3.9km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).

Infrastructure
Around 3.4km of this walk is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats), whilst the remaining 520m has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced).

Track Notes


Catch the bus to Balmoral Park car park
Public transport (bus) available to this Bushwalk You can phone 131500 (the transport info line) for up to date running times.
Use these links to plan your Bus (and train) trip to the end of this walk.
(Links currently not working sorry)
Plan your trip from --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|
Drive to Balmoral Park car park
You can drive or ride to this start of this Bushwalk There is free parking available.
You can drive or ride to the start of this walk
Use these links to plan your trip to the start of this walk.
Plan your trip from --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|

(0 km) Balmoral Park car park to Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk
Track: Hard - footpath
Length = 565 m Time = 15 mins
Climb = 67 m Descent = -4 m
From the intersection, this walk heads away from the car park and beach to pass '1st Balmoral Sea Scouts' and a childcare centre, on the left. The walk then continues along the footpath outside of the oval to a signposted intersection.
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk heads away from the oval, across a bridge. The walk then climbs a few flights of stairs to enter a fenced area with many signs. This walk continues for some time up stairs to turn right, through the fence and continues up stairs to the intersection with Middle Head Rd.

(0.57 km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk to Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd
Track: Moderate - road
Length = 536 m Time = 10 mins
Climb = 3 m Descent = -30 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk heads down the road towards the fence, away from the houses. The road tends right as it comes into HMAS Penguin. The walk continues along Middle Head Rd to the intersection with Chowder Bay Rd, opposite the oval.

(1.1 km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd to Int. Old Fort and Govenors Rds
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 502 m Time = 10 mins
Climb = 21 m Descent = -14 m
Turn right: From the intersection of Chowder Bay and Middle Head Rd, this walk heads down through the car park to the far end, where there are signs. The walk heads along the fenceline passing the Sydney Harbour NP sign. The fencline is followed as it tends right, coming to a gate.
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads through the gate, keeping the view of the water to the right of the track. Note that if the gate is closed, visitors can walk around the right-hand side of the fence. The walk then follows the fenceline, (on the left of the track), to then continue up a small hill along the fenceline and to a short stone wall. The walk continues over the stone wall to the fork in the road.

(1.6 km) Int. Old Fort and Govenors Rds to Old Fort Road gun brackets
Walk: Easy - road
Length = 218 m Time = 4 mins
Climb = 2 m Descent = -4 m
Veer right: From the intersection, this walk heads gently uphill along the signposted and asphalt 'Old Fort Rd'[1], initially keeping the toilet to the right[fac=8324] and 'Barracks No.1'[2] to the left. After about 130m the old road heads over a rise and then leads down between the metal bollards[3] to come to an intersection in a large clearing beside a row large gun timber brackets (bases)[4], marked with a 'Middle Head' sign[5]

(1.82 km) Old Fort Road gun brackets to Middle Head Fort
Walk: Easy - servicetrail
Length = 47 m Time = 1 mins
Climb = 1 m Descent = 0 m
Continue straight: From beside the row of large gun timber brackets (bases)[6], this walk heads downhill for 50m along the wide gravely trail[7] towards the water to come the large network of concrete and sandstone forts and gun emplacements[8][9][10]. The area can be explored, taking care of cliff edges and large potential falls into the fortifications.

Outer Middle Head Battery Alt = 37 m
The Outer Middle Head Battery is the main complex in the Middle Head Fortifications. Work for building the fortifications started in 1801 and the last batteries were constructed in 1942, with the majority of the work being done 1870 and 1911 [11]. There is a network of tunnels and rooms underground that was build to support the gunning placements to protect Sydney Harbour from enemy invasion. There are formal tours available or you can take care and explore the area yourself.

(1.87 km) Middle Head Fort to Old Fort Road gun brackets
Walk: Easy - servicetrail
Length = 47 m Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m Descent = -1 m
Turn around: From the Middle Head Fort complex, this walk heads gently uphill away from the concrete and sandstone forts and gun emplacements[12][13][14] along the wide gravel trail[15] for about 50m to come to an intersection in a large clearing beside a row large gun timber brackets (bases)[16], marked with a 'Middle Head' sign[17].

(1.92 km) Int. Lower Barracks Trk and Old Fort Rd to Int. Inner Forts and Lower Barracks Trks
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 246 m Time = 4 mins
Climb = 4 m Descent = -6 m
Veer right: From the intersection, this walk heads away from the built-up forts and road, to cross the clearing to the signposted 'Inner Middle Head Forts'. The track follows the arrow on this sign for approximately 200m through the bush to a sunken concrete fort on the right.
Turn left: From the southern fort (surrounded by bush), this walk winds right, away from the fort keeping the sea on the right of the track. The track quickly leads to an intersection near the fort at the sea cliff.

(2.16 km) Inner Forts intersection to Disappearing Gun Pit North
Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 70 m Time = 2 mins
Climb = 0 m Descent = -18 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk heads along the clear dirt track[18] towards the distant water view between two long sandstone trenches[19]. After 60m this walk heads across the grassy section[20] to come to the top edge of the northern Disappearing Gun Pit[fac=8328][21][22] beside the ocean cliffs[23]. Take extra care as the ground slopes towards the gun pit and cliff edges - stay 2 body lengths back from any significant drop.
(Retrace your steps back to the main track, then continue straight to continue along this walk.)

(2.16 km) Inner Forts intersection to Behind Officers Quarters
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 210 m Time = 4 mins
Climb = 1 m Descent = -11 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk heads directly away from the water views and sandstone forts, along a mostly flat but clear dirt track for about 90m to pass the sign pointing back to 'Inner Middle Head Forts'[24]. About 10m after this sign the walk comes to an intersection beside a white metal pole fence[25] and the sealed Governors Rd[26].
Turn sharp right: From the intersection, this walk heads down the grass hill beside the old house, keeping the house on the left. The track then turns left and down the hill with the fence, to continue along the fenceline. Near the end of the fence, the track turns right, down the hill and comes to a management trail.

(2.37 km) Cobblers and Officers Quarters int. to Middle Head Oval NE Gate
Alternate Route: Track: Hard - servicetrail,bushtrack ( Show detail)
Length = 435 m Time = 10 mins
Climb = 30 m Descent = -31 m
Turn right: From the intersection, the walk follows the wide management trail downhill. The trail starts to bend left and heads noteably more steeply downhill[fac=8326][27] in places over the next 220m where the trail mostly flattens out[28] and bends sharply right. After this bend, the trail continues to lead more gently downhill for another 50m to come to an open grassy area signposted as 'Cobblers Beach'[29]. Access to the sand is down a few uneven stone steps[fac=8327].
Turn around: From the middle of Cobblers Beach, the walk follows the track up the hill, with the beach on the right of the track. The track steeply climbs up the hill to the white picket fence of Middle Head Oval. The track turns left, following the fence to the gate and 'Middle Head' sign.
Veer right to rejoin the main walk, following the notes from 2.66km 'Middle Head Oval NE Gate'.

Cobblers Beach Alt = 4 m
Cobblers Beach[30] is a small pretty and clothing optional [31] beach on the northern edge of Middle Head in Sdynday Harbour NP. From the beach, you can see across the water to Grotto Point and Balmoral Beach in the distance. The small sandy beach is about 80m long and about 10m wide depending on the tide. There are rocks along the shorline[32]. Wearing clothing is optional on the sandy beach area however clothing is required to be worn in the surrounding bushland and on the grassed area directly behind the beach[33].

(2.37 km) Cobblers and Officers Quarters int. to Cobblers Beach Trail sign
Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 126 m Time = 4 mins
Climb = 18 m Descent = -5 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk heads uphill along the wide gravel trail. After about 20m the trail narrows for about 5m (to 90cm) to pass a pile of spoil[34] then continues up for another 110m coming to a grassy area beside the 'Sydney Harbour National Park' sign[35], with an arrow point back down 'Cobblers Beach Road'.

(2.5 km) Cobblers Beach Trail Top to Middle Head Oval NE Gate
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 164 m Time = 6 mins
Climb = 11 m Descent = -26 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk heads along the line of the cyclone fence, on the left, for approximately 150m to the gate in the white picket fence of Middle Head Oval, near the 'Middle Head' sign.

(2.66 km) Middle Head Oval NE Gate to Middle Head Oval SW Gate
Walk: Easy - undefined
Length = 142 m Time = 4 mins
Climb = 25 m Descent = -6 m
Turn left: From the gate, this walk heads across the oval to the far side, next to the baseball nets.

(2.8 km) Middle Head Oval SW Gate to Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd
Walk: Easy - bushtrack
Length = 32 m Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m Descent = -6 m
Veer left: From the gate, this walk heads to the intersection of Middle Head Road and Chowder Bay Road.

(2.84 km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Rd to Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk
Track: Moderate - road
Length = 536 m Time = 10 mins
Climb = 30 m Descent = -3 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk heads up the hill of Middle Head Rd. The walk continues up the road for some time to a signposted intersection near speed bumps and rock sculptures to the left.

(3.37 km) Int. Middle Head Rd and Chowder Bay Trk to Balmoral Park car park
Track: Hard - footpath
Length = 565 m Time = 15 mins
Climb = 4 m Descent = -67 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the sign to 'Balmoral Beach' downhill away from the road. The walk heads down many flights of stairs and turns right, through a fence. The track then turns left to continue down more stairs, which lead the walk across a bridge and next to an oval with a signposted intersection.
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk heads toward the sea, keeping the oval to your left. The walk passes '1st Balmoral Sea Scouts' on the right before coming to the car park.

Catch the bus from Balmoral Park car park
Public transport (bus) available from this Bushwalk You can phone 131500 (the transport info line) for up to date running times.
Use these links to plan your Bus (and train) trip from the end of this walk.
(Links currently not working sorry)
Plan your trip to --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|
Drive from Balmoral Park car park
You can drive or ride from this end of this Bushwalk There is free parking available.
You can drive or ride from the end of this walk
Use these links to plan your trip from the end of this walk.
Plan your trip to --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|

Getting there

Plan your trip to the start of the walk and back from the end of the walk

Public Transport links currently not working, sorry
Public Transport Timetables

To the start of the walk

From
Castle Hill
Chatswood
Dural
Epping
Gosford
Hornsby
Katoomba
Manly
Parramatta
Penrith
Strathfield
Sutherland
Sydney
From the end of the walk

To
Castle Hill
Chatswood
Dural
Epping
Gosford
Hornsby
Katoomba
Manly
Parramatta
Penrith
Strathfield
Sutherland
Sydney

Driving Directions
To the start of the walk

Drive from:
From the end of the walk

Drive to:


Near by



Nearest know Outdoor Stores near the start of this walk
Store Address Phone Distance (straight line)
Outdoor Equipment 60 Spring St , Bondi Junction (02) 9389 8122 7.1 km
Inski 46 York St , Sydney (02) 9233 3200 6.4 km
Mitchells Adventure 81 York St , Sydney (02) 9299 6321 6.4 km
Venus Repair Workshop Suite 36a 104 Bathurst St , Sydney (02) 9267 0706 6.7 km
Wildsports Upper Floor 447 Kent St , Sydney (02) 9264 2095 6.7 km


A list of the nearest UHF CB repeaters I found to Balmoral to Middle Head Forts.
Channel Call sign
(more info)
Site Distance and dir from Balmoral to Middle Head Forts
Click to re-center search
5 SYD05 Sydney Adventist Hospital 185 Fox Valley Rd WAHROONGA
Emergency use only
18 km (to the NW)
1 SYD01 12/14 Ormonde Parade HURSTVILLE 21 km (to the SW)
6 VMB7 CB Repeater Site 16 Alan Rd BEROWRA HEIGHTS 26 km (to the NNW)
7 SYD07 7 Glamorgan St BLACKTOWN 32 km (to the W)
8 MDC08 Gencom Site Lot 6 Wakefield Close KARIONG 44 km (to the N)

Weather and Park info

Fire Danger
This walk passes Greater Sydney Region fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place.
(Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 2 years ago)
Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.

Weather and Climate
Weather and Climate summary detailed weather and climate information here
°C (feels like °)
km/h from the
% humidity     (as at )
A graph displaying the average daily temperature range for the year

Sydney Harbour National Park Link to official closures and fire bans page
One of Sydney's most diverse parks, Sydney Harbour National Park is formed from 11 pockets of harbour islands and shoreline. Highlights include coastal walks and swimming, breath-taking viewpoints, tours of colonial buildings and Aboriginal cave art.
Region: Sydney & Surrounds
Park fees Camping Facilities
Current Park Closure information for Sydney Harbour National Park
Closure information last downloaded Sunday 27th of September 2015 07:00 AM
Closed areas: Park closure sunset to sunrise for pest management
Pest management activities are taking place between sunset and sunrise at the following selected sites within Sydney Harbour National Park. Please abide by all park signage. Closed areas are:​
  • Middle Head
  • North Head
  • Quarantine Station
Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact Bobbin Head Information Centre (02) 9472 8949 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.

Closed areas: Shark Island upcoming closures
Shark Island in Sydney Harbour will be closed to public access due to essential wharf repairs on the following dates:
16 to 17 September 2015
24 to 27 September 2015.

Other incidents: Sydney Harbour National Park accommodation
Constables, Green Point and Steele Point Cottages are no longer available for accomodation bookings. New options are being considered for the conservation, management and use of these buildings.

Closed areas: Collins Flat Beach unavailable for venue hire
Collins Flat Beach is currently unavailable for venue hire due to the impact of high visitation on the critical habitat found at this location. Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact NPWS Mosman office on (02) 9960 6266 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.


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