This walk explores the coastal cliffs near The Gap on Sydney's South Head. The main focal point for this walk is the view from the rocky bluff. The cliff makes for very spectacular scenery and the views extend from North Head along the coast, and even peer across the harbour to the city. This walk starts from Watsons Bay and follows a well used footpath all the way. There is much history in the area and the couple of side trips described in this walk open up some more places to explore.
(open in app)
There are closures in Sydney Harbour National Park Today's Fire rating LOW MODERATE (No fire ban)
Please note: This is a 'return' style walk and therefore these graphs only show the terrain for the first half of the walk (until the turn around point.)
Cross sectional view of the Gap Bluff Lookout bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Gap Bluff Lookout 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.
Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track
Clear and well formed track or trail (2/6)
Clearly signposted (1/6)
No experience required (1/6)
Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)
Generally useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats) (1/6)
*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
250m of this walk is flat with no steps and another 100m has gentle hills with occasional steps. The remaining (90m) is very steep.
Quality of track
Around 350m of this walk follows a smooth and hardened path, whilst the remaining 90m follows a clear and well formed track or trail.
This whole walk, 440m is clearly signposted.
This whole walk, 440m requires no previous bushwalking experience.
This whole walk, 440m is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).
This whole walk, 440m is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats).
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Catch the ferry to Watsons Bay
You can phone 131500 (the transport info line) for upto date running time info Use these links to plan your Ferry (and train) trip to the end of this walk.
Watsons Bay is a popular spot to enjoy the harbour, Robertson Park and some fish and chips. Doyles offers a formal dining restaurant and the more relaxed fish and chip shop on the ferry wharf. Robertson Park is a large open grassy park with some natural shade, a rotunda, toilets, children's play equipment, garbage bins and picnic tables. More info
Watsons Bay Wharf
The bottom of the Gap steps Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 233 m
Time = 5 mins
Climb = 17 m
Descent = 0 m
From Watsons Bay Wharf, this walk heads diagonally across the turning circle at the end of Military Rd and into 'Robertson Park'. The walk follows the path diagonally across the open park and tends a little left (straight ahead) at the four-way intersection beside the rotunda. Here the walk goes up the ramp and crosses Military Rd using the crossing, coming to the base of the steps (that lead to The Gap).
The bottom of the Gap steps
The Gap Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 18 m
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -2 m
Continue straight: From the bottom of the Gap steps, this walk heads up the steps (or ramp). About halfway up the steps, there is an emergency phone for contacting the police or Lifeline, then at the top there is a fenced section of footpath (lookout) and ocean views from The Gap.
Alt = 20 m
The Gap is one of Sydney's most famous ocean cliff lookouts. The view from the track beside the stretch of cliff is simply stunning. The tall cliffs are enhanced by the rock platform and the pounding ocean far below. Sadly, this site is not only known for the natural wonder, but also for the many deaths that occur here each year. Security cameras and an emergency phone have been installed, to help assist people considering suicide. On the unlikely event that you see someone in distress, please call the police on 000 and lifeline on 131 114, or use the nearby emergency phone. More info
The Gap Bluff Centre Int Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 100 m
Time = 3 mins
Climb = 13 m
Descent = 0 m
Turn left: From The Gap, this walk heads up the hill along the path, keeping the fence and water views to your right. The path leads past the 'Sydney Harbour National Park - Gap Bluff' sign and more great views of The Gap. The path comes to a three-way intersection in a small clearing, marked with a few signs including 'The Gap timeline'.
The Gap Bluff Centre Int
The Gap Bluff Centre (Officers Mess) Optional sidetrip: Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 93 m
Time = 2 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -8 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads towards the large white building along the narrow, flat path, away from the ocean views. The path soon leads to a car park, where the walk turns left, around to the front of The Gap Bluff Centre (Officers' Mess) building. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn left to continue along this walk.)
The Gap Bluff Centre (Officers Mess)
Alt = 30 m
The Gap Bluff Centre, once know as the Officers' Mess, is a large white building just north-east of The Gap on South Head. This building was once part of the South Head School of Artillery. Now part of Sydney Harbour National Park, this building is hired out for functions and conferences. Built in 1936, the curved building has since been extended. The building is surrounded by a car parking area and an exotic garden.
The Gap Bluff Centre Int
The Gap Bluff Lookout Track: Hard - footpath
Length = 92 m
Time = 2 mins
Climb = 10 m
Descent = -1 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk heads up the path then steps, following the fence and keeping the water views to your right. The path leads past several information signs on local plant life and some lovely wildflowers. The walk continues up the many steps to a rocky clearing near the top. Here the walk tends left and takes the steps through the cleft in the rock to find another rocky clearing and lookout with great panoramic views at the top of Gap Bluff.
The Gap Bluff Lookout
Alt = 40 m
The Gap Bluff Lookout sits high on the rocky hill overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. On the left is a view to North Head and to your right, looking south down the coast, there are great views over The Gap. There are also distant views over the harbour to the city. This site is significant to the traditional owners, the Birrabirragal people, who once occupied the area - although not at this site, there are some rock engraving still remaining. This is a great place to visit and well worth climbing the steps for the view.
The Gap Bluff Lookout
Gun Emplacement Lookout Optional sidetrip: Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 152 m
Time = 4 mins
Climb = 10 m
Descent = -16 m
Turn left: From the Gap Bluff Lookout, this walk follows the footpath away from the gap and into the heath, keeping the ocean to your right. This path soon leads to a three-way intersection (at an old car park undergoing regeneration) marked with a 'Banksia integrifolia - coast banksia' information sign. Veer right: From the intersection, this walk heads uphill along the sealed footpath, away from the face of the 'Banksia integrifolia - coast banksia' information sign. Soon the path passes a lookout on your right and comes to a old gun emplacement marked with a 'The gunnery range' sign and a short track to a fenced lookout with another sign.
Gun Emplacement Lookout
Alt = 37 m
Once home to several gun emplacements, this is now a peaceful, fenced lookout. There are information signs explaining some history, and also some remaining sections of the fortifications to explore.
Catch the ferry from Watsons Bay
You can phone 131500 (the transport info line) for upto date running time info Use these links to plan your Ferry (and train) trip from the end of this walk.
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 8 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.
Sydney Harbour National ParkLink 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 feesCampingFacilities 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:
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.