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Bushwalking track notes, photographs, maps and more for South Head Heritage Trail are found in each of the tabs below
South Head Heritage Trail
Time: 45 mins Walking time
Please allow extra time to rest and to explore
1.2 km NNW of Watsons Bay
Length: 1.7 km Walk Length
As this is a Circuit style walk, the 1.7 km includes the walking distance from the start around the loop and back to the start again
Sydney Harbour National Park
Climb: 64 m Total Climbing
This walk has a total cumulative climb of 64 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
Walk: Easy

This walk explores the tip of Sydney Harbour's South Head. On this walk, you will visit several historic and scenic places, following a footpath most of the way. You will start at Camp Cove, the first landing place for Europeans in Australia, and also visit a number of gun emplacements, designed to protect the shores from the threat of invasion. Also enjoy the panoramic ocean and harbour views from the cliff line at Hornby Lighthouse. A wonderful walk for those wanting to explore wide open views and get a glimpse of history. (open in app)


There are closures in Sydney Harbour National Park
Today's Fire rating
LOW MODERATE (No fire ban)
  Bushwalking track notes photographs, maps and camping spots for South Head Heritage Trail

Map of Walk

Location

                Sponsor of South Head Heritage Trail bushwalking tracknotes
Map of South Head Heritage Trail
Problem loading PDF Try here
Map Controls - Show Contours | Hide Path | Hide Distances | Hide Names
Map Scale 500 meters
Camp Cove car park
Camp Cove Beach
Cannon
Lady Bay Beach Int
Lady Bay Beach Int
Lady Bay Lookout
Circuit intersection
Lightkeepers Cottage
Hornby Lighthouse
Gun Emplacements
Circuit intersection
Lady Bay Lookout
Lady Bay Beach Int
Cannon
Camp Cove Beach
Starting point for this hiking track: Camp Cove 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

 
Camp Cove Car Park
 
Camp Cove Car Park +
 
Clff St
 
Clff St +
 
Entrance at nothern end of Camp Cove Beach
 
Entrance at nothern end of Camp Cove Beach +

 
Northern end of Camp Cove Beach
 
Northern end of Camp Cove Beach +
 
Kiosk at Camp Cove
 
Kiosk at Camp Cove +
 
Looking south along Camp Cove
 
Looking south along Camp Cove +

 
Steps at the Northern end of Camp Cove
 
Steps at the Northern end of Camp Cove +
 
The old Cobblestone Road
 
The old Cobblestone Road +
 
Gun Emplacment looking down on Camp Cove
 
Gun Emplacment looking down on Camp Cove +

 
Gun aimed at the City
 
Gun aimed at the City +
 
Path leading up the old road
 
Path leading up the old road +
 
Great Harbour Views
 
Great Harbour Views +

 
Toilets
 
Toilets +
 
Looking down to Lady Bay
 
Looking down to Lady Bay +
 
Lady Bay Beach lookout
 
Lady Bay Beach lookout +

 
Timber boadwalk north of Lady Bay Beach lookout
 
Timber boadwalk north of Lady Bay Beach lookout +
 
Circuit intersection
 
Circuit intersection +
 
Path leading to cottage on South Head
 
Path leading to cottage on South Head +

 
Head Lighthouse Keepers cottage
 
Head Lighthouse Keepers cottage +
 
Head Lighthouse Keepers cottage and path
 
Head Lighthouse Keepers cottage and path +
 
Gum emplacement opposite the Head Lighthouse Keepers cottage
 
Gum emplacement opposite the Head Lighthouse Keepers cottage +

 
Path winding along the tip of South Head
 
Path winding along the tip of South Head +
 
Hornby Lighthouse and a gun emplacement
 
Hornby Lighthouse and a gun emplacement +
 
Distinct patern on Hornby Lighthouse
 
Distinct patern on Hornby Lighthouse +

 
Great water views from South Head
 
Great water views from South Head +
 
Hornby Lighthouse
 
Hornby Lighthouse +
 
Gun Emplacment and Hornby Lighthouse, looking into the harbour
 
Gun Emplacment and Hornby Lighthouse, looking into the harbour +

 
Inside a gun emplacement
 
Inside a gun emplacement +
 
Gun emplacment looking out to the ocean
 
Gun emplacment looking out to the ocean +
 
Footpath leading down to the driveway
 
Footpath leading down to the driveway +

Terrain

Cross sectional view of the South Head Heritage Trail bushwalking track

Cross Section of the South Head Heritage Trail bushwalking track



Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the South Head Heritage Trail bushwalking track

Summary of the gradients over the the lenght of the South Head Heritage Trail 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 1.7km
Time 45 mins
.


Grade 2/6

Walk: Easy
AS 2156.1 Gradient Gentle hills with occasional steps (2/6)
Quality of track Clear and well formed track or trail (2/6)
Signs Clearly signposted (1/6)
Experience Required No experience required (1/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)
Infrastructure 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
Around 1.4km of this walk has gentle hills with occasional steps, whilst the remaining 350m is flat with no steps.

Quality of track
Around 1.6km of this walk follows a smooth and hardened path, whilst the remaining 110m follows a clear and well formed track or trail.

Signs
This whole walk, 1.7km is clearly signposted.

Experience Required
This whole walk, 1.7km requires no previous bushwalking experience.

Weather
This whole walk, 1.7km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).

Infrastructure
This whole walk, 1.7km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats).

Track Notes


Catch the bus to Camp Cove 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 Camp Cove 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) Camp Cove car park to Camp Cove Beach
Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 54 m Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m Descent = -4 m
From the signposted 'Camp Cove Car Park[1], this walk follows the 'No Through Road' sign[2] to the end of 'Cliff St'. The footpath leads past a 'Camp Cove timeline' information sign[3] then, at the end of the road, turns left, coming to the front of the kiosk[4] at the northern end of Camp Cove Beach[5].

Camp Cove Alt = 5 m
Camp Cove is home to a lovely, yellow sand, north-east facing beach. The cove is on the protected side of South Head and is a popular spot for swimming and relaxing on the beach. At the northern end of the beach is a kiosk[6], toilet block[7] and an entrance to Sydney Harbour National Park[8].
The cove was an important location to the Cadigal (Gadigal) people who gathered fresh water, shellfish, launched their canoes and buried some of their people nearby[9].
This cove is also believed to be the first landing place for Europeans in 1788. The name Camp Cove was given during that landing and appears on the earliest maps of Sydney Harbour[10][11].

(0.05 km) Camp Cove Beach to Cannon
Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 125 m Time = 3 mins
Climb = 7 m Descent = -3 m
Veer right: From the front of Camp Cove Beach kiosk[12], this walk crosses the beach (keeping the water to your left)[13] and climbs up the timber staircase[14]. From the intersection at the top of the stairs, this walk continues straight, along the timber boardwalk[15] that soon turns into a concrete path. The path soon comes to a wide, cobbled sandstone path[16] that leads up a disused cannon[17], gun emplacement and great harbour views[18].

Cannon Alt = 10 m
This cannon was placed here prior to 1890, along with the rest of this gun emplacement and rifle walls. The emplacement was designed to protect a military jetty and boat shed from the threat of an invasion[19]. The 'Cobblestone Road' beside the cannon was built during the late 1870s or early 1880s and extends from the jetty in Camp Cove up to Hornby Road above. The road was build to carry supplies and ordnance from Camp Cove to the various military installations on south head[20]. More info

(0.18 km) Cannon to Lady Bay Beach Int
Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 291 m Time = 6 mins
Climb = 9 m Descent = -12 m
Continue straight: From the cannon, this walk heads up the path and steps and soon turns left to follow the old road[21]. The walk follows the old road, enjoying sweeping harbour views[22] (to your left). About 170m along this road (as it bends right), it passes a toilet block[23] then finds some garbage bins[24] at the end of the road. Here, the walk heads along the narrower footpath for ≈60m until coming to the signposted intersection above 'Lady Bay Beach'[25].

(0.47 km) Lady Bay Beach Int to Lady Bay Beach
Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - footpath
Length = 26 m Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m Descent = -3 m
Turn left : From the intersection, the walk follows the 'Lady Bay Beach' sign[26] down the steps as they wind to the sandy beach below[27].
(Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn left to continue along this walk.)

Lady Bay Beach Alt = 3 m
Lady Bay Beach is an official nudist beach found on the inside of South Head. Facing west, this beach is surrounded by a long cliff and a rocky shoreline[28][29]. There are great views across the water to Middle Head[30]. Officially declared a nude bathing beach by Neville Wran in 1976, nudity is only permitted on the beach and water[31]. The beach is also known as 'Lady Jane Beach'[32]. You are welcome to use the beach clothed or unclad. More info

(0.47 km) Lady Bay Beach Int to Lady Bay Lookout
Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 88 m Time = 2 mins
Climb = 5 m Descent = -2 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads gently downhill along the main path, keeping the large fence to your right[33]. The path leads down a few steps[34] and after ≈80m, heads up a few steps[35] then some more steps through a cleft in the rock[36] to find the fenced timber lookout platform looking over Lady Bay[37].

Lady Bay Lookout Alt = 10 m
Some may find it strange having a lookout platform overlooking a nudist beach, but the harbour and city views are great[38]. This fenced and timber-decked lookout platform is found on the main walking track at the northern end of the bay. The lookout's main view is south-west along the beach and harbour towards North Sydney. There are a few trees growing up over the view, which adds further interest to the outlook.

(0.56 km) Lady Bay Lookout to Circuit intersection
Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 64 m Time = 1 mins
Climb = 5 m Descent = 0 m
Continue straight: From Lady Bay Lookout, this walk heads up the steps and follows the timber boardwalk[39] a short distance until coming to a four-way intersection next to the large 'South Head Heritage Trail' sign[40].

(0.62 km) Circuit intersection to Lightkeepers Cottage
Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 167 m Time = 3 mins
Climb = 3 m Descent = -10 m
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads along the short section of timber boardwalk, past the 'South Head Heritage Trail' sign[41], keeping the filtered water views to your left[42]. The walk then follows the flat footpath through the heath and after ≈70m, the path leads to a large clearing with great views across the water[43]. The walk continues along this path, bending to the right[44] in front of the old Lightkeeper's cottage[45] and find a 'Lightkeeper's Cottages 1858' sign [46] between the old house and a gun emplacement[47].

Lightkeepers Cottage Alt = 10 m
Two homes were built on South Head for the Hornby lighthouse keepers. The first cottage is the Head Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage in the clearing, with the assistant's house being closer to the lighthouse. This arrangement is unusual - normally, the head keeper's house would be closer. The head lightkeeper's house was completed about three years after the other house, around 1860[48]. The first head lighthouse keeper was the well-motivated James Johnston, who was aboard the Dubar (a sailing ship on route from England) that smashed against the rocks near The Gap in 1857. 121 souls were lost that evening and James Johnston was the only survivor[49]. More info

(0.79 km) Lightkeepers Cottage to Hornby Lighthouse
Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 91 m Time = 2 mins
Climb = 4 m Descent = -1 m
Continue straight: From the Lightkeepers Cottage, this walk heads along the footpath[50] across the small bridge[51], keeping the water views to your left. The path leads up and around to the right, past the concrete gun emplacement[52] to find the large red and white Hornby Lighthouse[53] and some great views.

Hornby Lighthouse Alt = 12 m
Opened by Sir William Denison (then Governor of New South Wales) in 1858, this distinct red and white vertical striped lighthouse was originally powered by a high-tech kerosene lantern[54]. The lighthouse was built in response to two significant losses of life near South Head - firstly in 1857, the 'Dubar'[55] (on it last leg from England), when 121 of the 122 people on board lost their lives, and soon after, the 'Catherine Adamson'[56] when 21 lives were lost near North Head just two months later.
Since 1933, this lighthouse has been automated and is now powered with a 12 volt, 55 watt Quartz Halogen Lamp (similar to a down light in a kitchen)[57]. More info

(0.88 km) Hornby Lighthouse to Gun Emplacements
Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 74 m Time = 2 mins
Climb = 7 m Descent = 0 m
Continue straight: From Hornby Lighthouse, this walk heads uphill along the footpath, keeping the water views to your left. After ≈80m, the path leads to a 'Fortifications 1854' sign[58] and two large gun emplacement pits[59][60] a short distance apart.

Gun Emplacements Alt = 18 m
Gun emplacements like these have been built up and down the coast, and around the shores of Sydney Harbour. The first emplacement, built in 1788, was designed as a signalling station to notify the arrival of a ship. Then in 1839, the undetected arrival of ships, from the fast developing USA, caused a great concern. This triggered the building of the well-known fortifications at Bradleys Head and Fort Denison, as well as these ones at South Head. Another enemy at the time, France, then joined a campaign against a newer enemy - the Russians - in 1853, which prompted the completion of these gun emplacements. Guns were installed in 1872. In WWII, it was a Japanese enemy who these guns were trying to keep out, then in 1944, when the threat of invasion was less of a concern, the emplacements where disarmed[61]. More info

(0.95 km) Gun Emplacements to Camp Cove car park
Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 753 m Time = 16 mins
Climb = 24 m Descent = -32 m
Continue straight: From the Gun Emplacements and 'Fortifications 1854'[62] sign, this walk heads uphill along the footpath, away from the lighthouse. The path passes the second fortification[63] then an overgrown third fortification[64] as the path bends to the right [65]. The path then heads down and crosses the old road[66], following the path down the hill and soon comes to timber boardwalk, a four-way intersection and a large 'South Head Heritage Trail' sign[67] on your right.
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk heads directly away from the face of the 'South Head Heritage Trail' sign[68] along the timber boardwalk[69] and down a series of steps. The timber boardwalk soon leads to a fenced lookout with a view over Lady Bay[70].
Continue straight: From Lady Bay Lookout, this walk heads down the steps[71] next to the lookout and follows the footpath alongside the large fence[72]. The path heads up a series of steps to the signposted intersection above 'Lady Bay Beach'[73].
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads gently uphill along the footpath (keeping the water to the right) and after ≈60m, the path comes to the end of an old road. This walk continues along the old road, past the garage bins[74] and the large toilet block (on your left)[75]. The walk now follows the road as it leads around a sweeping left-hand bend, enjoying more harbour views until turning right onto a footpath, near a palm tree (just before the road meets a large fence). The walk heads down this path and some steps to find a disused cannon[76], gun emplacement and more great harbour views[77].
Continue straight: From the cannon, this walk heads down along the wide, cobbled sandstone path[78] (keeping the water views to your right). The walk then follows the footpath gently downhill to an intersection[79][80] (with a toilet block on the left). The walk heads straight, then down the steps and across the beach to the front of the Camp Cove Beach Kiosk[81].
Veer left: From the northern end of Camp Cove Beach, this walk heads up the concrete path next to the kiosk[82] to find the end of Cliff St. The walk follows the road past the 'Camp Cove timeline' information sign[83] to an intersection with Victoria St and the signposted 'Camp Cove Car Park[84].

Catch the bus from Camp Cove 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 Camp Cove 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 6.6 km
Kellys Camping & Outdoors 826 Pittwater Rd , Dee Why (02) 9972 0061 9.3 km
Inski 46 York St , Sydney (02) 9233 3200 7.6 km
Mitchells Adventure 81 York St , Sydney (02) 9299 6321 7.6 km
Venus Repair Workshop Suite 36a 104 Bathurst St , Sydney (02) 9267 0706 7.7 km


A list of the nearest UHF CB repeaters I found to South Head Heritage Trail.
Channel Call sign
(more info)
Site Distance and dir from South Head Heritage Trail
Click to re-center search
5 SYD05 Sydney Adventist Hospital 185 Fox Valley Rd WAHROONGA
Emergency use only
20 km (to the NW)
1 SYD01 12/14 Ormonde Parade HURSTVILLE 22 km (to the SW)
6 VMB7 CB Repeater Site 16 Alan Rd BEROWRA HEIGHTS 28 km (to the NNW)
7 SYD07 7 Glamorgan St BLACKTOWN 35 km (to the W)
8 MDC08 Gencom Site Lot 6 Wakefield Close KARIONG 45 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 3 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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