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One of the great things about living in Sydney is being able to head out to national parks at the weekend to break up city life with fresh air and scenery. The many easy-to-follow hikes around Sydney make it an ideal place for keen walkers, and the Kurnell section of Kamay Botany Bay National Park – lying at the southern entrance to Botany Bay, east of Cronulla – contains multiple walking tracks offering a mixture of heathland, birdlife, potential whale watching from the Cape Solander viewing platform (best in June & July) and stunning clifftop views of the ocean.

This two-hour walk from Kurnell down to the Cape Baily Lighthouse and back up via Cape Solander partly follows the cliffside Cape Baily Track, with an inland detour along the Cape Solander Track and the Polo Trail.

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Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

Information on Walking in Kurnell

TOILETS – Note that there are no toilets on the walk; it is best to stop off at the public toilets in Kurnell before you start. Either pull into Cape Solander Drive and take the first left, where there is a car park and toilets, or park on Captain Cook Drive by the beach and walk through the park to reach the same set of loos from the other side.

REFRESHMENTS – There is a store/take away where Polo Street meets Captain Cook Drive in Kurnell. There’s also Endeavour Café on the corner of Prince Charles Parade and Captain Cook Drive, and the very cool Cook at Kurnell café operated from a vintage truck at 306-308 Prince Charles Parade.

WHAT TO TAKE – It gets quite windy on the cliffs, and you’ll also be exposed to the sun and walking on a flat but uneven surface. Make sure to take sunscreen, a hat, a warm top, decent walking shoes or trainers, and enough food and water to keep you going. Oh, and your camera of course!

HOW TO GET THERE – You can catch the 987 bus from Cronulla to Kurnell, but this only runs once every hour or two and stops about 5pm, so it is probably best to visit by car. This walk starts from Polo Street in Kurnell (point 1 on the map below), which is a residential street with free and usually plentiful parking. Alternatively, you can park at the end of Cape Solander Drive (point 9 on the map – $8 per day and often busy) and get straight onto the Cape Baily Track to do the coastal section of the walk only.

DISTANCE & SAFETY – The walk is approximately 7km (5.4km if you’re leaving from point 9) and should take 2-2.5 hours depending on your pace. Much of the walk is on open cliff edges – although you don’t need to get very close to the edge – so be careful if you have children with you.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

Follow the instructions below to get from points 1 to 12 on the map!

1 – Polo Street, Kurnell: Kamay Botany Bay National Park Entrance

  • 5 minutes

The walk starts at the south-eastern end of Polo Street in Kurnell, where you’ll see a gate and a sign for Botany Bay National Park.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

National Park entrance on Polo Street, Kurnell

Follow the wide gravel path through the trees, and a tall white tower and large green water reservoir will come into view. If you get lost at any point during the day, these are good markers and can be seen for miles!

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

A few minutes later – shortly before the gravel track comes to a dead end – the pale, sandy, clay-like Polo Trail will appear on your left.

2 – Polo Trail

  • 5 minutes

Turn left down the Polo Trail. Almost immediately, the Yena Track (a very narrow, sandy track with trees arching over it and a green pole marker) forks off to the left . Ignore this and continue on the Polo Trail.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

You’ll pass rocky and sandy areas with low trees and bushes either side before coming out perpendicular to the Yena Gap Trail after about five minutes.

3 – Crossroads

  • 5 minutes

To your left and right is the Yena Gap Trail (left leads to Cape Solander Drive). Cross over and take the track opposite you (lying slightly to the left). You’ll soon get a glimpse of the ocean!

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

After a few minutes you’ll come out at an open, rocky area where the path forks in two directions.

4 – Cape Solander Track

  • 15 minutes

The path forking left is the Cape Baily Track, the coastal path along the cliffs. To the right is the Cape Solander Track, which runs parallel to the coast but more inland.

On this walk we’ll turn right and take the wide Cape Solander Track (and take the Cape Baily Track on the return journey). Note that there can be muddy areas on the Cape Solander Track, so if it’s been raining you may prefer to turn left and take the coastal path both ways.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

The path is ridged, winding and uneven, with shrubland either side. Keep an eye out for birds flitting around!

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

Keep walking and you’ll pass a large, open area, then a section that may be muddy.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

The track opens out again, then veers to the left and becomes narrower. You’ll get a glimpse of the Cape Solander viewing platform and car park through a gap in the bushes to the left. Continue on the path to the right.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

After about 15 minutes in total – just before reaching the Tabbigai Gap – the Cape Solander Track joins back onto the Cape Baily Track.

5 – Tabbigai Gap

  • 15 minutes

The boardwalk veering off to your left is the Cape Baily Track heading north along the coastline (that we passed the start of in the last section and will take home later). Ignore the boardwalk and continue forward on the Cape Baily Track heading south.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

About three minutes later you’ll join onto the winding boardwalk which takes you to the Tabbigai Gap.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

Keep right when the track splits off and you’ll come to another boardwalk.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

You’ll emerge onto the open cliffs and be able to see Cape Baily Lighthouse in the distance. Follow the boardwalks and clifftops until you reach Blue Hole Gap.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

6 – Blue Hole Gap

  • 20 minutes

Take some time to explore the beautiful, swirling rock formations at Blue Hole Gap, then follow the boardwalk around to the other side.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

Keep going and you’ll pass some stunning rock formations and wet areas on the clifftops before reaching the sandy track up to Cape Baily Lighthouse.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

7 – Cape Baily Lighthouse

  • 2 minutes

Follow the short sandy track up to the lighthouse, and you’ve arrived at your destination!

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.


Return Journey

8 – Tabbigai Gap

  • 35 minutes

Retrace your steps to Tabbigai Gap.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

This time, rather than turn left back onto the inland Cape Solander Track that we arrived on, turn right onto the Cape Baily Track boardwalk that follows the coastline north.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

 

Enjoy the beautiful clifftop walk all the way to Cape Solander Drive.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

9 – Cape Solander Viewing Platform

  • 5 minutes

Near the end of Cape Solander Drive is the Cape Solander viewing platform. This is one of Sydney’s best whale-watching spots, and has information boards and sometimes volunteers keeping count of whale sightings. You may also see people having their wedding pictures taken like in my cover photo at the top!

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

Walk up Cape Solander Drive for a few minutes (look out for the Sydney CBD views!) until you reach the gated entrance to the Yena Gap Trail on your left.

10 – Yena Gap Trail

  • 5 minutes

Head down the Yena Gap Trail and you’ll come out at the cross roads we passed at point 3.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.

11 – Polo Trail

  • 5 minutes

Turn right to get back onto the Polo Trail and you’ll come out on the gravel track again by the water reservoir.

12 – Polo Street, Kurnell

  • 5 minutes

Turn right and follow the gravel track back to Polo Street in Kurnell. Depending what time of day it is you could grab a coffee from Endeavour or Cook at Kurnell, or watch Port Botany light up from Silver Beach at sunset.

Guide to a beautiful two-hour cliffside walk in Kurnell, Sydney, along the Cape Baily Track, Polo Trail and Cape Solander Track. Explore Kamay Botany Bay National Park, enjoy both ocean views and shrubland, see Australian birds, the Cape Baily Lighthouse and go whale watching at the Cape Solander viewing platform.


For more information on hikes in Australia, including pictures from some of my favourites around the country and how they differ from those in the UK, check out this blog post. Happy hiking!