Hermitage Foreshore Walk
Cadigal & Birrabirragal Country

50 min to 1 h

2 km
oneway segment

↑ 80 m
↓ -76 m

Moderate track
The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is a wonderful way to explore Sydney Harbour from the perspective of South Head. This walk starts from Nielsen Park and follows a well maintained track along the narrow strip of harbour-side bushland to Bayview Hill Rd. Along the way, you will visit some secluded beaches and visit the historic Strickland House. A great walk exploring the history and natural beauty while enjoying a new perspective of the city. Let us begin by acknowledging the Cadigal & Birrabirragal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 
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Welcome to Nielsen Park. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Rocks and trees in Nielsen Park. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Path leading through Nielsen Park towards Shark Bay. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Path leading behind beach at Shark Bay. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Shark Bay Beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Cafe at Nielsen Park. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Notting Memorial. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Western end of Shark Bay. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Interesting rock formation at the western end of Shark Bay . | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Steps at the western end of Shark Bay. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Degaussing Station Range. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Steele Point Gun Emplacement. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
New steps at the northern end of Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Information sign on the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Steele Point Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk near the waters edge. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Interesting rock formation beside the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
City view beside the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track leading beside a rock wall. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Fuchsia Heath (Epacris Longiflora). | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk beside the water. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Information sign. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Weedy section of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Water view from near Milk Beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Milk Beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Steps between Milk Beach and Strickland House. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Lookout behind Strickland House. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Strickland House. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Picnic area behind Strickland House. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Tingara Beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Behind house near Strickland House. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track winding up some steps. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Ralph Newboult Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore walk leading close to some houses. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermit Bay beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Sea wall at Hermit Point. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Cave at Hermit Point. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermit Point. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore walk south of Hermit Point. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Queens Beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Boardwalk behind Queens Beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from near Queens Beach. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Stone Steps. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View though fence to cemetery. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
More Harbour Views. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk near Bayview Hill Rd. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track at end of Bayview Hill Rd. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
End of Bayview Hill Rd. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Downloads GPX PDF

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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Segment This is part of longer journey and can not be completed on it is own.
Start (-33.8508491,151.2685463)
Mode Bus Car (There is free parking available.)
DirectionsFrom New South Head Road
  • Turn on to Vaucluse Road then drive for 1.4 km
  • Turn left onto Greyville Avenue and drive for another 310 m
Finish (-33.8634562,151.2695927)
Mode (end)
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the lower end of the car park on Greycliffe Ave, this walk heads around the gate and along the sealed path (driveway) towards the water, passing the 'Sydney Harbour National Park' sign. After ≈50m, the path leads to a four-way intersection just past the garbage bins.
From the intersection, this walk heads towards the water following the wide path. The path soon bends left (near the toilet block, on the right) and heads behind the beach, past the large information sign. Soon the path heads over the 'Dressing Pavilion' tunnel and, ≈50m later, comes to the front of the Nielsen Park Cafe with it's great water views.....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After 140 m pass the toilet (30 m on your right).
After another 135 m find the "Shark Bay" (15 m on your right).
Shark Bay
Shark Bay

Located at the northern end of Nielsen Park, this beach faces north across Sydney Harbour. The sandy beach offers a swimming net enclosure, public toilets and change rooms, showers and is a popular place for people to simply relax. The beach is a focal point of Nielsen Park and also boasts a cafe. Protected by the harbour, there is no surf at this beach. The beach is not patrolled. This is a lovely spot, with natural shade not far from the beach.
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Located at the northern end of Nielsen Park, this beach faces north across Sydney Harbour. The sandy beach offers a swimming net enclosure, public toilets and change rooms, showers and is a popular place for people to simply relax. The beach is a focal point of Nielsen Park and also boasts a cafe. Protected by the harbour, there is no surf at this beach. The beach is not patrolled. This is a lovely spot, with natural shade not far from the beach.

Then find the "Nielsen Park Cafe" (20 m on your left).
Nielsen Park Cafe
Nielsen Park Cafe

Open 8-5 daily, this historic cafe offers inside seating and a range of meals, including breakfast, sandwiches and hot food. This is one of a number of buildings in Nielsen Park which are available for functions. For further enquiries, contact 9337 1574.
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Open 8-5 daily, this historic cafe offers inside seating and a range of meals, including breakfast, sandwiches and hot food. This is one of a number of buildings in Nielsen Park which are available for functions. For further enquiries, contact 9337 1574.

After another 75 m pass the toilet (45 m on your left).
After another 95 m find the "Steele Point Gun Emplacement" (55 m on your right).
Steele Point Gun Emplacement
Steele Point Gun Emplacement

Construction of this initial emplacement took about three years and was completed in 1874. The sandstone pit once had a steel dome (to protect from shells) and was part of a series of gun emplacements protecting from the threat of invasion. Today, you will find a series of tall sandstone channels and the circular pit where the main gun once stood. A set of un-railed steps leads into the pit - please take care in the area, as the pit is not fenced.
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Construction of this initial emplacement took about three years and was completed in 1874. The sandstone pit once had a steel dome (to protect from shells) and was part of a series of gun emplacements protecting from the threat of invasion. Today, you will find a series of tall sandstone channels and the circular pit where the main gun once stood. A set of un-railed steps leads into the pit - please take care in the area, as the pit is not fenced.

The starting point of an optional sidetrip. Optional sidetrip to Strickland House. To start this optional side trip turn sharp left here. On returning from this side trip veer left when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
Continue straight.
After another 10 m find the "Degaussing range" (10 m on your right).
Degaussing range
Degaussing range

This degaussing range, found at Steele Point, was constructed in 1960 and is still operated by the Royal Australian Navy today. Degaussing is the process of removing (or at least reducing) a magnetic field. This degaussing range services four areas in the harbour (about 500m from the building), where metal ships passing over will be automatically de-magnetised. Why? Mostly to prevent the triggering of seabed mines.
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This degaussing range, found at Steele Point, was constructed in 1960 and is still operated by the Royal Australian Navy today. Degaussing is the process of removing (or at least reducing) a magnetic field. This degaussing range services four areas in the harbour (about 500m from the building), where metal ships passing over will be automatically de-magnetised. Why? Mostly to prevent the triggering of seabed mines.

After another 7 m continue straight.
After another 20 m find the "Steele Point Cottage" (10 m on your right).
Steele Point Cottage
Steele Point Cottage

Why not make a weekend of it? Built in 1880, this one-time gunners' barracks has been restored as a one bedroom getaway. Managed by NPWS, you can hire this cottage (found on Steele Point) from $330 per night (two night min). Great for a romantic weekend away for two.
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Why not make a weekend of it? Built in 1880, this one-time gunners' barracks has been restored as a one bedroom getaway. Managed by NPWS, you can hire this cottage (found on Steele Point) from $330 per night (two night min). Great for a romantic weekend away for two.

After another 55 m find the "Steele Point Lookout" (5 m on your right).
Steele Point Lookout
Steele Point Lookout

Informally named, this fenced lookout is the most northern lookout on the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. There are great harbour views to the city in this well-shaded spot.
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Informally named, this fenced lookout is the most northern lookout on the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. There are great harbour views to the city in this well-shaded spot.

After another 580 m find the "Milk Beach" (on your right).
Milk Beach
Milk Beach

Milk Beach is a small, secluded, sandy beach in Sydney Harbour National Park, on the inside of South Head. In the 'back yard' of Strickland House, this beach is a memorable spot along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. The beach is about 50m wide and faces south-east. The views across the water to the city and to Shark Island are great. A seat on the grassy clearing behind the beach makes a very inviting offer to sit and enjoy for a while. This is also a great place to get the toes wet.
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Milk Beach is a small, secluded, sandy beach in Sydney Harbour National Park, on the inside of South Head. In the 'back yard' of Strickland House, this beach is a memorable spot along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. The beach is about 50m wide and faces south-east. The views across the water to the city and to Shark Island are great. A seat on the grassy clearing behind the beach makes a very inviting offer to sit and enjoy for a while. This is also a great place to get the toes wet.

After another 215 m continue straight.
After another 80 m find the "Ralph Newboult Lookout" (10 m on your right).
Ralph Newboult Lookout
Ralph Newboult Lookout

This lookout boasts great views as well as being home to a bench seat and memorial to Ralph Newboult. The lookout is a shaded spot with great views across the harbour to the city. Ralph was a keen bushwalker who lead walks most Wednesdays for the National Parks Association of NSW. His sudden death whilst walking on 8 November 2000 was a great shock to the many who walked with him and especially to his family.
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This lookout boasts great views as well as being home to a bench seat and memorial to Ralph Newboult. The lookout is a shaded spot with great views across the harbour to the city. Ralph was a keen bushwalker who lead walks most Wednesdays for the National Parks Association of NSW. His sudden death whilst walking on 8 November 2000 was a great shock to the many who walked with him and especially to his family.

After another 130 m find the "Hermit Bay beach" (8 m on your right).
Hermit Bay beach
Hermit Bay beach

This secluded beach in Hermit Bay (just north of Hermit Point) is home to a 40m-wide, east facing sandy beach. Behind the beach is the Hermitage Foreshore walk track and a few houses through the trees. The beach is lined with some natural sandstone sculptures of interesting form and is a quiet place to enjoy the wide harbour views.
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This secluded beach in Hermit Bay (just north of Hermit Point) is home to a 40m-wide, east facing sandy beach. Behind the beach is the Hermitage Foreshore walk track and a few houses through the trees. The beach is lined with some natural sandstone sculptures of interesting form and is a quiet place to enjoy the wide harbour views.

After another 85 m find the "Hermit Point" (10 m on your right).
Hermit Point
Hermit Point

Hermit Point hosts a grassy open area and is surrounded by a sandstone sea wall. The sea wall has been shaped to host some boat pens, a launch and a timber wharf. The area is now protected as part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. Here, you will find a number of picnic tables, a small sandstone cave, natural shade and some great water views. The headland, bay and ultimately the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, derive their names from the large home behind this point. The Hermitage was originally built in 1840 by Alexander Dick, then in the 1870's, Edward Mason Hunt undertook some significant renovations, turning it into a Victorian Rustic Gothic house.
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Hermit Point hosts a grassy open area and is surrounded by a sandstone sea wall. The sea wall has been shaped to host some boat pens, a launch and a timber wharf. The area is now protected as part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. Here, you will find a number of picnic tables, a small sandstone cave, natural shade and some great water views. The headland, bay and ultimately the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, derive their names from the large home behind this point. The Hermitage was originally built in 1840 by Alexander Dick, then in the 1870's, Edward Mason Hunt undertook some significant renovations, turning it into a Victorian Rustic Gothic house.

After another 185 m continue straight.
After another 30 m find the "Queens Beach" (8 m on your right).
Queens Beach
Queens Beach

Queens Beach is a small, 50m wide sandy beach that faces west, near Queens Ave Vaucluse. The beach has the Hermitage Foreshore walk running behind it. The beach is protected from the ocean surf and is not patrolled. There are great views across the harbour to the city and Harbour Bridge. A quiet spot, providing an excuse to enjoy the view and splash the feet.
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Queens Beach is a small, 50m wide sandy beach that faces west, near Queens Ave Vaucluse. The beach has the Hermitage Foreshore walk running behind it. The beach is protected from the ocean surf and is not patrolled. There are great views across the harbour to the city and Harbour Bridge. A quiet spot, providing an excuse to enjoy the view and splash the feet.

After another 285 m pass a seat (on your right).
After another 20 m come to the end.

Optional sidetrip to Strickland House.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 75 m continue straight.
After another 100 m come to "Greycliffe House".
Greycliffe House
Greycliffe House

Greycliffe House was completed in 1851 by John Reeve, son-in-law to the explorer W C Wentworth. The house was unoccupied between 1898 and 1911, when it was taken over by the State Government and used as a baby hospital and Tresillian mothercraft home in to the 1930s. Many of the plantings are from this era. Today, the building is home to the Sydney Harbour South office of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and is one of few remaining examples of gothic architecture in Sydney.
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Greycliffe House was completed in 1851 by John Reeve, son-in-law to the explorer W C Wentworth. The house was unoccupied between 1898 and 1911, when it was taken over by the State Government and used as a baby hospital and Tresillian mothercraft home in to the 1930s. Many of the plantings are from this era. Today, the building is home to the Sydney Harbour South office of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and is one of few remaining examples of gothic architecture in Sydney.

The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 175 m to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Hermitage Foreshore Walk


Grading
Class 3/6
Moderate track
Length 2 km
Time 50 min to 1 h
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Gradient Short steep hills (3/6)
Signage Clearly signposted (1/6)
Infrastructure Generally useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats) (1/6)
Experience Required No experience required (1/6)
Weather Storms may impact on navigation and safety (3/6)

Some facilities on route
Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 680 m apart with the largest gap of 1.8 km.

Seat: There is one 2 km from the start.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Toilet
140 m[toilet]
Toilet
290 m[toilet]
Building
360 mDegaussing range
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