What better way to enjoy Drawing Room Rocks than by exploring it during a glorious sunrise? Located in Barren Grounds Reserve, just outside of the town of Berry in the Shoalhaven area, are a collection of amazingly shaped sandstone formations known as the Drawing Room Rocks. Over time, weathering has worked its magic, creating these natural tables and chairs made out of rock!
By completing the Drawing Room Rocks Walk, you’ll arrive at the main lookout where the rocks are located. In addition to that, are breath-taking views of the surrounding Illawarra escarpment, Kangaroo Valley and Didthul Mountain – all best enjoyed watching the sunrise. So set the alarm clock early, pack a head torch and get pumped for a magical sunrise hike to the Drawing Room Rocks!
Keen on other epic sunrise hikes? Check out our 3 Day Blue Mountains Hiking Guide for THREE MORE amazing sunrise hikes!
Drawing Room Rocks Walk | Sunrise Guide
So you’ve decided to smash out the Drawing Room Rocks Walk for sunrise – you’ve made a wise decision! Speed hiking to the summit of a trail to watch the sunrise is an exhilarating and thrilling experience, no matter which hike it is. So completing the Drawing Room Rocks Walk for sunrise is a sure fire way of getting maximum enjoyment from this hiking adventure.
Thankfully, in terms of sunrise hikes, the Drawing Room Rocks Walk is a fairly easy one. The trail is straightforward and easy to navigate. Plus, it’s only around 2.5km to the Lookout, so you won’t be doing too much hiking in the dark. Of course, hiking in the dark is much slower, so you’ll need to factor that in, as well as your usual hiking speed to figure what time to set off. By speed hiking, Beck and I managed to get to the top in around 25 minutes.
Be warned, like many Australian bush trails, you’ll be copping plenty of cobwebs to the face if you’re the first to tackle the trail for the day. We find wearing a hat and blindly waving a stick in front of us can be helpful to avoid eating too many spiders! Beck is terrified of spiders, so this often (well, always) results in me leading the way on any Australian sunrise hike. Let’s hope you choose to do this sunrise hike with a brave hiking buddy that’ll take a few cobwebs for the team!
Drawing Room Rocks Trail Preview
- Type: One-way
- Distance: 4.5km
- Time: 1.5-2 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 350m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Car Park off Brogers Creek Road
Difficulty is rated by Travel Made Me Do It as there is no official grading for this trail
With your head torch switched on, the trailhead is well sign-posted, and easy to find.
SIDE NOTE: To make sure we made it to the Lookout in time for sunrise, we didn’t bother taking photos on the way up. So we’ve taken these photos of the trailhead on the way back down (hence the well-lit photos).
At times, the Drawing Room Rocks Walk is physically demanding given the steepness of the trail. But luckily, even in the dark, the trail is easy to follow as it’s a well-worn path. However, like with most bushwalks, the terrain can be uneven with leaf litter, rocks and tree roots. So take care when speed hiking in the dark, and make sure your head torch is cranked up to full capacity.
WHY WOULD YOU SPEED HIKE A SUNRISE HIKE? You’ll likely be up against the clock to make it to the Lookout in time for sunrise (especially if you didn’t quite set your alarm clock early enough!) So speed hiking is a great option when doing a sunrise hike – it will ensure that you make it in time!
In the darkness, you won’t be able to appreciate the lovely flowers and quaint bushland around you. But the Drawing Room Rocks Walk is an out and back affair. So you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the trail, surrounds and other viewpoints, on your return leg.
Drawing Room Rocks
The Drawing Room Rocks are absolutely phenomenal! Following the final steep section of the hike, the trail flattens out and begins winding its way through dense bushland, quickly leading you to the incredible Drawing Room Rocks. By this time, and gradually throughout your ascent, you’ll notice the darkness clearing considerably. With sunrise approaching, you should be able to admire the Drawing Room Rocks without your head torch on when you arrive at the Lookout.
The naturally carved sandstone formations are precariously positioned on the edge of the escarpment. In a fairly dense area, an array of table-top shaped rocks elegantly protrude from the otherwise flat cliff-top lookout. It’s like nature has set out the table and chairs for you to enjoy a breakfast picnic, if that’s what you’ve packed.
Sunrise at Drawing Room Rocks
With the sensational Drawing Room Rocks at your feet, all there is to do is relax and wait for the sun to rise. Unfortunately, our sunrise hike was met with thick cloud cover. But honestly speaking, don’t let an overcast morning put you off! It’s possible that all of a sudden, out of the darkness, the combination of the sun and clouds can throw off some wicked colours. For us, the horizon transitioned from a dreary grey mist to a bright orange glow in a matter of seconds.
Once you have experienced the epic sunrise, you’ll have even better views of the surrounding landscape. Beneath you is Kangaroo Valley, full of enticing green spaces. In the distance and surrounding you are bush covered mountains and escarpment. It’s such a mind-blowing setting to enjoy the sunrise. We can imagine on a less overcast day, that golden hour could be even more spectacular.
Wildflowers and Wildlife
After enjoying the awesome sunrise at the Drawing Room Rocks, it’s time to make the return journey. Although this time, hopefully with the sun shining, you’ll get more of a taste of the Drawing Room Rocks trail. Almost immediately, you’ll notice alternate spots along the escarpment offering slightly different views of the surrounding landscape. Plus, if you’ve timed your visit in Spring, you’ll see an abundance of wildflowers with many varieties of colours.
With less foot traffic during the early hours, you may even catch a glimpse of a lyrebird! Luckily, we managed to see a couple frolicking in the leaf litter. They’re typically quite shy, so you’ll have to tread lightly to get a proper look!
Drawing Room Rocks Golden Hour
On the return leg, there are some other lesser-known lookouts to check out. By making it up to Drawing Room Rocks for sunrise, you’ll still have golden hour to enjoy on the way back down. There are a few side-trails, or, essentially bush-bashes leading to lookout spots, but your views are mostly covered by trees and so, are probably not worth the effort. But do keep an eye out for an opening that looks out over Gerroa. It’s a genuine side-trail, briefly leading away from the main trail, that steers you to a fairly decent lookout. The side-trail is about 750 metres from the trailhead.
Drawing Room Rocks Sunrise Hike Recap
Well done, you’ve conquered the Drawing Room Rocks Walk for sunrise. It’s hard to beat the feeling of watching a sunrise from a stunning natural setting like Drawing Room Rocks. Of course, a sunrise hike is always a worthwhile and memorable experience, regardless of whether you have the perfect weather conditions. You know what they say, you have to be in it to win it!
We hope this guide has inspired you to hike up to the Drawing Room Rocks for sunrise. For more information on nearby accommodation, useful hiking gear and bonus tips for this hike, please continue below.
Are you keen on exploring more of the area? Have a look at our Kiama Day Trip Guide (2021).
Getting to Sydney
Flights: Of course, you’ll need to fly to Sydney to do this trip from abroad. If you’re travelling to Sydney from overseas, use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search.
Also, if you’re based in the UK or US, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying a premium membership, you could save lots of money on international travel. If you’re interstate, subscribe to I Want That Flight for the best flight deal alerts to and from Melbourne. You can usually find cheap flights with Jetstar or Tiger Airways.
Getting to Drawing Room Rocks
If you’re attempting this sunrise hike from Sydney, you’ll need to set off around 3am (or maybe earlier depending on where you’re based and what time of year it is). Admittedly, finding parking for the Drawing Room Rocks was a little tricky. Of course, being half asleep, and in the dark, didn’t do us any favours. Just make sure to follow Brogers Creek Road northwards, away from Berry, and keep an eye out for a narrow and unsealed road to your right. Although, it’s easier said than done in the dark. We accidentally went down an unsealed road too early, which ended up being someone’s driveway – oops!
By following the unsealed road, you’ll quickly find a small parking area. There’s really only enough room for a few cars, but if you’re here for sunrise, you should have it to yourself!
There’s plenty of camping options around the nearby Southern Highlands. The Bendeela Camping and Picnic Area is a serene and peaceful campground where you might even spot a wombat! If you’re keen to rough it a bit more, consider the Carrington Falls Campground. When we camped in the Southern Highlands, many of the campgrounds were booked out, so we ended up at Moss Vale Village Caravan Park – check out our Southern Highlands Guide for more information. If you’re not in the mood for camping, use Booking.com or Airbnb to find yourself accommodation in Berry or nearby Kiama.
There’s plenty in the way of shops and cafes in the beautiful town of Berry – so there’ll be plenty of options for brekkie and a coffee post-sunrise hike. Check out our Kiama guide for more information on Berry.
- Petrol: $15AUD/person ($12USD)
- Food: $5AUD/person ($4USD)
= $20AUD/person ($16USD)
Five Hiking Gear Essentials for Drawing Room Rocks
For a more comprehensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Otherwise, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- SmarterLife LED Headlamp Flashlight – an absolute essential for any sunrise hike! Make sure to buy a high quality head torch as there’s nothing worse than a weak light when trying to navigate in the dark.
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Goretex hiking boots – these hiking boots are super comfortable and are great for bush trail terrain.
- Anker PowerCore Portable Charger – this hike isn’t very long, but it’s always useful to have a portable charger just in case!
- GoPro HERO 9 – pop that Go Pro on a tripod, set to time lapse, and relive that sunrise whenever you want!
- DJI Mavic Air 2 – we cannot recommend this drone more highly! It takes the most epic aerial footage, flies like a dream and won’t break the bank.
Trail navigation is fairly straightforward for the Drawing Room Rocks Walk. But if you’re doing the sunrise hike, you’ll be navigating in the dark. So just to be on the safe side, download an online map before you set out. We recommend using Wikiloc for GPS guided directions. For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during the hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.
- Give yourself plenty of time for sunrise: You don’t want to be madly rushing for sunrise – give yourself plenty of time in case the hike takes longer than you think or you have trouble finding the car park.
- Wear long sleeves: there can be all sorts of creepy-crawlies out in the bush at night, so be prepared with long sleeves and even some insect repellent.
- You need permission to fly your drone in NSW National Parks (NPWS): please send an application form to NPWS to ask for permission to fly your drone at the Drawing Room Rocks.
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