Sydney is bursting at the seams with stunning coastal scenery, so there is a tonne of coastal walking options. In particular, the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney has one very well known coastal walk – Bondi to Coogee. But what if you’re keen to avoid the crowds and hoards of tourists? Another option would be the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk which is far less known. Plus, the attractions on this hike are more raw, dramatic and unique.
With that said, the Randwick City Council still hasn’t completed an official walkway taking you from Maroubra to La Perouse. The main issue is the lack of a continuous track through the mid-section of the walk that takes you through a bunch of golf courses. Unfortunately, the council haven’t provided an estimated date for when construction will take place to build such a walkway. Although, it seems to be on the cards.
Despite this, there’s nothing stopping you from smashing out the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk in the immediate future. With epic sandstone cliffs, a couple of gorgeous national parks, wartime fortifications, plus hidden beaches and bays, there’s plenty to enjoy on this speed hike. So pencil in a date with your hiking buddies to give this one a crack!
Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk Guide
This guide will detail how to speed hike the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk by breaking down different sections. We’ll cover all of the highlights and natural attractions so you don’t miss out on anything. Plus, we’ll help you plan the boring stuff – how to get there, how to get back, how long it takes, hiking essentials, etc.
For other lesser known Sydney based coastal walks, that’s ideal to speed hike, read our Cronulla to Kurnell hiking guide and Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walk. Otherwise, the popular Royal National Park Coast Track is another great trail to speed hike.
Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk Preview
- Type: One-way
- Distance: 16.5km
- Time: 4.25 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 245m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Maroubra Beach
Travel Made Me Do It have personally rated this trail
Highlights of the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk
- Maroubra Beach
- Malabar Headland National Park – Dragon Rock
- Malabar Beach (and Malabar Ocean Pool)
- Randwick Golf Course
- Little Bay Beach
- The Coast Golf Club
- Kamay Botany Bay National Park (La Perouse):
A popular beach for Sydneysiders, keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the suburbs, Maroubra Beach can be a busy destination. With many surfers out at sea and yuppies attempting to upgrade their tans, you should make your way to the southern end of the beach. Here, you’ll find a flat slab of orange rock, surrounded by darker scattered rocks on the shoreline. It’s a nice spot to soak in the smell and spray of the salt water, plus the soothing crashing of waves.
But it’s time to leave that behind! Turn around and you’ll immediately face a small scramble onto a trail leading you into the eastern section of the Malabar Headland National Park.
Keep in mind that the eastern section is closed on saturdays from 7:30am and the first and third Sunday of every month due to ANZAC rifle range operations. The eastern section encompasses the Boora Walking Track, which forms an integral part of the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk. So you’ll have to plan this adventure around these closures. To be on the safe side, check local alerts before you go, just in case of any sudden or unexpected closures.
Alternatively, the Western Escarpment walking track set slightly away from the coast, but still in sight of it, remains open all year round. It’s the only other official walking track of the Malabar Headland National Park and could be a decent backup option if needed!
Malabar Headland National Park
This part of the hike was our favourite. Essentially, it’s the Boora Walking Track – the main track of the Malabar Headland National Park. There is a clear boardwalk to follow with spectacular views of the adjacent coastline. But there are many opportunities to go ”off-trail” to explore the remarkable geological features of the cliff walls. So with the numerous detours, you’ll feel compelled to do, there is the odd rock scramble on an otherwise flat track.
There are no safety fences along the coast here, so be very careful when exploring these sandstone cliffs. Of course, with a little bit of common sense, they can be enjoyed safely. The first large sandstone platform to check out is around Magic Point. You’ll see insanely carved out rock formations in all directions. Compared to the more structured walking path of Bondi to Coogee, this hike gets you up, close and personal with much rawer and dramatic landscape. You’ll feel entirely removed from the nearby suburban life of the Eastern Suburbs.
One of the highlights of Magic Point is, what we’ve come to call, Dragon Rock. It was unknown to us before hiking here. But we’re convinced this rock is shaped like the head of a dragon! Of course, you’ve got to use your imagination. But yeah sure, there’s an open mouth, and a nostril and eye, formed from varying depths of holes in the rock. Yeah, it’s definitely a dragon’s head! Eat your heart out Wedding Cake Rock.
Again, before you storm this place to get your Instagram worthy material, keep in mind, that this attraction is nearing the cliff wall. So proceed with caution! For a rough idea on where to find Dragon Rock, and other epic geology around Magic Point, use our map below for guidance.
Around the corner from Magic Point, is the equally impressive Boora Point. Expect to see more stunning sandstone cliffs as you follow the coastline. Even on an overcast day, this hike feels epic, like there’s almost an elevated sense of adventure and thrill-seeking. But even on a gloriously sunny day, pack a windproof jacket, as at times, you’ll be exposed to the coastal breeze.
After enjoying more epic coastline, you’ll enter the home stretch of the Malabar Headland, following a straight section of the track, adjacent to Long Bay. You’ll speed hike past some graffitied fortifications, and begin to see the vast green expanse of golf courses across the bay. You’ll then officially exit this national park. Follow the footpaths that bend around the beach, and you’ll find a welcome bathroom stop.
The beach itself is far less known than the likes of Maroubra Beach and the rest. It’s essentially a small bay, with Boora Point to the left and the Randwick Golf Course to the right. Feel free to wander and explore the beach. In comparison to some of the spectacular beaches and bays we had recently explored in the South Coast of New South Wales, we didn’t find Malabar Beach overly extraordinary. But then again, it’s a relief to have an Eastern Suburbs based beach that’s not overcrowded.
If anything, Little Bay Beach, the next beach found on the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk, is a better beach in our opinion. It’s a tad more secluded and removed from the suburbs. Although, the beaches found in the Kamay Botany Bay National Park nearing the end of this hike, are even better!
Malabar Ocean Pool
One thing that Malabar Beach has going for it, is a lovely ocean pool. If you haven’t realised by now, Beck has a thing for ocean pools. She is genuinely mesmerised by each and every ocean pool that we pass. To access the Malabar Ocean Pool, follow the paved footpath, lined with a white wooden fence, that bends around the beach. You’ll walk adjacent to the ocean, and then be led down to the ocean pool.
There’ll be many more opportunities for a swim later on. For now, we recommend cracking on with your speed hike and making your way through the bizarre mid-section of the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk. That is, negotiating your way through a bunch of golf courses.
WHAT IS SPEED HIKING? It allows you to turn up the pace on a hike whenever you need to. We found speed hiking through the gold courses a good way to get off the greens as soon as possible! Otherwise, speed hiking for an entire trail ensures a good workout and means you can squeeze more into your day. For more information, read our guide to speed hiking.
Randwick Golf Course
Up the hill from Malabar Beach is the Randwick Golf Course. At this point of the walk, we weren’t sure whether we could walk through the golf course or around it. However, you’ll see signs encouraging and welcoming you to walk on the golf course, by sticking strictly to the coastline at all times. There’s no actual seaside trail, but rather, guidance from several signs instructing you to hug the coastline.
Even so, it felt a bit odd to be speed hiking on a golf course. You’ll be looking over your shoulder for potential incoming golf ball missiles the whole time. Although, we assume an official walkway would have to pass through here anyway, in order to stay by the coast. But surely with a more official walkway, hikers would feel a little more at ease. So we look forward to the day when an official path is constructed!
This would nicely connect Malabar Headland National Park with the La Perouse section of the Kamay Botany Bay National Park. So the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk will be even better. But for now, rest assured, this part of the walk is still very nice, with stunning coastal views all the way to Little Bay Beach.
Little Bay Beach
Arriving at the secluded Little Bay Beach was the perfect spot for lunch. If anything, it was a bit of a relief to get off the golf course, and onto the sand. I remember coming here with some mates when I was younger which immediately filled me with a sense of nostalgia. Don’t you love that feeling?
The body of sand is split into two sections by a rocky platform and the converging golf course. We opted for the larger stretch of sand to sit down and relax. So after crossing the first body of sand, you’ll need to scramble up the rock platform and briefly ascend onto the golf course. You’ll then find a staircase that leads you down onto the beach. Expect the odd snorkeler or young local families enjoying the calm, shallow and serene bay.
After you finish your lunch, head back up the stairs, and follow a paved path, briefly away from the coast. It would have made sense to exit the southern end of the beach to continue by the coast, but there are signs forbidding this.
The Coast Golf Club
Upon exiting Little Bay Beach, the paved path will briefly lead you roadside. Take the first left and you’ll pass a small café. The path continues towards the Coast Golf Recreation Club and leads you into their car park. Strangely enough, the warm invitation for walking on the golf courses seems to abruptly stop at the Coast Golf Course.
It’s anyone’s guess how to actually proceed from this point. With respect to the golfers and in trying to do the right thing, Beck and I continued hugging the coast as much as possible. Although inevitably, you’ll cross a couple of fairways at unideal points. Let’s hope there aren’t too many golfers out when you’re speed hiking in no man’s land!
Thankfully, this awkward section doesn’t last too long. Soon enough, you’ll see the Cemetery Fire Trail, which officially signals your entrance into the Kamay Botany Bay National Park (La Perouse area). This is at about the same time, another golf course – St. Michael’s Golf Course, begins. But by joining the fire trail, you’ll avoid having to negotiate this other golf course.
Luckily, the amalgamation of brilliant coastal trails at the start and end of this hike saves the day. Of course, you could break up the different sections of this walk into separate adventures to avoid the golf courses altogether. Or, simply divert away from the coastline for this part of the trail. That way, you’ll miss the stink-eye of the golfers.
Kamay Botany Bay National Park (La Perouse)
Upon setting foot on the land of the Goorawal and Gweagal People, you’ll soon arrive at a fork in the trail. To your left are more beautiful rock platforms to explore. We’re sure you won’t be able to resist. You’ll be surrounded by dense coastal heath and sweeping ocean views at this point.
However, you’ll be met with some serious bush bashing if you follow this path, to the left, any further along. So it’s best to re-join, or simply, just stay on the fire trail the whole time to stay on track!
Essentially, the Cemetery Fire Trail, briefly transitions into the short Dharawal Resting Place Track, and then the Cape Banks Fire Trail. Understandably, this leads you to Cape Banks.
During this change of trails, you’ll pass a cemetery (Aboriginal site), helicopter base and some seemingly abandoned fortifications. You’ll soon discover more epic coastline before reaching Cape Banks. Keep an eye out for an amazing gap in the rock platforms along this part of the hike.
To your left, stretching some distance will be the magnificent Cape Banks. Similar to Cape Solander across the bay, Cape Banks is a great spot for whale watching. Whilst its ruggedness and dramatic surrounding landscape makes this landform worth exploring in its own right. It’s quite a shame that the New South Wales Golf Club have set up one of it’s teeing grounds on the edges of Cape Banks. Golfers attempt to hit over Little Bay, often falling short, and having their ball land in the ocean. We can’t imagine this is great for the environment.
With that said, the golf courses continue to diminish the ambience of the walk. Well, at least in this small section. That’s what you get by doing a coastal walk in a busy and densely populated city! Thankfully, as you pass by Cape Banks, and continue on the boardwalk toward Cruwee Cove Beach, a sense of peacefulness and tranquillity returns.
Cruwee Cove Beach
This next stretch of the hike is nice and quiet. Expect to see and hear wildlife on this part of the walk. In particular, you’ll be weaving and dodging the many sunbathing skinks. On top of that, the dense coastal heath surrounding the boardwalk provides a welcome environment for many different bird species.
The boardwalk meanders along the coastline, and in several parts, briefly disappears, making way for rough patches of seaside rock platform. Eventually, you’ll descend onto the rock platforms of Cruwee Cove Beach. As far as hidden beaches go, it’s one of Sydney’s best.
Although, further along the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk, is Little Congwong Beach. Perhaps, an even better, relatively hidden beach. However, it’s much easier to access, being so close to La Perouse. So in Cruwee Cove Beach, you have a genuinely harder-to-reach beach, that gives it a more serene ambience.
After climbing out of Cruwee Cove Beach, the boardwalk leads you to Henry Head. You’ll pass some gently cascading and damp rock platforms, to the left side of the track, emptying into the ocean, before reaching some wartime fortifications. Slightly off track is a lighthouse and the ruins of Henry Head Battery. Exploring the underground bunker adds to the coastal walk’s diversity and character. It’s not just pretty coastal views on this hike. You’ll have some quality cultural and historical sites to enjoy.
To continue, you’ll briefly head inland, hiking away from, but adjacent to, Botany Bay. The site of the New South Wales Golf Course in the distance isn’t ideal. But this is very brief. From here, you’re welcome to continue towards the Congwong beaches. But first, we recommend a slight detour to Brown’s Rock.
This optional side trail to Brown’s Rock isn’t too long. It’s a slight detour to the left, that descends down to the shore of Botany Bay, on a leaf-littered track with some loose rock underfoot. What awaits you are brilliant turquoise waters that you’ll likely have to share with some fishing enthusiasts. There’s a tiny patch of rock platforms that you can explore to give you a closer look of the small, but stunning pocket of water.
Brown’s Rock will actually provide your first glimpse of Bare Island Fort – one of the final attractions of the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk. It’s a little bit of a distance away, across the bay, but it still gives you a good idea of what’s to come. You’re nearing the end of the walk, so speed hike your way up and out of Brown’s Rock, to reach some more beautiful beaches.
Little Congwong Beach
Once you rejoin the trail, officially recognised as the Henry Head Walking Track, you’ll be a close distance to Congwong Beach. Although technically, you’ll pass adjacent to Little Congwong Beach initially. But you cannot access Little Congowng Beach at that time. You’ll need to head all of the way to Congwong Beach. From there, you have two options.
Most people will follow the Congwong Walking Track to get to Little Congwong Beach. This is the most straightforward and obvious option. However, it is possible to access, or at least get closer to, Little Congwong Beach, via some oceanside rock platforms from Congwong Beach. Refer to our map below for clarification.
Although more time consuming and difficult, we preferred the unofficial oceanside trail. That’s because, along the way, you’ll see absolutely stunning sandstone formations. They’re orange, red and white geological structures, interestingly layered in formation. With stunning turquoise waters of Little Congwong Beach in the background, you’ll have some of the best views of the entire Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk.
Admittedly, we didn’t go all the way to Little Congwong Beach from here. The views more than satisfied us. However, if you’re keen to explore Little Congwong Beach in more detail, it’s probably possible to go this way to get there. But, it’s safer and much easier following the actual Congwong Walking Track.
Besides being larger than Little Congwong Beach, Congwong Beach isn’t quite as pretty or charming. Its ease of access from La Perouse makes it much busier. But as we mentioned, it provides an easy access point, from the southern end of the beach, to those incredible sandstone rocks and views of Little Congwong Beach. So it’s worth spending time here for that reason alone.
Not being overly impressed with the beach itself, we didn’t stay for long nor did we take any photos. In hindsight, we were probably verging on being hangry and so wanted to press on with the hike. Congwong Beach is actually a great spot to relax and soak up views of Botany Bay and Bare Island Fort.
To exit Congwong Beach, you’ll hike up a small sand hill from the northern end. Almost immediately, you’ll feel like you’ve re-joined civilisation. You’ll join a paved path, alongside Anzac Parade, leading towards La Perouse. Before reaching the footbridge, known as Bare Island Bridge, leading to Bare Island Fort, there are more public bathrooms to your left.
Bare Island Fort
Bare Island is a heritage-listed military fortification, which even has built-in tunnels! Unfortunately, the fort itself remains closed except for guided tours on Sundays. We had visited during the week, so we didn’t have the luxury of organising a tour. We think it would certainly be worth doing a tour for a more in-depth historical understanding and greater overall experience of the area.
Otherwise, you’re free to walk the footbridge towards the closed gate of the fort. There are some nice rock platforms to explore at both ends of the footbridge. But it can get crowded on the weekend with plenty of people rock fishing. Having visited previously, we decided to just walk the footbridge and back. Besides, by this point, you would have already enjoyed so many epic rock platforms and formations. Your quota may already be full!
The Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk finishes around La Perouse Point where you can enjoy more stunning views of Botany Bay. You’re welcome to finish your day with a relaxing swim at Frenchmans Beach. Otherwise, it’s time for a feed or time to catch the bus back to Maroubra. We’ll explore options for food and transport a little further on in this itinerary.
Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Track Recap
As far as Sydney based coastal walks go, there’s a lot going for this one. It’s much less crowded than other coastal walks in the Eastern Suburbs. Plus, there’s many epic viewpoints, cliff walls, hidden bays and historical sites to explore. Other than planning your hike, hopefully, this itinerary has provided you with some helpful advice on what to look out for.
Continue below for how to exactly get back from La Perouse at the end of your hike, plus some other useful tips.
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 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 other states. You can usually find cheap flights with Jetstar or Tiger Airways.
Getting to/from Maroubra Beach
Thankfully, there’s plenty of free parking at Maroubra Beach. But parking directly opposite the beach on Maroubra Parade has a four hour limit. So we recommend parking on Bernie Kelly Drive near the South Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club. It’s free and unlimited. Weirdly enough, Google Maps doesn’t recognise the street name, but it’s right by Arthur Byrne Reserve.
If you don’t have a car, use RentalCars.com to hire one. It’s a fantastic search engine for finding the cheapest car hire. It’s what we use to hire cars in Australia.
Although, after you conquer this coastal walk, you’ll need to coordinate a couple of buses back to Maroubra from La Perouse. Unless you’re keen to walk back! There’s a bus stop fairly close to where you finish the hike.
There’s no bus that directly goes from La Perouse to Maroubra Beach though. So you’ll need to get the L94 or 391, and then get the 353 or 317. Alternatively, you can just get the L94 or 391 and then walk about 15-20 minutes back to your car. We chose the latter option.
If you don’t have a set of wheels at all, use the NSW Transport Trip Planner to figure out your initial bus routes to Maroubra Beach as well.
Bring a packed lunch, plenty of water and snacks. Our go-to grocery stores when travelling in Australia are Aldi and Woolworths. They will cover all the basic requirements. Otherwise, there are many shops and restaurants around Maroubra and La Perouse, whilst you’ll pass by a cafe just after Little Bay Beach if you’re desperate.
Personally, we recommend finishing your hike at Bare Grill in La Perouse for one of the best burgers in Sydney!
- Petrol: $10AUD/person ($7USD)
- Snacks: $5AUD/person ($3USD)
- Bare Grill: around $12-15AUD/person for a burger ($8-10USD)
= $28-30AUD/person ($22-23USD)
Five Hiking Gear Essentials
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Goretex hiking boots – one of the most comfortable hiking boots on the market. A great hiking boot for coastal walks when there is varied terrain.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack – this backpack is just right for speed hiking wherever, whenever.
- Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger – if you’re using online GPS directions on your phone, your phone battery can drain fairly quickly. This compact portable charger is robust, reliable and has an outstanding battery life itself.
- Nikon DSLR Camera – a great entry-level camera for beginners.
- GoPro HERO 9 – the premium option when it comes to action cameras. If you’re wanting to capture your Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk, the GoPro HERO 9 will give you the best quality footage.
Trail navigation can be a bit of a nightmare around the golf course mid-section of the Maroubra to La Perouse Coastal Walk. We can’t guarantee we navigated perfectly through the golf courses, but for a general idea, check out our 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.
- Start at Maroubra: finishing off your hike with a burger at Bare Grill in La Perouse means you should start your hike in Maroubra!
- Be prepared for a surprisingly tiring hike: without being too hardcore in intensity or terrain, Beck and I found the gently undulating trail fairly tiring. So give yourself an early start to make sure you finish the hike before the bus services reduce their frequency later in the day.
- Alternate options: to break up this hike into smaller sections, you can do these trails separately and still cover most of the highlights:
Tell us about your experience of walking through the golf courses. Was there a better way to do it than we suggest? Let us know in the comments below.
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