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Bushwalking track notes, photographs, maps and more for Otford to Helensburgh are found in each of the tabs below
Otford to Helensburgh
Time: 5 hrs 15 mins Walking time
Please allow extra time to rest and to explore
0.8 km NE of Otford
Length: 12.9 km Walk Length
As this is a One Way walk, the 12.9 km only includes the walking distance from the start to the end point
Royal National Park
Climb: 589 m Total Climbing
This walk has a total cumulative climb of 589 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 train station near the start and end of this walk
Style: One way
Track: Hard

Largely along service trails and well managed bush tracks, this walk goes from train station to train station through parts of southern Royal National Park. The bush track between Garrawarra and the Hacking River is incredibly beautiful as it winds its way down the hill through shrouded eucalypt forest and low lying scrub. (open in app)


Today's Fire rating
  Bushwalking track notes photographs, maps and camping spots for Otford to Helensburgh

Map of Walk

Location

                Sponsor of Otford to Helensburgh bushwalking tracknotes
Map of Otford to Helensburgh
Problem loading PDF Try here
Map Controls - Show Contours | Hide Path | Hide Distances | Hide Names
Map Scale 1 km
Otford Train Station
Otford Lookout
Top of Werrong Beach Track
The Squeeze Way and Burning Palms Tracks
The Squeeze Way and Lilyvale Bushtrack
The Squeeze Way and Burgh Ridge track
Garawarra Farm Carpark
Int of Burgh Track and Bola Heights Trail
Int of Lady Wakehurst Drive and Burgh Track
Intersection of Hacking River Firetrail and Burgh Track
End of Halls Rd
Starting point for this hiking track: Otford Train Station

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
 Otford 1:25 000 Map Series NSW-91294S 
 Appin 1:25 000 Map Series NSW-90291S 
 Campbelltown 1:50 000 Map Series CW-90291 
 Port Hacking 1:100 000 Map Series 9129 
 Wollongong 1:100 000 Map Series 9029 

Photo Gallery

 
The view of the Coast from just south of the Werrong Beach Intersection
 
The view of the Coast from just south of the Werrong Beach Intersection +
 
The Garawarra Management Trail
 
The Garawarra Management Trail +
 
The occassional view from the Garawarra Management Trail
 
The occassional view from the Garawarra Management Trail +

 
Garrawarra Farm
 
Garrawarra Farm +
 
Near where the track meets the Bola Heights Trail
 
Near where the track meets the Bola Heights Trail +
 
The Burgh Track as it goes down to Lady Wakehurst Dr.
 
The Burgh Track as it goes down to Lady Wakehurst Dr. +

 
The view just east of Lady Wakehurst Dr.
 
The view just east of Lady Wakehurst Dr. +
 
The shaded forest east of Lady Wakehurst
 
The shaded forest east of Lady Wakehurst +
 
The Hacking River
 
The Hacking River +

 
The servicetrail at Int of Hacking River and Burgh Tracks
 
The servicetrail at Int of Hacking River and Burgh Tracks +
 
The track going up to Helensburgh
 
The track going up to Helensburgh +
 
The large fenced in clearing
 
The large fenced in clearing +

Terrain

Cross sectional view of the Otford to Helensburgh bushwalking track

Cross Section of the Otford to Helensburgh bushwalking track



Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Otford to Helensburgh bushwalking track

Summary of the gradients over the the lenght of the Otford to Helensburgh 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 13km
Time 5 hrs 15 mins
.


Grade 4/6

Track: Hard
AS 2156.1 Gradient Short steep hills (3/6)
Quality of track Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Signs Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Experience Required Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged) (4/6)
*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
10km of this walk has short steep hills and another 3.1km is flat with no steps. The remaining (250m) has gentle hills with occasional steps.

Quality of track
10km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 2.8km follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles. The remaining (360m) follows a smooth and hardened path.

Signs
Around 8km of this walk is clearly signposted, whilst the remaining 4.8km has directional signs at most intersection.

Experience Required
Around 10km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 2.5km requires some bushwalking experience.

Weather
This whole walk, 13km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).

Infrastructure
6km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced) and another 3.6km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats). The remaining (3.5km) has limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged).

Track Notes


Catch the train to Otford Station
Public transport (train) available to this Bushwalk Check out the facilities at Otford Station
You can phone 131500 (the transport info line) for up to date running times.
Use these links to plan your train trip to the end of the walk.
Plan your trip from --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|
Drive to Otford Train Station
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) Otford Train Station to Otford Lookout
Track: Moderate - road
Length = 804 m Time = 24 mins
Climb = 97 m Descent = -37 m
From the top of Otford Station, this walk follows the signs to 'Royal National Park' up some stairs. Once at the top of the stairs, the walk turns left and climbs up the steep concrete path for approximately 50m to the top, where it comes to the intersection marked as 'Station Rd'. This walk turns left and follows the flat dirt road, passing an intersection with another road on the left. The walk continues along to the next intersection, where it turns right onto Fanshawe Rd. This walk follows Fanshawe Rd up the long hill until coming to an intersection with an asphalt road signposted as 'Lady Wakehurst Drive'. At the intersection, this walk turns left and crosses the road, continuing for approximately 25m until coming to a car park and the entry into Royal National Park. There is a large green sign here saying 'Otford Lookout'.

(0.8 km) Otford Lookout to The Squeeze Way and Burning Palms Tracks
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.88 km Time = 43 mins
Climb = 118 m Descent = -58 m
Veer right: From Otford Lookout, the walk heads up the stairs on the seaward side of the car park, winding up the hill and along the fenced of cliffs, keeping the ocean to the right as it steadily climbs up the hill. After a while, the track breaks away from the cliff and continues along the bush track, climbing up the hill until coming to an intersection marked with a signpost saying 'Werrong Beach'.
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the Coast Track along the bush track, winding up the long hill the the top, where it flattens out and continues along a well-managed bush track through a rather beautiful section of ferns. After quite a while, the track joins onto a flat service trail which it follows, undulating gently until it comes to the signposted intersection of the North Era bush track.

(2.69 km) The Squeeze Way and Burning Palms Tracks to The Squeeze Way and Burgh Ridge track
Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 3.03 km Time = 57 mins
Climb = 71 m Descent = -90 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Garawarra Farm' arrow along the service trail, winding through the bush for a short while before coming to the signposted intersection of the 'Lilyvale Track'.
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads along the hillside keeping the sea to the right of the track. After a short time, the track passes a small bush track that goes off to the right. (This sidetrack is about 20m long and offers some great views of the ocean and cliffs.) From the intersection, the track continues to undulate across the hillside before flattening out and soon coming to a signpost saying 'Cliff Track' and 'Burg Track'. Approximately 150m beyond this sign, there is a large gate and car park. This is signposted as 'Coast Track'.

(5.71 km) The Squeeze Way and Burgh Ridge track to Garawarra Farm Carpark
Walk: Easy - road
Length = 87 m Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m Descent = -2 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk heads across the car park, following the right-hand side for a short while before it comes to the signposted intersection of 'The Burgh Track'[1], before reaching the paddock.

(5.8 km) Garawarra Farm Carpark to Int of Lady Wakehurst Drive and Burgh Track
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.59 km Time = 34 mins
Climb = 16 m Descent = -171 m
Continue straight: From the 'Burgh Track' sign, this walk follows the sign away from the car park, keeping the paddock to the left. The track heads into the dense bushland, crossing a small creek and continuing along for a short while before coming to the intersection with the unnamed management trail.
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the bush track, heading west through the bush and away from the service trail. The track winds through the dense scrub for a short while, before starting to drop down a long hill, which gradually steepens as it continues down the scattered wooden steps. At the bottom, the walk comes to the intersection with Lady Wakehurst Drive.

(7.39 km) Int of Lady Wakehurst Drive and Burgh Track to Int of Burgh and Hacking River Tracks
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 887 m Time = 19 mins
Climb = 48 m Descent = -18 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads north-west along the bush track, away from Lady Wakehurst Drive. The track soon passes two signs saying 'Burgh Track', following the one that also points to 'Helensburgh', passing two large boulders. The track soon tends downhill, following one of the tributaries of the Hacking River. The walk crosses the creek using the boulders as stepping stones. After a short climb up the bank, the track continues slightly further alongside the creek to an old disused management trail, marked by several signs pointing the way to 'Helensburgh'. At this point, the track turns and leads up the hillside to an intersection with the Hacking management trail, marked by a small trailmarker signpost.

(8.28 km) Intersection of Hacking River Firetrail and Burgh Track to End of Halls Rd
Track: Hard - servicetrail
Length = 3.47 km Time = 1 hr 19 mins
Climb = 214 m Descent = -114 m
Turn sharp right: From the intersection, this walk heads north along the management trail. The track undulates as it winds its way around the hill, tending west. Gradually, as the walk turns to the west, the track begins to rise steeply. The track goes up to the ridgeline and then flattens out for some time. The trail comes to an intersection and large fenced-in clearing (a tip), marked by a large sign saying 'Royal National Park'. Here the walk turns right to follow the fence for just shy of 500m before following a short track to the end of Halls Road.

(11.75 km) End of Halls Rd to Helensburgh Railway Station
Track: Moderate - road
Length = 1.18 km Time = 24 mins
Climb = 25 m Descent = -69 m
Turn left: From the end of Halls Rd, this walk heads south along the road, immediately passing Gardiner Pl on the right. After a while, the walk comes to a 'T' intersection with Parkes St. The walk turns right onto Parkes St, heading downhill along the footpath until reaching Tunnel Rd (signposted), opposite a 'Helensburgh' Station sign. The walk turns right and goes along Wilsons Creek Rd for a short while before turning left and taking the the steps down to Helensburgh Railway Station.

Catch the train from Helensburgh Station
Public transport (train) available from this Bushwalk Check out the facilities at Helensburgh Station
You can phone 131500 (the transport info line) for up to date running times.
Use these links to plan your train trip from the end of the walk.
Plan your trip to --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|
Drive from Helensburgh Railway Station
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
Map Car Shuffle
To the start of the walk

Drive from:
From the end of the walk

Drive to:


Near by


Campsites in the park
Bonnie Vale camping ground
North Era camping ground
Uloola Falls camping ground


Nearest know Outdoor Stores near the start of this walk
Store Address Phone Distance (straight line)
Engadine Disposal & Outdoor Centre Pty Ltd 1042 Old Princes Hwy, Engadine (02) 9520 3367 16.2 km
Paddy Pallin Adventure Equipment 587 Kingsway, Miranda (02) 9525 6829 21.6 km
Onrope 11 Nelson Ave, Padstow (02) 9709 6299 30.6 km
Boots Great Outdoors 23 Koonya Cct, Caringbah (02) 9542 8988 22.9 km
Korries Solar 90 Gipps St , Wollongong (02) 4226 4632 25.2 km


A list of the nearest UHF CB repeaters I found to Otford to Helensburgh.
Channel Call sign
(more info)
Site Distance and dir from Otford to Helensburgh
Click to re-center search
3 VMG3 Mine commsite WESTCLIFF COLLIERY 16 km (to the W)
1 SYD01 12/14 Ormonde Parade HURSTVILLE 28 km (to the NNE)
7 SYD07 7 Glamorgan St BLACKTOWN 48 km (to the N)
8 ROB08 Communications Site MT MURRAY 52 km (to the SW)
4 ROB07 Radio Site Mission Australia Complex via Jamberoo Mountain Road KNIGHTS HILL 53 km (to the SSW)

Weather and Park info

Fire Danger
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
Mostly sunny.
Mostly sunny.
6.9°C (feels like 1.6°)
19 km/h from the SSW (gusting 22)
70% humidity     (as at 19/04:45am)
A graph displaying the average daily temperature range for the year

Royal National Park Link to official closures and fire bans page

Region: Sydney & Surrounds
Park fees Camping Facilities I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.


Garawarra State Conservation Area Link to official closures and fire bans page

Region: Sydney & Surrounds
Park fees Camping I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.

Walker Feedback

Comments
Add NewSearch
Andrew IP:124.170.135.xxx | 2010-04-10 23:58:14
I did this walk recently. It's a good walk, but much shorter than the time listed (maybe we walk really fast?).

We started at Otford lookout, rather than the train station, and got to the end in 3 hours.

Notes seem fairly accurate, although my printer was out of action so I just wrote down the main points onto a bit of paper. That successfully got us through :)

BTW Watch out for leeches, we got heaps on our shoes but luckily caught them before they could steal our blood.
Colin - Disparity around Helensburgh T IP:60.241.67.xxx | 2010-08-10 23:14:27
Either that, or we were completely lost.

The notes talk about heading east around a fenced enclosure, meeting a bush track (heading south) then ending up at Halls rd.

We found that the fenced enclosure was a massive tip, and the point where I suspect there was a south-bound track was fenced off.

We followed the road until it headed North, then worked our way around the fence to the point where a south-bound bush track appeared. However, the track itself dissolved into trail-bike circuits and completely braided tracks.

In the end we used dead-reckoning to get to Hall's Rd, partly by just following the road leading out of the tip. We also ended up to the east of the intersection mentioned on Halls Rd.

Seems like the tip may have expanded since the notes were made.

Oh, also, I don't think I'd call this a hard hike.
Oliver - Distances IP:120.151.11.xxx | 2011-02-02 21:34:21
I live nearby and run this track often.
A question...
At Garrwarra Farm carpark, right at the beginning of the trail to/from Otford Lookout, there is a National Parks sign stating that the distance to Otford is 8km. This differs from the map on this site, which states it's only 5.7km. Which is wrong!?
admin - re: Distances Super Administrator | 2011-02-02 22:59:00
Oliver wrote:
....At Garrwarra Farm carpark, right at the beginning of the trail to/from Otford Lookout, there is a National Parks sign stating that the distance to Otford is 8km. This differs from the map on this site, which states it's only 5.7km. Which is wrong!?

Hi Oliver
Thanks for the question. I have a link here to the sign that I think you are talking about.
http://www.wildwalks.com/i.html?image_id=33374
I believe that the distance that we provide are accurate +/- a few percent at least at the time we mapped the walk (sometimes tracks changes). This track is pretty stable and I doubt it has changed, and this sign pre-dates our mapping. So the distance that we provide of 5.7km is between Otford Train Station and Garawarra Farm Car Park. I am not keen to say the NPWS sign is wrong, as it could be measuring to a different point in Otford, or measuring a different route to Otford Train Station (eg going to to northern entrance of the train station). I hope that helps.
Matt :)
Molly IP:129.78.32.xxx | 2011-05-27 08:06:30
Many difficulties finding Halls Road on this trail, as Colin also noted. The dumpsite trails don't work. It seems you need to get inside the fence before the dumping place and find a road behind the big mound of earth on which a bulldozer is (sometimes) working. I spent nearly an hour searching, so it would be worth updating the notes on how to end this walk. The big RNP sign has been knocked down, so that doesn't help find the right exit point. Gorgeous walk, however, especially if you take in a detour there and back to Garie beach.
admin - re: Super Administrator | 2011-05-30 01:10:24
Molly wrote:
Many difficulties finding Halls Road on this trail......

Thanks for the feedback
I have made a small tweak to the notes that hopefully make it easier, but it does sound like things have changed a fair bit in the 3 years.
I have got plans to re-walk this, any many other tracks in the Royal NP this winter. So hopefully in the next few months I will get in there and fix this one up.
Thanks again.
Matt :)
Molly - That helps! IP:129.78.32.xxx | 2011-06-04 08:54:30
Much better. Before, the notes said 'head east' (along the fence but away from Halls Rd as you find out later). Now, the instruction 'turn right' stops that problem and takes you straight out to the only real exit. The RNP sign you mention is lying down on the ground (rotten posts) and is partly covered by leaves and scrub.
Adrian Hill IP:60.240.37.xxx | 2013-11-23 23:27:45
This is an awesome walk - such a beautiful range of terrains and sights.

The notes still need some work, IMO though:

At Otford Station, the stairs are the ones at the South end of the South-bound platform.

Maybe I missed them, but on the Squeeze Way, I didn't see any signs for Garawarra Farm, or 'Burg Track' on this section.

After crossing Hacking River, the notes quite confused me. I followed a track beside the river for a short while, before veering left and uphill, up some steps. The track then becomes indistinct - there is a fallen tree, you need to bear right just before the fallen tree and you will see the sign for Helensburgh. I then followed a track which looks like a creek bed (the sign pointed this way), before meeting the Management trail and turning sharp right, as per the notes.

Anyway, thanks for this walk suggestion, this site is excellent.
Tejas - OK walk IP:110.20.186.xxx | 2014-03-07 05:45:44
It is an OK walk. Blue Mnts more for my style. The end after the tip is a bit of a downer scenery wise, remains of a burnt out car. But all in all very good, as the intro says the highlight is after the farm.

Agree with Adrian re after the river. Just look on the right for the sign near the fallen tree and you will be fine.

Also watch out for leeches!
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