Cliff Giants of The Northern Illawarra (NSW)

Highlights:

  • An oasis of wilderness in-between Sydney and Wollongong.
  • Cliffs rising almost directly out of the ocean.
  • Excellent for photography and viewing Wollongong especially at night.
  • Easy to find yet you’ll be lucky to see another person.

A short stroll along Garie Beach to the north head, you walk around the corner and as you’re eyes follow the spectacular shore line resembling something you might expect to find on the Irish coastline, rock faces tower out of the Tasman Sea, some 100m plus. The landscape is just as breathtaking as the fact that you can find places like this just around the corner from Australia’s capital city, you just need to have a look around. The view from the north head of Garie Beach is amazing, but if you want to get to the best bit you need to go a little further. Around 500m along the shoreline after some decent rock hopping you reach the most amazing section of shore line (in my opinion). Surrounded by vertical rock walls on one side and vast oceans on the other, you can’t help but feel tiny in a landscape so much larger than yourself, a feeling that many explorers wish to seek.

The place is incredible at all times but the ideal time for visiting is either sunset or sunrise, sunrise being the best as the early morning sun lights up the cliff faces and makes the atmosphere incredible with sea spray filling the air.

After exploring underneath the cliffs in the early hours of the morning, I would definitely recommend following the Coastal Track to the top of the cliffs and having a look around. Take great care because there is a reason the track doesn’t run right next to the cliff (very very dangerous) and if you want to get close to the edge and the views of Wollongong you’ll need to go slightly off track (only about 20m or so, it’s not hard to find as it looks as if many people do this).

Essential Gear:

  • A sturdy pair of shoes for walking along the rocks (don’t make the same mistake as me the second time I went, it’s very painful)
  • Camera is highly recommended
  • Water

I would also suggest not walking directly underneath the cliff because it’s quite unstable by the looks of it and don’t go whilst there is a large amount of swell as you could be swept off the rocks.

How to get there:

Drive to Garie Beach carpark and walk along the beach until you reach the north head. Walk out along the rocks and you’ll see the cliff line, it’s just a matter of navigating a route through the boulders from there.

Activities:

  • Rock hopping – be cautious as many rocks are unstable
  • Photography
  • Swimming

Skill Level:

Intermediate – Advanced (Exploring underneath the cliffs) and Beginner (Following the Coastal Track to the top of the Cliffs

Distance covered / elevation gain:

1- 2km (depending on how far you walk along the rocks) and roughly 1km (round trip following the coastal track to the top of the cliffs)/ Approximately 100m