Who knew we had a grand rock archway in our backyard? This little beauty alongside her wildflowers and colourful sea cliffs are worth the wander, less than 1km walk from the car park in Diamond Head, Crowdy Bay National Park.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Birpai people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

This eye-catching Rock Arch is a part of a 4.3km Grade 3 loop located in Diamond Head, Crowdy Bay National Park, NSW. However the arch itself is a simple 850m walk from the Indian Head Campground, it takes 20 minutes to follow the steep, sandy trail from bush to beach.


View from the cliffs above the rock arch

About Diamond Head

Diamond Head is known for its iconic rock formations. Would you believe the history of the colourful, glistening rocks fooled Captain James Cook when he mistook the shining quartz for diamonds? Originally the charming area belonged to the Birpai People and the park continues to protect a number of Aboriginal sites.


Some of the unique rock formations

How To Get There

To get to Diamond Head it’s an easy 40 minute coastal drive south of Port Macquarie. The Diamond Head Loop Walk can be accessed both from the Diamond Head Campground and the Indian Head Campground. Choose your fancy. If you’re just up for a quick look at the Rock Arch, your best bet is to park at the Indian Head car park and follow the forest walk to the right, this will take you out to the ocean views and sea-smashing archway.

From the Diamond Head Campground there’s also a stunning hallway of cliffs you can explore at the southern end of Diamond Beach. This area seemed to be quite untouched as I found large unbroken sea shells hiding amongst the boulders. Diamond Head Campground is also a great starting point to follow the track through grasslands up to Mermaid lookout’s scenic ocean views.

Walking Routes in Diamond Head National Park

Diamond Head Loop (to the Rock Arch)

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.3km loop
Elevation gain: 158m
Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Beach to forest or forest to beach? Sounds good! The Diamond Head Loop walk is a 4.3km, Grade 3 well-established track that will both impress you with scenic headland views and refresh you in the cool of the rainforest. It’s supposedly 1hr 30min – 2hrs 30min return, I’d also add some time to pay the wildflowers some attention. You’ll find these beauties spotted over the hillside and in amongst the forest.


The path that takes you from the rainforest to the sea


For the main attraction, follow the steep rocky pathway down the hill to take in the natural beauty of Diamond Head’s Rock Arch. As you make your way closer to the archway you’ll find some earthy red cliffs framing the scene either side of you. If you have the curiosity to walk out onto the rocky platform adjacent to the Arch you’ll be blown away by the colours and swirling  patterns of the rocks underneath your feet.

A good level of fitness and bushwalking experience is required for this track and it’s unfortunately not suitable for wheelchair access.


Diamond Head Rock Arch, photo by Ris Shelton

The famous Diamond Head Rock Arch

Diamond Head Beach Cliffs

Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Distance: 250m one way
Elevation gain: 0m
Duration: 5 minutes 

These cool hallway cliffs were not on the map! If you park at Diamond Head Campground and walk south, (or to your right facing the ocean), the gap in the cliffs to the neighbouring beach will definitely grab your attention. Walk down the beach and check it out.


The optical illusion of the hallway


When you get closer you’ll realise that the hallway is actually an illusion and what looked like two cliffs are actually three cliff stacks. Super cool. This was also the area I found large unbroken seashells, similar to ones you’d spend money to buy in a store.

Mermaid Lookout

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.4 km return
Elevation gain: 47m
Duration: 30 minutes

I found the hike even more beautiful than the view. You’re looking at a Grade 2, track that’s well established and a bit over a kilometre. To begin, cross the footbridge over the creek and wander up to the lookout.


The cliffside path is littered with wildflowers


The walk itself is quite relaxing and easy with a slight gradient but there’s next to no shade along the way so keep that in mind for deciding when to go or what to bring / wear. Wandering amongst wildflowers and open grasslands with Dunbogan Beach and North Brother Mountain as their backdrop is an incredibly peaceful experience.


Views from the cliffs


Once you reach Mermaid Lookout you’ll find some cool little coves and a large rocky ramp you can imagine some mermaids relaxing on. Even with the campground semi full with campers I still had this view all to myself. Definitely a great quiet hike to check out. 

Some steps make this track inaccessible by wheelchair but it doesn’t require any bushwalking experience.

Essential Gear for Exploring Diamond Head

Places to Stay in Diamond Head

Diamond Head Campground, Indian Head Campground and Kylies Beach Campground are the best places to stay in terms of closest access to tracks in Diamond Head. Diamond Head and Kylies Beach are ideal if you love close beach access for an early morning swim.

You can book a site online at any of these campgrounds through the NSW National Parks website. It’s a great option for a budget getaway. You might not get fluffy inflatable pillows to jump on but you will get cute fluffy roos to enjoy.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Things to do in Diamond Head

  • Hit Diamond Head Beach for some 4WD action
  • Hike the Diamond Head Loop / Mermaid Lookout / Rock Arch
  • Watch paragliders soaring over Kylies Beach
  • Visit Kylies Historic Hut
  • Camp and chill out!

Diamond Head FAQs

Can you drive to the top of Diamond Head?

No, you can’t actually drive right up to the top of Diamond Head but you can walk. You can take the Diamond Head loop, beginning at Diamond Head campground.

How long does it take to get to the top of Diamond Head?

It should take around 45 minutes to reach the top of Diamond Head.