Deep in the coastal bushlands above Stanwell Park, a hidden jewel can be found. Mt Mitchell could be the best kept secret of the Northern Illawarra.
- A beautifully hidden trail, incredibly close to Sydney
- Immense lookout from the clifftops
- ‘Hole in the Rock’
Hiking Near Stanwell Park
Maybe you’re looking to escape the daily grind. You’re searching for a quick escape from reality, but have a bucket load of responsibilities, commitments and not much time. You’re dreaming of an adventure that’s easy to get to, doesn’t take too long, but gets the adrenaline going with fresh mountain air to fill those lungs, and picturesque views to entice those eyes. A sneaky, easy access day of hiking near Stanwell Park awaits…
Stanwell Park is located north of Wollongong, NSW and south of Sydney’s Royal National Park. It’s nestled in bushland with a quaint coastal village feel. Here you can find Mt Mitchell which, surprisingly, is only a 4km return hike.
Don’t be fooled by the short distance though! It’s a medium to hard walk with about one hour of steep ascent. There are plenty of rocks (and opportunity to slip on your backside) along the way. The walk traverses up the cliff edge with fairly narrow and overgrown paths. There is no fencing, so care should be taken. Leave the kids at home for this one!
You’ll find there is no signage to guide you up to Mt Mitchell, with none of the sign posts making any mention of it. Start at the Wodi Wodi track head on Lawrence Hargrave Drive to begin your day of hiking near Stanwell Park.
We’ve heard that parts of the Wodi Wodi track have washed away and that without signage the track has become very difficult to follow. We recommend trying another short walk in the Illawarra if you don’t have much wild navigation experience.
You’ll see a sign ‘Wodi Wodi Track’ with an old wooden stairwell. Take this track to start with. About 20 minutes into the walk, you’ll come across another signpost where the path splits off into two directions. One is the ‘Forest Walk’ and one is the ‘Wodi Wodi Track’ (again no mention of Mt Mitchell). Take the Forest Walk path.
From here the path will take you through tall gum trees, with plenty of birds and lizards about. Much of the path has rocks and boulders to navigate, as well as the 250 metre ascent involving steep steps cut out into the mountain (apparently to make it easier, but it’s questionable).
Once you reach the top, you’ll see a rock platform and what I call a ‘hole in the rock’. A careful walk around this, and you’ll be right on the cliff edge with amazing views to the north, south and east. You’ll see the popular Stanwell Park beach, home to hang gliders, the Coal Cliff railway track and bridge surrounded in majestic bushland. This is a great opportunity for photos before making your way back down.
- Food & water
- Sun protection
How To Get There
The easiest access point is at the entrance to Wodi Wodi track head on Lawrence Hargrave Drive in Stanwell Park. This is about 1km south of Stanwell Park shopping precinct. Parking is roadside only, with limited space, so if you don’t find a spot, you’ll need to park at the shopping precinct and walk about 1km along the road to get to the start. Be super careful, as this road is unforgiving, and very busy.
- Bird watching
Suitable for competent & intermediate walkers with at least average fitness. It’s a medium-hard walk with a 250m elevation, along cliff faces, with no fencing.
If you’re feeling the need to improve your hiking skills and gain the confidence for more difficult walks then why not join us on one of our Wilderness Escapes? You’ll probably find some new hiking mates too!
Distance / Elevation
Approximately 4km long with a 250m elevation gain.
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