Take one massive cave, mix it with one of Australia’s strangest train stations, throw in some light bush bashing, and what do you get? An epic microadventure that packs a whole lot of quirk into less than 24 hours – the overnight hike to Pindar Cave in Brisbane Water National Park is one of Sydney’s coolest weekends out.
- Sleeping in a cave
- Flagging down a train
- Jumping off a wharf
- Not being eaten by spiders
The Train To Wondabyne
Pindar Cave is a huge rock overhang located near Woy Woy, north of Sydney. It’s only accessible via foot and the start of the trail is only accessible via Wondabyne Station — the only train station in Australia that doesn’t have road access.
In fact, if you want the train to stop you’ve got to be in the last carriage, at the last door, and you’ve got to ask for it to stop at the station, else it’ll just fly on through.
With that part of the journey nailed, we spent the next 3 hours or so working our way through an overgrown trail, taking in some pretty epic views on the way across Brisbane Water National Park and the Hawkesbury River.
The trail isn’t signposted, so you’ll need to have some route finding skills — unless you fancy ending up like Tim (WAE’s very own editor) who regaled us with the time he got lost on the trail with his Scout group.
Luckily, we managed to find the cave without any detours — thanks in part to these handy GPX files.
In fact, we arrived with plenty of time to explore our home for the night, which turned out to be mighty impressive. Pindar Cave is the cave equivalent of finding a room in Sydney with a balcony and ensuite that’s actually within your budget. It’s pretty damn sweet.
But the question on everyone’s lips was, how exactly do you sleep in a cave? Well. However you want is the answer.
I’ve slept there twice now… once just on my roll mat with a sleeping bag and the next time, just with the inner of my tent.
I slept well both times, but reckon I’d choose tent over open air next time I go back. But then again, I’m British so I’m not quite as hardy as some of my Aussie mates. And I still think there are spiders and snakes in every crevice ready to kill me. [There are — Ed.]
After cooking up a feast around the campfire (always check if there is a fire ban first) we climbed up onto the top of the cave to check out the stars. For me it was the highlight of the trip thanks to the full moon we’d timed it with.
After a surprisingly good night’s sleep we woke up for a lazy breakfast before heading back the way we came, leaving plenty of time to jump off the train station’s wharf for a swim before flagging the train down to head back to Sydney.
If you’ve got more time, head over to Kariong Brook Falls or hike over to Patonga (total 23km) and get the Ferry to Palm beach where you can get a bus back to the city.
- Intermediate (pretty easy hike but you’ll need some navigation skills)
- Carry water for both days, at least 2L a day. There is a waterfall near camp but it’s been pretty dry on both of my visits
Distance / Elevation
12.3k return with 546m elevation gain. It’s steepest at the start as the trail climbs up from the train station.
Feature photo by Andy Lewis Photography
Explore near Sydney by train