Royal National Park was Australia’s first national park. Garie Beach is one of my favourite locations here. About an hour’s drive, it’s popular for surfing and is patrolled by surf lifesavers in summer. There are hikes that start at either end of the beach and continue along the coast. Facilities are available at the carpark. Towards the south is a ‘Little Garie Beach’ that is the home to some cabin communities, which were used through the 20th century as weekend getaways (you can just make them out in the photo below). The steep headlands and cliffs at Garie Beach make it a great hiking and landscape photography location.

I visited on an overcast day when the beach was just about empty. The mood was grey and the wind howled, but all this made it more beautiful. I love the sense of isolation you get on a day like this. It really makes you appreciate the nature in its sombre beauty.

Many people come surfing at Garie Beach. It’s rated as one of the best beaches with swells in most conditions. At the northern end of the beach I found a fenced off area – most likely for dune regeneration purposes.


The peaceful landscape here is actually full of life. I found crested terns and gulls in a big flock. It didn’t take them long to fly away from me though! Birds of prey are commonly found here too, floating above the headlands. The natural colours of this beach are extremely beautiful.

I found this cliff lookout after hiking towards the north. I can tell you that it was as scary as it looks in the photo. If the wind suddenly blew in the other direction I would have flown off.

Here are some photos of the cabins

Plan Your Trip

Garie Beach and the hikes around it are interesting enough to spend an entire day exploring, but I would recommend spending half the day here and the rest at other locations in Royal National Park. Park entry is about $12. Wattamolla, Wedding Cake Rock (I don’t see the big fuss about it), Bundeena, Curracurrong Falls and the Figure Eight Rock Pools are other popular locations to check out. But if you’re heading south definitely include Garie Beach in your itinerary.