Walk 26:- Otford to Waterfall At A Glance
Route Summary:-This is an excellent medium length walk that follows the Coast Track through Palm Jungle to Burning Palms then up the escarpment on the Burgh Track through Garawarra Farm to Bola Heights along the fire trail and off track to Sir Bertram Stevens Drive, then along this to the Forest Island Track, across the Hacking River, then along the Couranga and Uloola Falls Tracks to Waterfall;
Highlights:- traverses a great diversity of terrain and ecology; Palm Jungle; Burning Palms; Hacking River and Valley.
Negatives :- Trains to Otford only every two hours; about 800 meters along busy Sir Bertram Stevens Drive or continue along rough ridge off track to Forest Island
Length:- 16.9 km.
Grade:- Medium to Hard
Weather:_All weather except when Hacking River is in flood and crossing dangerous
Continuous walking time with a few 3-4 min. stops:- 5 hours
Train Time from Central to Start :-. 1 hr 1 min.; trains every 2 hours
Train Time from finish to Central:-. 1 hr 0 mins; every 30 minutes
Total Climb :- 525 meters
Total Descent :- 470 meters
Water:- Otford and Waterfall Station
Toilets:- Waterfall Station
Café/Kiosk :- Single shop at Waterfall
Published 1:25,000 Map :- Otford and Appin
Walk 26 Track Notes:- Otford to Waterfall
Via Burning Palms and Garawarra Farm
Friday 18th May 2012; updated 2nd March 2016
Km./Hrs.min. Kilometers in bold are shown on map
0.00/0.00 Otford Station
0.2/0.02 Walk to the southern end of the platform and take the stairs and path through an open gate in a chain wire fence; at the gate, do not take the right hand path but walk uphill on a steep bitumen track for approx. 50 meters to a sign posted fire trail; turn left and follow the Station Road Fire Trail
0.30/ 0.08 Trail branch on left down hill, do not take but continue on Fanshaw Road Fire Trail as it continues uphill, curving gently to the right.
0.63/0.12 After passing a few houses on the left you reach a T intersection with Lady Wakehurst Drive; cross this and turn left and follow Lady Wakehurst Drive for approx. 100 metres uphill to the start of the Coast Walk
0.75/0.13 Start of Coast Walk, signaged:- Bundeena 26 km; Wattamolla 14.6 km; Garie 8 km; take the steps up; after approx. 150 meters you pass a number of fenced spectacular view points
1.04/0.18 Track split with signage– right hand side goes to Werong Beach, follow Coast Walk straight on;
1.75/0.31 Track merges with turning circle for Garawarra Farm fire trail; track to this point is very clear except two short sections uphill where steps are washed out; now follow this wide fire trail along the ridge line; note the numerous stands of Gymea Lillies and Banksias
2.55/0.42 Signaged track junction:- Garie 6.5 km; North Era 5 km; turn right onto Coast Walk, leaving the fire trail on good clear track
3.03/0.49 Unfenced view points on right
3.24/0.53 Track turns left at arrowed post, but a faint track goes downhill to the right, possibly to Werong Beach.
4.04/1.08 Start of grassed area on good reconstructed track
4.31/1.13 Back in stunted, wind hardened scrub with tops roughly parallel to slope of terrain
4.38/1.14 Start of Palm Jungle, one of the highlights of this walk; track can be somewhat obscured by palm fronds and by clearings that look like track continuations
4.59/1.17 end of Palm Jungle
4.66/1.18 Leaving rainforest, start of extensive grassed slopes with new duckboard
5.50/1.32 Cleared area and access down to southern end of Burning Palms beach; Coast Walk track continues on contour, not along beach
6.01/1.40 Burning Palms Club House- follow sign posted track to the top of the ridge.
6.34/1.48 At the top of the ridge there is signage indicating ‘North Era’ heading north and ‘Garawarra Farm’ following the ridge uphill- take this track, again along a grassy slope where the main track is much eroded but a newer better track is located a few meters to the right.
6.49/1.52 Another sign indicating Coast Track heading north down hill- ignore this but head west towards the escarpment, initially gently down hill along a saddle, then up hill.
6.74/1.57 Outcrop of interesting polished red siltstone on track, is probably lateritic but has the appearance of jasper.
7.21/2.07 Good view point left of track
7.26/2.08 Track split to the left- ignore this- stay on main track
7.54/2.13 Garawarra Farm fire trail intersected- this terminates here at Garawarra farm; locked gate on right with signage and car park ahead; walk approx half way along car park and look for signage on the right hand side on the edge of forest.
7.60/2.14 Signage :-‘Burgh Track- Lady Wakehurst Drive 2 km, Helensburgh Station 6.4 km’; follow this track, a little obscure at creek crossing on stepping stones but always within a few meters of fence on the left;
7.87/2.18 Four-way track junction- leave the Burgh Track continuing straight ahead and turn right to follow the Bola Heights fire trail. At this point we meet the Helensburgh to Waterfall Walk and track notes for both walks from here to Waterfall are the same. Vegetation along Bola Heights fire trail – several varieties of Banksia up to 6 meters high, stunted smooth white- barked eucalypts up to 10 meters high and many stands of Gymea Lilly
8.57/2.26 Ignore fire trail that splits off to the right;
9.35/2.34 Ignore fire trail that splits off to the left
10.37/2.38 End of Bola Heights fire trail, start of off-track section; as you approach the end turning circle look for a faint track at 1 direction o’clock and possibly still some orange bunting tape; follow a faint track, possibly marked by more orange tape- always stay on the ridge with terrain falling away to right and left.
10.51/2.42 At this point orange tape, if still in place, veers off to the left downhill- do not follow but continue along the top of the ridge sporadically along a faint track
10.83/2.59 Sandstone outcrop defines the sharp ridge line with stands of Gymea Lilies; beautiful spot for a pause. Then follow ridge downhill to a saddle the low point of which is level with and next to the Sir Bertram Stevens Drive about 20 meters on the right;
Note:- An easy but not truly a bushwalking option is to exit here and walk about 800 meters downhill along Sir Bertram Stevens Drive to the next major track junction at The Forest Path and Lady Carrington Drive; take special care with traffic when walking along Sir Bertram Stevens Drive, especially on weekends, when more traffic
11.00/3.03 Low point in saddle; continue off track following the middle of the ridge as it climbs gently to a peak with prolific sandstone outcrop; follow the route clearly flagged with red bunting; it will take you over the peak and down to the left of an old quarry face to emerge just opposite Lady Carrington Drive and the Forest Path; cross Sir Bertram Stevens Drive at right angles to the Forest path.
11.71/3.22 Locked gate marks the end of Lady Carrington Drive fire trail to Audley; do not take this but go about 10 meters left to signage :- ‘Forest Path- Couranga Track 0.8 km’; Follow this portion of the Forest Path
12.59/3.35 At this track junction note signage; take the track that leaves The Forest Path on left and heads downhill towards the Hacking River.
12.92/3.41 Stone crossing of the Hacking River; do not linger here but cross as quickly as possible and proceed about 25 meters up the bank to a T intersection with the Couranga Track; check here for leeches, especially in summer after rain- the
Hacking River is notorious for leeches; turn right and follow the Couranga Track
Note:- If stones at crossing are under water, take off boots and cross on gravel, veering slightly upstream to a rock platform and constructed steps; the rocks at crossing are very slippery when wet
13.05/3.46 Beautiful gentle valley slope with tall timbers and open bracken undergrowth leading down to the fast flowing Hacking River.
15.90/4.33 T junction of Couranga Track with Uloola Fire Trail with signage.
16.40/4.45 Grassy clearing with cricket pitch; cross this on the right side, going past some heaps of bush sand to an arrowed post on other side and resumption of track
16.65/4.49 Faint track on right hand side leads to Kangaroo Creek
16.90/4.53 Waterfall Station – end of walk
Route Quality Index
On public vehicular roads:- 0.17 km/ 1%
On locked service/fire trail:- 4.56km/ 27%
On walking track:- 12.17km/ 72%
RQI= 72+ 14+0= 86
Sir Bertram Stevens option
On public vehicular roads:- 0.95km/ 5%
On locked service/fire trails:- 4.56km/ 27%
On walking track:- 11.39 km/ 68%
RQI= 68+13+0= 81
Note:- The 2.5 km section of the walk along the Bola Heights Fire Trail is counted as such, but this is actually more like a wide grassy walking track not used by a vehicle for a long time