Project update

December 2023

The Great Southern Walk is a new 67-km multi-day walking experience from Kamay Botany Bay National Park, through Royal National Park and into the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area, taking visitors through stunning coastal landscapes and places of national heritage significance.

We have been constructing new sections of walking tracks at several locations, which make up the Great Southern Walk from Kurnell to the Illawarra.

Kamay Botany Bay National Park

  • We completed several new sections of the Cape Baily Track in August 2023.
  • The feedback from walkers is positive, with many taking the opportunity to grab spectacular photos from the new viewing platform at Cape Solander and enjoying the section of track walking through the coastal heath.

Royal National Park


  • The main access track from the Wattamolla picnic area to Wattamolla lagoon and the beach will reopen before Christmas after being closed for several years.
  • The historic track, which runs under a large rock shelter, had been closed due to the risk of rockfall and close proximity to an Aboriginal midden.
  • We have supported the rock shelter with brick piers and upgraded the track, replacing slippery steel mesh with a stone pathway and a new track barrier to keep visitors safe.
  • In consultation with registered Aboriginal parties and with approval from Heritage NSW, we also carefully salvaged (excavated) an Aboriginal midden in the rock shelter which had been badly damaged by previous archaeological excavation in the 1970s and tree roots.

Wattamolla Beach access track: The improved track is nearly complete


  • In mid-2022, during Sydney's big rains, there was a significant land slip immediately below a section of the Royal Coast Track at Otford Lookout.
  • Following advice from geotechnical engineers we relocated the track away from the new but unstable cliff edge. Work commenced in October 2023, and the new track is now open, though we will continue working in this area until January 2024.
  • Construction of the new Great Southern Walk link from Otford to Bald Hill will commence in early 2024.
The 2022 Landslip below Otford Lookout
A completed section of the realigned track at Otford lookout


  • Garie Road remains closed following a major landslip in early 2022. Transport for NSW, which manages Garie Road, will be repairing the road. You can find an update on the road closure: Damage to roads in the Royal National Park.

Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area

Bald Hill

  • The Bald Hill walking track, linking Bald Hill to Stanwell Park, is now open to the public and has received positive feedback.

Walkers can now get from Bald Hill to Stanwell Park safely

Wodi Wodi and Forest tracks

  • Steady progress is being made, with 40% of the construction completed on the Great Southern Walk sections of the tracks.
  • Helicopter operations are planned during December to deliver stone and other materials to hard-to-reach track sections.
  • Weather permitting, work is expected to be complete by early 2024.

Forest Track with new steps nestled carefully into the hill

Maddens Plains

  • National Parks and Wildlife Service are working with architects to prepare a concept design for the proposed overnight precinct at Maddens Plains.
  • Experts in ecology and fire safety are providing valuable insights to ensure the design is environmentally responsible and safe.
  • To gather community feedback, the draft review of environmental factors will be put on public exhibition in early 2024.