5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Coast Track is a must do hike for anyone in the Sydney area and is a crown jewel of majestic Australian hikes. You can start from both ends but beginning from Otford and finishing at Bundeena is genuinely inspirational, as this affords you the opportunity to finish your hike with a ferry to Cronulla and sensational views.
Along the way, you'll experience everything the Australian Coast has to offer: unimpeded views of the ocean, which on a clear day and in the right season means that you may be able to witness whales as they migrate.
On top of this, the landscape will leave you breathless as you move from staggering coastlines, that drop twenty to forty meters, to lush rainforest where even during the hot days of summer the sun will struggle to shine from the canopy.
There is a multitude of highlights along the way, but some of my favorites include eagle rock, which from the correct vantage point changes a rocky landscape to the majestic profile of an eagle.
The beaches that you will encounter along the way are nothing except the best Australia has to offer with Marley Beach, Garie Beach, and North Era being some of the standouts that you will witness.
This great hike does not come without its challenges and in the wrong season at the wrong time you'll find yourself in a few precarious situations.
You'll either be left out in the open as an end of day electrical storm envelopes you, feeling a sense of vertigo as the walkout from Garie is not for the faint-hearted, or reeling from dehydration because fresh drinkable water is tricky to come by.
In saying all this, though, the hike is a masterclass in track preparatiom, maintenance, and design.
With clear to read and understand signposts at every junction as well as carefully-built steps for the steeper sections, the creators of the track have done their best to ensure that you worry about the view rather than your next step.
The Coast Track is a hike for all ages and abilities; as long as you come prepared and respect the terrain, you'll thoroughly enjoy the challenge.
Honestly, my words don't do this fantastic hike justice.
Stop what you're doing, prepare yourself, and get out there on the Coast Track.