Great Walks hikes the Murramarang South Coast Walk a new, 35km multi-day walking trail on the stunning NSW South Coast.
The north-south track starts at Pretty Beach and traverses the spectacular coastline of Murramarang NP, connecting the coastal villages of Depot Beach, Durras and Maloneys Beach. It’s been created using new and existing trails, some of which have been significantly refreshed with new signage, sandstone steps, and small sections of boardwalk.
Pretty Beach, as the name suggests, is very pretty and it’s the ideal starting point for the walk. There’s a NPWS office there for walkers to check in and ask any questions before heading off. The carpark holds plenty of vehicles and you’ll pass a café/bakery just before you drive into it so grab a coffee or a snack before you depart for the walk.
You’ll notice the new Murramarang South Coast Walk signage on wooden posts as you walk along the beach and they will be with you for the whole walk. However, make sure you download the National Parks’ Murramarang South Coast Walk app and map as that way you'll always know where you are on the walk.
From the beach the track follows the headland with a number of diversions down to coves, rocky platforms and beaches. We’re in no rush so we take our time exploring all the nooks and crannies on this part of the walk.
New sandstone steps guide us over the odd headland and NPWS has done a great job with getting the aesthetic right on this walk. Nothing new seems out of place with nature – steps and raised platforms are minimal and where they should be, and there’s no overkill on the new infrastructure.
"The track has been designed to weave through the environment," says Tom Pinzone, Senior Project Officer, NPWS South Coast Branch. "Providing sweeping ocean outlooks and inland sections where people can experience the incredible spotted gum and burrawang forests that Murramarang National Park is known for.
“Underfoot, the track has been built to appear and feel as natural as possible, keeping people engaged and present. The sandstone steps are a vital element of this - all the steps are rough cut with the blade marks left on the face. Equally important was the design of the steps, which have been carefully placed to feel natural and easy to walk on."
From Pebbly Beach it’s another 90 minutes on similar terrain to Depot Beach where our accommodation’s waiting. Cottages feature large bedrooms, comfy beds, a lounge and a full kitchen. You can also camp here if you prefer. We sit on the balcony after a gorgeous swim, eating dinner while watching kangaroos, wallabies and brightly colour birds playing about.
Day two involves the most beach walking so you may want to go bare foot or wear sandals here. There’s one tricky point early into day two and that’s crossing an inlet an near Durras Lake. At one point the water’s up to my waist and the sand’s very soft underfoot but we cross without too much fuss. If the water is too high you can phone a local boat operator to get you across the lake.
After a couple of cruisey hours we reach the lovely NRMA Murramarang Beachfront Holiday Resort at Beagle Bay, South Durras – and what a beach! Emerald waters lap up onto squeaky clean sand. After lunch, the walk to Oaky Beach winds along cliffs and ducks down to other small beaches, each different to the last.
Less than two hours after leaving the resort we reach Oakey Beach. The campsite is in a magic spot, nestled up above the dunes at the rear of the beach. The campsite has a drop toilet, covered eating area and a number of new tent platforms built by skilled Indigenous Yuin carpenters using local timber.
“Our whole philosophy for the project was to reduce our on-ground impacts, and although the site had been disturbed previously, we didn’t want to damage it any further or remove any of the regrowth vegetation. The sites were carefully planned to ensure trees did not need to be removed,” says Pinzone.
The scenery on the last day begins similar to the end of Day 2 but with a distinctly clifflike flavour as the trail winds its way toward Honeysuckle Beach. The trail follows the coast along the headland to Honeysuckle Beach and then on to North Head Campground where there are toilets. From there it’s a quick bush stroll to the end of the walk at Maloneys Beach. There’s time for a final swim before we’re collected and driven back to our car at Pretty Beach.
For all info on the Murramarang South Coast Walk click here.
Words and photos_Brent McKean