Figure 8 Pools, Royal National Park – Sydney
You’ve probably seen the pictures of the famous Figure 8 Pools and wondered where they are? The pools are a spectacular natural wonder which you have to see for yourself, or even jump into those crystal clear pools and enjoy the full experience.
If there is only one thing you take away from this post, it is that you can’t just turn up at any time of the day… I’ll explain why a bit later.
Where are the Figure 8 Pools?
The figure 8 pools are located on a rocky ledge, a short walk south of Burning Palms Beach in the Royal National Park which is about an hour drive south of Sydney.
Best time of day visit the Figure 8 Pools
This is probably the most important piece of information to take away from this post. You can only visit the Figure 8 Pools on low tide. The tide really should be less than 1m which is around an hour or two either side of low tide. If you decide to head there, and it isn’t low tide then the entire rock ledge will be underwater so you won’t actually see the pools.
You should always check the weather and surf conditions before going (you don’t want a large well, otherwise this will happen!). Always worth checking the low tide times, and making sure you leave enough time to get there before the tide starts rising!)
Where is the closest car park?
The closest car park to the Figure 8 Pools is at Garawarra Farm, off Garie Road. To get there, type in Garawarra Farm car park into your google maps. The car park and pools are located in the Royal National Park.
You can’t take public transport to the pools so you will need to jump in a car. First thing is getting to the Royal National Park. One piece of advice is to put your google maps on before entering the National Park because you will lose phone reception and the last thing you want is to not know where you’re going!
Entry to the National Park costs $12 (click here for current prices) and you buy your ticket at the ticket booth and you must display your ticket on your dash to avoid fine.
Garawarra Farm Road is an unsealed dirt road with heaps of potholes. You don’t need a 4WD to get there, but just take it slow so you don’t damage the underside of your car. When you get to the end, the car park is on your right and the walking track down to the left.
How to get from Garawarra Farm to the Figure 8 Pools
The walk is a 3.5km walk that winds down around 100m to the ocean. The walk will take around 1 hour to get there which includes climbing over the rocks at the end.
When you get to the start of the track, on the left there is a sign saying “Coast Walk” – just follow that track east all the way down to the bottom.
The walk down is quite rocky so you need to make sure you wear proper shoes – no thongs (aka flip flops) should be worn for your own safety!
You will end up overlooking the beautiful Burning Palms Beach. When you’re looking out over the beach, the pools are located at the second headland.
Keep following the track and you’ll get to a spot on the track that has some little huts on the right and a path to the left (there is also a sign that says no toilets!!). Head left down the path and that will take you down to the beach. We, on the other hand because there was no one around, kept walking for another 2km before we realised we had gone too far and had to turn back!!
When you get to the end of the beach, you need to start walking over the rocks of the first headland and on to the second which is where the pools are.
It is definitely worth the scramble over the rocks to see this….
It is important to enjoy your time at the pools, have a swim (if it isn’t too cold!) and relax a little because it is one steep walk back up to the car park!!
There are other pools you can swim in as well, they are really cool and look man-made.. but they aren’t! They are sort of like little plunge pools or spas!
Why not have a pit-stop on the way back up to the car at Burning Palms Beach? If the weather is warm, you can head in for a swim in the surf, otherwise, you can like us, chill on the beach and relax a bit before the hike back up to the car!
We have an awesome waterproof picnic blanket from Zero Grid which folds away to absolutely nothing which makes it super easy to take with you. It is lightweight and practical and I can definitely recommend you get yourself one for your holidays or day trips. Click here for information on Zero Grid and what our favourite items are! Another personal favourite of mine is the microfiber towels – also fantastic to take away on holidays when you only have carry on luggage or if you don’t want to carry a massive beach towel to the beach!
Here is a quick video of our trip to the Figure 8 Pools.
Sydney Secret Beaches
If you’re looking for our best secret beaches of Sydney, click here! But shh, don’t tell anyone – they are secret!!
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“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg
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“You can’t take public transport to the pools so you will need to jump in a car”.
Not true. Many people walk from Otford Railway Station which is 5.7km to the south end of Burning Palms Beach (which is the closest end to Figure 8 Pool).
This walk is no more difficult than walking down from Garawarra Farm car park, just longer by about 3.7km (each way). It’s well signposted too.
And no $12 car park fee, either! The downside is that there is only a measly 2 hourly train service to and from Otford on weekends. (I very much advise against trying to walk from Helensburgh as it’s easy to get lost going that way – poorly or no signposts).
Hi Bruce – thanks for the information! It is good to know you can take public transport if you really needed to. We personally love the drive through the national park and the walk from the carpark as well. But if you don’t have a car, then there are other options as well. Thanks for sharing!!