Figure 8 Pool
Royal National Park, nr Sydney, NSW, Australia
Figure 8 Pool is a natural ocean rock pool that has been perfectly formed into the shape of an ‘8’. The pool is about 3 metres in length and 3 metres deep, so more of a floating hole than a swimming hole. Take your time exploring the pool as the surrounding algae is very slippery. There are also a number of other interestingly shaped rock pools surrounding Figure 8 Pool, such as the Thong Pool. The panoramic view of the coastline combined with the crashing of the ocean nearby makes this a spectacular spot.
How To Get There: There are three tracks to get to Figure Eight Pool.
1. Burgh Ridge Track (3km one way): From Sir Bertram Stevens Drive, turn into Garie Road, then right into Garrawarra Farm dirt road. Park your car at Garrawarra Farm and start the Burgh Ridge Track. After Burning Palms Lookout, turn right towards Burning Palms Beach. Head south on Burning Palms Beach. Keep heading south along the coast until you reach Figure Eight Pool.
2. RNP Coast Track from Otford (8km one way): Park your car at Otford Lookout and head north along the RNP Coast Track until you reach Burning Palms Beach. Head south on Burning Palms Beach. Keep heading south along the coast until you reach Figure 8 Pool.
3. RNP Coast Track from Garie Beach (4km one way). From Sir Bertram Stevens Drive, turn into Garie Road. Park your car at Garie Beach and head south along the RNP Coast Track. Head south on Burning Palms Beach. Keep heading south along the coast until you reach Figure 8 Pool.
The nearest train station is Otford Train Station. To reach the start of the Coast Track, walk up the hill from Otford Train Station (east side), then turn left at the end of the road. Follow Lady Wakehurst Drive/Grand Pacific Drive until you reach Otford Lookout. The coast track starts from there.
Difficulty of access: 6/10 – The track to the coast from Garrawarra Farm is fairly simple to follow. However, it is steep, muddy and very slippery after rain. Proper hiking footwear with good tread is essential. Once you reach the south end of Burning Palms Beach there are a number of large boulders that you must climb over in order to reach the pool. All three tracks are fairly steep and can be strenuous.
Opening Times/Seasons: It is very important that you research the tides and swell at nearby Burning Palms Beach before undertaking this walk. When the tides are high and the swell is large the track to the pool can be submerged by waves. Figure 8 Pool itself is also submerged by high wave action during these times. Many people in the past have been knocked over by waves surrounding Figure 8 Pool and many expensive helicopter rescues have been conducted. Walking to Figure 8 Pool is not recommended if the swell is larger than 1.7 metres and the tide is higher than 1.1 metres.
Entrance Fee: See here for the Royal National Park day entry fee for vehicles. This includes Garrawarra Farm and Garie Beach. Parking at Otford that is not within the national park is free.
Facilities Nearby: There are no toilets at Figure 8 Pool. In summer on weekends the toilets at Garie Beach Lifesaving Club, Era Surf Lifesaving Club and Burning Palms Lifesaving Club are open. Garie Beach SLSC also provides a kiosk when open. There are also portable toilets at Garrawarra Farm. When these clubs aren’t open the best places to go for supplies and toilets are Audley (takeaway food but no supplies or groceries), Wattamolla (toilets only) Bundeena, Waterfall and Helensburgh.
Other Activities: The Royal National Park is beautiful and a walker’s paradise. The Palm Loop Jungle Track is a good way to start as the 10km loop takes in rainforest, clifftops and beaches and the Figure 8 Pools can be accessed via a small detour from Burning Palms Beach.
Other Places of Interest Nearby: Burning Palms Beach, North and South Era Beach, Garie and Little Garie Beach, Werrong, Werrong Lookout, Burning Palms Lookout, Otford Lookout, Bulgo Beach, North Garie Head (Lookout)
Wildlife: Wallabies can be seen around dusk in the valleys of North and South Era and Burning Palms. Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots are also abundant in the area. At rare times of the year Black Cockatoos can be seen. Although rare, Lyrebirds can be seen from the Burgh Ridge Track.
Places to Eat: Garie Beach when the SLSC is open, Otford, Helensburgh, Bundeena, Waterfall, Lilyvale (functions only), Audley
Where to Camp: Where to Camp: North Era Campground is a walk-in beachside campsite in the Royal National Park, halfway along the 26km Coast Track. Bonnie Vale Campground (near Bundeena) is also in the park and is great for car and caravan camping.
Other places to Stay: Bundeena Beachhaven B&B, Bundeena BeachShack, Bundeena Beach B&B, Engadine Motor Inn, Lilyvale, Tumbling Waters Retreat (Stanwell Tops), Weemalah Cottage (Warumbul), Otford Cottage.
Nearby Towns: Bundeena, Maianbar, Sutherland, Loftus, Audley, Engadine, Heathcote, Waterfall, Helensburgh, Otford, Stanwell Park, Lilyvale
Hugest thanks to wild swimmer Cassie Irene for the info and photo for this swimming hole. Click here to see more of her photography.