The walk to Drawing Room Rocks (in the Barren Grounds Nature Reserve) is relatively short – and offers a lot of reward for relatively little effort, with sweeping views over the mountains to the south and the ocean to the east. Of the shorter walks in the area, I’d argue Drawing Room Rocks is one of the best walks in the Shoalhaven area! Apparently the walk is not actively promoted due to “access and safety concerns”, although it’s the first in the “Best Walks of the Shoalhaven” book, and it’s conveniently located in walking distance of our accommodation on the outskirts of Berry.
While my hiking book (and a number of Web sites) state the walk is 4.5km return, part of this distance includes a section of unsealed road that is open to traffic. Parking is limited near the trackhead, but there was ample parking on the Easter weekend when I visited. From the start of the walking track, it’s only 1.4km to the Drawing Room Rocks plateau.
The well-worn track rises constantly but is never very steep, as the track goes from semi-rainforest to more open eucalypt forest. About half-way up there are a couple of indistinct tracks to the left and right, that provide the first views to the east and west.
As the track nears the top, it passes a section of thick banksia scrub, with exposed roots in the sandy soil. The last section of track goes through thick hakea and tea trees, before ending at Drawing Room Rocks.
The track abruptly ends at a wide rock platform, from which there are sweeping views east to the ocean and west towards Kangaroo Valley. Directly ahead (below) is Broughton Head, a long, cliff-lined sandstone mesa that’s part of the Rodway Nature Reserve.
A short distance away at the edge of the rock platform are the features that give Drawing Room Rocks their name – the result of weathering that give the rocks an appearance of flat table tops and chairs. The softer Hawkesbury sandstone has been eroded by wind and rain, while the broad tops which consist of a harder and more resistant mineral layer have remained.
When I arrive, about an hour before sunset, I’ve got the rock platform almost to myself There’s just Richard and Amy, also keen photographers, who share the view with me as the sun begins to set.
Shortly before dark, a small throng of people arrive: Drawing Room Rocks is clearly a popular spot for locals. There’s wine, beers and more cheese than the local deli laid out on the rocks, as people settle in to watch the sun set. And it’s hard to think of a better spot to be!
I head back just after sunset – I’ve got a torch but the track is uneven. And dinner is waiting… It’s a quick 20min walk back down to the car and an even quicker drive back to my accommodation for the weekend at Drawing Rooms of Berry.
Getting to Drawing Room Rocks
Take Brogers Creek Road (7km north of Berry) and then after 100m turn right into an unsealed road. The trackhead is signposted at the end of this road, next to a gate that leads to a private residence. There is parking just before the track.
Accommodation near Drawing Room Rocks
Drawing Room Rocks is a short drive from Berry which has lots of accommodation, from guesthouses to cottages. We stayed at the Drawing Rooms of Berry, one of the three self-contained cottages.
More information on Drawing Room Rocks
- Gillian & John Souter, “Best Walks of the Shoalhaven” (p.12)