Costens Point was about the longest bushwalk I could manage, on a blisteringly hot weekend. Since I have to travel to Stanwell Tops to pick up my son from a school music camp, I figure I should take the opportunity to do at least one bushwalk in the south of Sydney. After finding a few trig stations in the Royal National Park, I park near the top of the Costens Point Firetrail, just before Maianbar. After exploring a sidetrail (which I later discover goes another 4km to Winifred Falls, and onto the Ironbark Flat Picnic Area), I continue down the Costens Point Firetrail. Starting as a wide and grassy service trail, it soon gets a bit shadier as it descends into a more forested area.
The firetrail end at Costens Point, where an informal, grassy campground (a nice spot, but no fresh water) has a nice view over the Hacking River.
Costens Point was named after William Costen, an early settler, who arrived in Sydney in 1844. After he was granted 25 acres of land at Red Jacks Point (the next significant headland to the east) in 1858, he sold this in 1869, and a year was granted a further 40 acres at Costens Point (the 1882 parish map, below, has the name misspelt as “Costins Point”). Costen lived here until 1882, when he sold the land. The land was further subdivided, before being incorporated into the Royal National Park in the 1970s.
It’s an easy scramble down to the rocky coastline at the end of Costens Point, where there is an old concrete ramp and an oyster-encrusted pilings and low sea walls.
I had thought, from the air-conditioned comfort of my lounge room the previous evening, that I might be able to follow the coast around to Red Jacks Point. From here I could return via Red Jacks Firetrail. Although it’s low tide and it does seem feasible, the temperature is about 40 degrees, and there’s no shade along the water. I decide I’ll come back and explore this option on a cooler day.
I haven’t seen anyone so far, but as I head back up the hill I encouter a couple of hikers going in the opposite direction. They are clearly less soft than me, and were attempting the loop around to Red Jacks Point. Hopefully they made it… and if you happen to stumble across my blog, let me know if it’s possible!
I’m glad to reach the car again, with enough time to hopefully find a secluded swimming hole at South West Arm Creek, which I noticed when driving past the carpark earlier in the day.
More information on Costens Point
- Newsletter National Parks Association of NSW – Summer 2020
- Sutherland Shire Origin of Place Names A-K
Molly · February 5, 2021 at 1:11 am
Excellent post and pics. I met a woman bushrunner who claimed she could get all the way from Costens to Yenabilli Point at very low tide. But this involved some clambering on oyster encrusted rocks in at least two places (I have forgotten where). It sounded fairly slow and laborious so I didn’t bother. The little side track you saw runs all the way from the Winifred Falls track to Maianbar (or at least the bus stop above it). You then cross the road and find the track on the other side (behind the bus shelter) that descends to Cabbage Tree Basin (and on to Bonnievale should you wish it). The bush is really beautiful after Costens firetrail toward Maianbar. Hope you got a good swim. I’ve often tried to find a track from Bundeena Road (near the trig) down to Cabbage Tree basin, but that heathy scrub is impenetrable for kilometres (having walked about 5kms on the road searching). The only path in led to an abandoned campsite.
oliverd :-) · February 5, 2021 at 9:22 am
Thanks Molly… Costens Point to Yenabilli Point looks feasible, but you’d want to allow plenty of time and not get caught out by the tides! Will have to come back for this – and the Winifred Falls track. Lot of Royal NP bushwalks I’ve yet to do! As you noted, the scrub is impenetrable – I thought it would be much easier-going as there ahd been bushfires over the last few years ago. But maybe the last big fire which went through Royal NP was quite a few years ago.