A beautiful surf beach in the Royal National Park, Burning Palms Beach can only be reached by foot – so while it can get pretty busy, it won’t be crowded. The beach is home to about 20 heritage listed cabins or shacks on the northern slope, and has a surf lifesaving club that was founded in 1939. The beach is generally patrolled every Sunday and public holidays from the last weekend in September to the end of April each year.
The beach is 500m long and faces south; it gets waves that average about 1.5m in height and is good for surfing – but be aware of multiple strong tips that can make swimming hazardous.
One of the reasons for Burning Palms becoming increasingly popular is that it’s near the Figure 8 Pool. The tidal swimming hole and social media attraction is accessed by following the coastline (at low tide) from the beach.
Getting to Burning Palms Beach
There are a few bushwalking trails that get you to Burning Palms Beach:
- The shortest route is via the Burgh Ridge Track, which descends steeply from the Garrawarra Farm car park. It’s a very high quality track that gets a fair bit of traffic. (3.8km return). This is also the most popular route to the Figure 8 Pool.
- A longer but more shaded route starts near the Otford Lookout on Lady Wakehurst Drive, and descends through the Palm Jungle to the beach. This is the best option if you’re using public transport, with the trailhead about one kilometre from Otford Station. (10.5km return or 12km loop).
- If you’re doing the Royal National Park Coast Track between Otford and Bundeena, you’ll pass Burning Palms Beach; it makes a nice spot for a swim or a break. (30km one-way approx).