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Discover Bundeena - The Jewel in the South

Home > Sydney > Beaches | Day Trips | Family | Picnic Spots | Weekend Escapes
by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the Fishing Monthly Group and Australian Fishing Network. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published February 15th 2015
Discover what Bundeena has on offer for you.

Discover Bundeena – The Jewel in the South is the next step in the six different suburbs that I am highlighting in the Sutherland Shire. Hopefully you would have read Discover Audley – In the Sutherland Shire and found it a place you may like to visit and explore one day. Making your own discoveries.
Aerial view of Bundeena. Photo courtsey of Ray White Bundeena.

Bundeena & Maianbar location map courtsey of the Bundeena Maianbar Chamber of Commerce.

Bundeena is a village on the outskirts of southern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia and is located 29 km south of the Sydney CBD. The village is surrounded by the Royal National Park and there are some great beaches at Bundeena. There are Jibbon, Gunyah, Horderns and Bonnie Vale Beaches. Cabbage Tree Creek and 'The Basin' separate Bundeena from the smaller village of Maianbar. A bush track and footbridge link the two villages. Bonnie Vale is also one of the few camp grounds within the Royal National Park.
This small bridge links Bundeena & Maianbar by foot.

The walk from Bundeena to Maianbar and return will take you about fifty minutes. That's if you don't stop along the way.

HISTORY

Bundeena is an Aboriginal word meaning "noise like thunder" and if you took the round trip walk to Jibbon Head you would get the chance to see aboriginal rock engravings made by Dharawal people.

In 1796, Bass and Flinders investigated the area and decided that it was not a suitable location for a settlement. In 1815 there were reports of criminals in the Cabbage Tree Creek region who were producing sly grog who used the caves along the foreshore for storage.

Bundeena's first authorised white settler, Owen Byrne, was granted land at the site in 1832. George Simpson received a land grant at the adjacent Bonnie Vale in 1863. Simpson's Hotel was opened in the area now known as Simpsons Bay by George's son, William, in the 1870s. The sandstone Simpson's House (1870s) is still standing at what is now Bonnie Vale Campground.

A wharf was built in 1890 and W.A. Hodgkinson conducted a launch service from Gunnamatta Bay in 1908. Captain R.R. Ryall commenced the Cronulla to Bundeena ferry service in 1915. The Wharf was reconstructed in 1920. The district's first store commenced operations at the beginning of the 1930s. Bundeena Public School opened on 14 September 1948.
The main street of Bundeena.

HOW TO GET THERE.

By Ferry: If you like you could park your car at the back of Cronulla Station in Gunnamatta Bay and catch a ferry across the Port Hacking River to Bundeena. Ferry trips will vary from 20 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the weather.
Catch a ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena 7 days a week.

By Car: Seen that Bundeena is out on the southern side of the Port Hacking River there is one road in and one road out from Sir Bertram Stevens Drive. It would take close to an hour to drive from the Sydney CBD or twenty five minutes from Sutherland in the north. Coming from the south at Stanwell Tops it would take you about forty minutes as you wind your way through Otford along Lady Wakehurst Drive. If you where coming in from Waterfall, it would take about five minutes less.
On the way in to Bundeena by car you could always stop and take in a bit of what the RNP has to offer.

Local Bus: Maianbar Bundeena Bus Service operates bus route 989 for local bus services between Bundeena and Maianbar on school days only. In addition there is one return trip every Wednesday to Engadine and one return trip every Friday to Miranda both via Maianbar.

WHAT TO DO

So once you have arrived at Bundeena, what is there to do? Maybe you would like to have a look at the shops and pick which one you would like to sit down and have a meal at, or you could get some take-away and go and sit down near the ferry wharf and look out for a few dolphins, sea turtles, large stingrays or maybe cast a line in.

Every first Sunday of the month the village of Bundeena & Maianbar holds The Art Trail. This is an open day at many of the Studio/galleries around the area. It's a day when you can talk with the artists, see work in progress, take in the studio atmosphere or make a purchase.

Artist's work includes paintings, drawing, ceramics, jewellery and mixed media. For more up to-date information on who is open on the first Sunday of the month, click here.

Or get a new map for each moth showing the ones that are open from either the Bundeena Wharf and shops, cafes and Service Station.

On the same Sunday of the month you can also check out the Bundeena Markets at Horderns Reserve. Click here for more information.

Have you ever wanted to try Stand up Paddle Boarding, learning how to paddle a kayak, hire a house boat, or just chilling out while exploring the waterways of the Port Hacking River why don't you visit the website of Bundeena Kayaks. They even have a regular shuttle bus service throughout the Royal National, giving you the opportunity to plan one way walking trips with ease! How good it that!
Bundeena Kayaks. Photo courtsey of Ray White Bundeena

For more information on what they have on offer, just click here.
Bundeena Kayak's operate seven days a week. Ring to place a booking.

One of these days I going to have a go at stand up paddle boarding.

You could go on the Bundeena-Maianbar Heritage Walk, which is a sign posted tour packed with interesting local facts. A detailed map of the walk is posted near the ferry wharf or available as a brochure from the local shops.
Check out the Hertigage walk while you are at Bundenna

PLACES TO STAY.

I have never stayed over at Bundeena, even though I only live about 30 minutes from there. So while visiting Bundeena just recently, I called into Ray White Bundeena to ask what type of holiday rental properties they managed. The staff were so accommodating that they quickly printed out a copy of four of the many places that they have on their books.

From absolute beach front to secluded bush settings, overnight accommodation in Bundeena and Maianbar is available in accredited B&Bs, holiday cottages and houses, home stays or at the Bonnie Vale camp grounds. You'll find something to suit all tastes and budgets.

Now, as I said earlier I have never stayed at Bundeena, but a couple of places they showed me did spark a bit of interest Horden's Hideaway which was right on the beach and Kookaburra House. I would like to thank Shellie Boswell from Ray White Bundeena for her help in supplying a couple of great photos and information on what else to do at Bundeena.
For more information on Ray White Holiday accomodation click here.

CAMPING

Maybe you don't want to stay in the house and you would prefer to go camping. Well look no further as you can stay at the Bonny Vale camping grounds that are run by the Royal national Park. A friend of mine Carl stays there at least once a year with his wife and two kids and they live at Miranda. He cannot speak highly enough of the time he and his family have spent there.

Bonnie Vale is a family-friendly campground located between Bundeena and Maianbar at the park's north end. This popular riverside campground is known for its large sand spit, which makes it a great swimming spot. Whether you choose to pitch a tent or bring your caravan, you're sure to have a comfortable stay at Bonnie Vale. The campground is equipped with flush toilets, hot showers and drinking water, so you won't need to rough it, although all sites are unpowered.
Follow the signs to Bonney Vale and you will go past a small picnic area with tables, seats and gas BBQ's

You will need to pre-book if you are going to stay here as it is extremely popular. For more information click here.

For the more adventurous you might like to have a look at what Bundeena Kayaks has on offer. They offer the North Era Hike n Camp Adventure where it a great way to experience the best the Royal National Park has to offer with the convenience of having all your hiking, camping gear and shuttles provided.
Imagine hiking into here?

You start the morning off at Bundeena where you will collect your pack, get prepped for the trip and then head off on the shuttle trip to your starting point at Garrawarra Farm. From here you will enjoy a self guided hike along the coast, taking in spectacular scenery along the way. As this is a self guided tour you will set up your camp at the beach side North Era camping ground and enjoy a night in nature.

If it was me I would be packing in a fishing rod and reel to maybe catch a fish or two for diner or breakfast listening to the wildlife and waves. Next morning pack up camp and head north to Wattamolla (approx 4 hours), where you will be met by the shuttle bus for the transfer back to Bundeena.

WALKS AROUND BUNDEENA

There are so many different walks around Bundeena and throughout the Royal National Park I would suggest that you take the time and call into the RNP Information Centre and talk to the rangers there. They will be available to give you a few suggestions of where to go and the ease or difficulty of the walk/hike.

Or alternatively you could find out more information from Bundeena Kayaks. They have listed information on where, time it takes, how far the walk/hike is and whether it's an easy, medium or hard walk. Click here for more information.

DINING.

There are a number of places where you can eat while staying or just visiting Bundeena. You could try anyone of the following places:
• Bundeena Bowling Club.
• Bayside Restaurant at the Bundeena RSL.
• Cafe Manna (I had coffee and cake from here)
Cafe Manna

• Passionfruit Cafe (Great fish, calamari and chips)
Passionfruit Cafe

Shell Service station (Bread & Pastries Baked daily here)
Shell Servo at Bundeena

Maybe you would prefer to take your own food and either have a picnic or a BBQ. There is a number of gas BBQ dotted around the place in a variety of small parks. One is right in the centre of the village and it has a small playground and access to the beach for a swim or paddle after lunch.
Playground and BBQ's are right in the centre of the village.

There have been a number of articles written by other writers from Weekend Notes about Bundeena and the Port Hacking River. Maybe you would like to read them to find out what else Bundeena has to offer. There are as follows:

• Bundeena Markets by Dora Bona
• Valentines Day with a difference by Lydia C. Lee
• Exploring the Beaches of the Port Hacking by Postcards_from
Go for an early morning plunge or snorkel in the Port Hacking River.

Take a walk along Jibbon Beach and do the Jibbon Headland walking loop.

So if you are looking for a place where you can do a bit of walking, hiking, camping, have a BBQ or Picnic, explore and get close to nature or have a bite to eat why don't you next time when you are looking for something to do that is a bit different take a drive through the Royal National Park just south of Sutherland and head to Bundeena for some family fun.
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Why? Discover Bundeena and its beauties.
When: All year round
Where: Bundeena, Royal National Park
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I keep saying the same thing about stand up paddle boarding - one of these days I will get around to it
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1224) 862 days ago
Nice article.
I just want to add that the sandstone house you're refering to is actually called "Simpson Cottage" it's also a place to stay.www.simpsoncottage.com.au and there's more history and pics available on the website.
It's not at the Bonnie Vale camp ground.
It sits above rangers hut near the picnic grounds.
The Rangers hut is actually built on the foundations of the Simpson's Hotel, which burnt down.
The Simpson family lived in the sandstone cottage which is now heritage listed and to quote Sutherland Council a particularly significantly historic building.
Story has the deer you see in the park and around Bundeena were introduced by Simpson to make the European visitors feel more at home.
It's shame you didn't include some it your post it would have fitted in nicely. (Although I am somewhat biased)
by tara (score: 0|2) 850 days ago
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