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Discover Audley in the Sutherland Shire

Home > Sydney > Day Trips | Nature | Picnic Spots | Places of Interest | Walks
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 NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published February 10th 2015
The Highway to the Royal National Park.

Having lived in the Sutherland Shire for over thirty-two years, you tend to become a bit complacent of what the Sutherland Shire has on offer. Over the next few weeks I am going to put together a review of a number of suburbs in the Sutherland Shire.

Starting with Audley.

The rest will be as follows:

• Bundeena - The Jewel in the South.
• Cronulla – Surf, dine and walk your way around the beaches.
• Kurnell – The first step in Australia's History.
• Sans Souci – Baths, Boatsheds and Fishing.
• Woronora – A paradise hidden in the valley.
Audley Weir sepeartes the eastern and western sides of Audley.

Audley is located on the outskirts of southern Sydney in the Royal National Park and the small community of Audley is situated on the junction of the Port Hacking River and Kangaroo creek. After travelling from the Princes Highway you will need to cross a causeway to get to the Royal National Parks Visitors Centre. Here you find all kinds of information that will your time at Audley and the surrounding areas more enjoyable.


The area was surveyed by Lord George Edward Audley in 1863-64, where he set up camp. He later married Emily, second daughter of Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General. Floodgates were constructed in Audley in 1900 and Audley developed into a small village of amusements, surrounded by 'pleasure gardens'. It was popular with holiday-makers and honeymooners who could stay at the Allambie House guesthouse. A dance hall was built here in the 1940s, which have been renovated into what is now the Audley Dance Hall, Cafe and Events.
The newly renovated Audley Dance Hall, Cafe and Events

Set amid native bushland with views over Hacking River, the cafe is a perfect place to kick back over breakfast or a hearty lunch. Birds forage on the lawn and rowboats drift across the river, with leaves falling from the trees in autumn. Audley has always been a popular destination for Sydney Siders, and this is one more reason to make the effort to spend a day exploring Audley and its surrounds.
Cockatoos, ducks and other widelife can be found at Audley.


From Loftus you will need to turn off Princes Highway at Farnell Avenue and continue down the hill and drive across Audley Weir. From here you will turn right into Triangle car park just after the weir.

From Waterfall you will need to turn off Princes Highway at Waterfall train station. Then follow McKell Avenue to the end, where you will turn left onto Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and follow to Audley. From here you will need to turn left into Triangle car park just before the weir.

For the more adventurous you could catch a train the Sutherland, walk to the Sydney Tramway Museum and catch a tram to the top of Audley, walk for about twenty down a bush track to Audley.
Alight from the tram and walk down the track for about twenty minutes to Audley.

Click for map of RNP.


Picnic tables, cafe/kiosk, flush toilets, drinking water, public phone, visitor centre, car park, paddling, picnics and barbecues, walking and wheelchair access.
Covered BBQ's to cook those sausages or fish on.


Walking tracks would be the first thing that came to mind when thinking about Audley and coming in a very close second would be picnics, dining, weddings, boating and fishing. Not necessarily in that order.

You may not realise that there are 32 walking/hiking trails in the Royal National Park and some of them start from Audley. You can go on short, half, full and overnight walks that are easy, moderate or hard. Click here for more information.


Lady Carrington Drive:

It is 9.7 km long and it will take approximately three and three quarter hours to complete by walking. It is an easy to medium track of unsealed road that is closed to vehicular traffic. It is a very extremely popular walking and bike track that is crossed with 15 creeks of which are identified by its aboriginal name. The walk passes through valley floor vegetation and in spring is lit up by brilliant yellow displays of wattle trees and oranges and reds of the Australian native banksia trees and Waratah flowers. If you were to go by mountain bike it would take about thirty five minutes.
The tracks are well sign posted.


Willow tree to Calala:

On this walk you follow the historic Lady Carrington Drive from Willow tree picnic area to Calala before returning the same way. The walk passes two icons on the old road, Gibraltar Rock and Jersey Spring whilst crossing several small brooks. At Calala you will find a large clearing and natural shade from some large trees, there is also access down to a small beach on the side of the shallow Hacking River. There is approximately 10.4 km and will take about 4 hours.

Gilbraltar Rock:

This short walk starts near the Willow Tree Picnic Area (near Audley). The walk follows a short section of the historic Lady Carrington Drive to a large sandstone overhang called Gibraltar Rock. At the base of the overhang is a rare sandstone cobble section of road. At Gibraltar Rock, there is also good view along the Hacking River. This is a nice way to stretch your legs whilst picnicking in the area. It's about a twenty minute walk of about one km.
You may spot some of your own wildlife on one of the many tracks in the RNP.


There is only one place to buy food at Audley and that is the Audley Dance Hall Cafe and Events which is situated on the Eastern side of the Audley Weir. There is plenty of parking close to the Cafe, but you will need to pay the $11.00 Royal National Parks fee.

Now you may say that I have to pay an extra fee to eat at the Audley Dance Hall Cafe and Events. I have a National Parks year fee which cost me only $50 (seniors discount), normally $65. This means that you can visit any park in NSW for the cost of a year fee. It goes towards the upkeep of the parks and this is why we have such great facilities. There are gas BBQ's, tables and seats, covered areas and they have just put in a new pontoon and wharf on the downstream side of the Audley Weir. So I reckon its value for money.

I put an article together on the Audley Dance Hall Cafe and Events for the Sydney Food Lovers Hub. So for more information just click here.


Just before you get to the Audley Weir you will need to turn off to the Audley Boat Shed where you can hire a Boat to row, Canoe to paddle, Aqua Bike to ride on the water or a Mountain Bike ride along on of the many trails the RNP has to offer.
To find out more about the Audley Boat Shed and the cost to hire a boat, canoe, aqua bike or mountain bike you could have a read of an article that I had published on Weekend Notes on the Audley Boat Shed. So for more information just click here.
Why don't you hire a bike? Courtsey of the Audley Boat Shed

A couple of cockatoos checking out the Audley Boat Shed.


There are a number of covered BBQ areas that have tables and seating nearby that you could take the family (wheel chair friendly) to have a picnic or BBQ. When you have finished you may like to walk around this park of the park and do a bit ob exploring of your own. You could even cast a bait or lure in (saltwater side of the Audley Weir only) for a fish or two. Bream, tailor, flathead, bass, mullet and the odd luderick can be caught here. Maybe you will get one big enough to cook on the BBQ.
Maybe you could cacth a fish or two to put on the BBQ.

Talk to the rangers at the new RNP Information Centre

So if you are looking for a place where you can do a bit of walking, hiking, bike riding, 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 down to Audley in the Royal National Park just south of Sutherland.
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Why? Great place to explore while walking/hiking trails in the RNP.
When: All year round
Where: Audley, Royal National Park
Cost: Entry fee to RNP IS $11 PER CAR
Your Comment
Great review, well done
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1251) 2853 days ago
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