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How to get to the Figure 8 Pools

Updated December 2023, How to get to the Figure 8 Pools Near Sydney, Australia was originally written in February 2017

We spent a weekend road-tripping and camping down around Jervis Bay when my friend who had been living in Sydney for years mentioned visiting this place on our way back to the city. I’d never heard of it, so I figured why not?

We veered from the main highway and then started the walk down. What we found was 1) a giant crowd, but 2) a natural pool in the perfect shape of a figure 8.

The Figure 8 Pool lies just south of Sydney in Royal National Park, right off of Burning Palms Beach. The Figure 8 Pool is atop a rock ledge, right on the shore. It’s an interesting geologic phenomenon, with several pools created by erosion over time, one of which is a pool shaped in a figure 8.

But, the Figure 8 Pool comes with a disclaimer: Visiting the Figure 8 Pools can be downright dangerous. You’ll need to plan your visit at low tide, otherwise, you could get washed away to sea.

Even at low tide, you should stay as far from the ocean’s edge as possible as there have been rogue waves that have crashed up onto the rock ledge that have swept people off to sea. Don’t believe me? Read this article.

Several people have died trying to visit the Figure 8 Pools and there have been calls to close off access to the Figure 8 Pool altogether.

So, if you’re too stupid to plan using tide tables, unfit, clumsy, uncoordinated, have shit luck, refuse to believe that death or injury are imminent risks, or are only going there to get that perfect Instagram shot without any regard to safety, then do us all a favor and just stay home.

This can be a fun adventure but it can also turn bad in the blink of an eye.

Go at your own risk.

Check out my Grand Pacific Drive Road Trip Itinerary, including a stop here at the Figure 8 Pool

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Figure 8 Pool Quick Tips

  • The entrance fee to Royal National Park is $12 per vehicle.
  • The drive from Sydney to the Garawarra Car Park from which you’ll begin hiking takes about 60-90 minutes.
  • From the car park, you’ll need to walk about 3 km to reach the Figure 8 Pools (6 km return).
  • Only visit at low tide.

Figure 8 Pool Guide

Everything you need to know about visiting the Figure 8 Pool at Royal National Park.

Figure Out When Low Tide Is On Your Intended Date Of Visit

This is very important as the tides dictate when you will have access to the pools. You want to be here at low tide, and this varies from day to day.

The day we chose to go our options were 4:30 am or 4:30 pm. While I wish I could’ve gotten out of bed early enough to catch the sunrise out there, it didn’t happen. So afternoon it was!

We used a tide table to figure out when we could go. Another great resource is the National Park website which has an informative risk forecast.

Decide What Time To Arrive According To The Tide Table

The trek down from the car park took us about 45 minutes (three reasonable fit late-20 and early-30-somethings). We gave ourselves 90 minutes from the time we parked to low tide to give extra time just in case.

Sydney to Figure 8 Pool Map
Click map above to view on Google Maps

How To Get To Royal National Park

The drive to Royal National Park takes roughly an hour and a half give or take to reach the car park from Sydney. Just punch in ‘Garawarra Farm Road Carpark’ in Google Maps or, and this will give you the road directions. Note that the last 1.5 km of the drive is on a dirt road.

FYI: it’s a $12 fee for day parking payable at a machine as you enter the park.

Hike The Burning Palms Beach Trail

You’ll follow the trail down through the forest and then onto the beach. It’s a fairly easy well-beaten trail, although it’s all uphill on the way back so it’s a bit of a workout on return.

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Burning Palms Beach

Walk Across Burning Palms Beach

On the opposite side of the beach, you should be able to see the rock ledge as you descend off the trail. Toward your right, the sand will eventually give way to rock.

Get Up On The Rock Ledge & Continue Across It

Once off the main beach, you’re going to continue across some boulders and eventually make it to a flat rock platform with waves crashing up against the edge. Stay close to the cliffs and away from the ocean’s edge- this is the part where several people have been washed away to sea and died.

Do not attempt to get up here if it’s not low tide or if the ocean is looking at all violent. Take care walking across the rock ledge as it gets really slippery.

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The crowd at The Figure 8 Pool

Arrive At The Figure 8 Pools

You’ll probably see the crowd of people all waiting to get their perfect Instagram shot before you see the Figure 8 Pool, especially on the weekend. If it’s really crowded there are other pools around the area too, but the Figure 8 Pool is obviously the more interesting of them.

Where To Stay Near The Pools

If you want to visit the Figure 8 Pools and get out of Sydney.

Helensburgh Hotel |

Headlands Austinmer Beach | |

Where To Stay In Sydney

Day tripping from the city? No problem.

Secret Garden Backpackers | |

Sydney Park Hotel | |

Little Albion Boutique Hotel | |

Shop Figure 8 Pool Tours

Figure 8 Pool Safety & Tips

  • Take the safety precautions seriously, people have died here.
  • Bring water. It’s a hot sweaty hike especially on your way back.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen, the sun can be brutal out there.
  • Pack a snack or lunch to eat, as you can plan to be down here (hike + pools) to take at least two hours.
  • Don’t forget the $12 park entrance fee.
  • If you bring it in, take it back out. Don’t trash the place.
  • Sometimes at low tide, there can still be large swells, if you get down to Burning Palms Beach and this is the case, don’t risk it!
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