Bundeena: An Easy Day Trip from Sydney
Bundeena is a pretty coastal village in the outer southern reaches of Sydney is a great day trip from Sydney. While it’s only an hour from the middle of the city, allow a full day to discover the beauty of this seaside paradise. Read on for our tips on the best things to see and do in Bundeena.
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Bundeena feels almost undiscovered, especially if you visit outside the busy summer holiday weekends. This pretty coastal village is home to just under 2000 residents and is surrounded by bushland. There is plenty to do with four beaches and plenty of great walks nearby.
Bundeena, means noise like thunder in the language of the Dharawal, this traditional owners of this place.
So to help you make the most of your time in Bundeena, we have shared a list of things we like to do when we visit.
10 Things to Do in Bundeena
If you arrive by ferry, start with a visit to the information centre just up the hill from the wharf. Pick up a map and find out if there are any special events happening; the staff are happy to help you plan your day.
We think you should:
Explore the Bundeena Art Trail
On the first Sunday of every month, the resident artists of Bundeena open their studios between 10am and 4pm. You can visit the artists and watch them work or buy an artwork from their collection.
You will find the map of the Bundeena and Maianbar Art Trail on their website, or you can grab one from a cafe or shop when you get off the ferry. Follow their Instagram to learn more about the artists.
Shop the Bundeena Markets
Also, on the first Sunday of each month is the local markets at Bundeena, known as the Saltwater Market. It operates in Summers’ Reserve from 9am to 2pm.
Spot a Whale or Two
Winter and spring are the best time of year for whale watching in Bundeena. Head to Jibbon Point for the best opportunities. The spectacular views from Jibbon Head over the sandstone cliffs are lovely any time of year, but you get the bonus of regular sightings in whale migration season.
View the Aboriginal Rock Engravings
The original inhabitants of the Bundeena area were the Dharawal people. They gave the area its name, and their ancestors have been able to preserve and share some of their history with visitors via the preserved rock art and interpretive panels along some of the walking tracks.
The well preserved 5000-year-old indigenous rock art is one highlight of visiting Bundeena. The outline engravings include a wobbegong shark, fish, a whale, boomerangs and shields. These are among the best examples of Aboriginal rock art in Sydney.
Signs at a nearby campsite explain how the camps were used, and a midden here has been dated to 7,000-years-old.
Swim at One of the Beautiful Bundeena Beaches
There are four stunning beaches within walking distance of the wharf. The water here is crystal clear and safe for swimming.
- Hordens Beach – the main beach right next to the ferry wharf, Hordens Beach offers calm water and some shade, making this an excellent choice for families. It is an off-leash dog area during the winter and at certain times of day in summer.
- Jibbon Beach – Jibbon Beach offers no facilities and not a lot of shade, but it’s usually quieter than the other beaches at Bundeena.
- Little Jibbon Beach – a pretty, secluded beach that is clothing optional
- Gunyah Beach – a small beach with some rock pools that are fun for splashing about.
- Bonnie Vale Beach – this is inside the Royal National Park boundary, so no dogs are allowed.
Take a Walk in Royal National Park Bundeena
Most people first discover Bundeena when planning a visit to the Royal National Park to walk the Coast Track or visit Marley Beach or Wattamolla a third of the way along the Coast Track.
The Jibbon Loop is a brilliant choice if you don’t want to go too far. This 4km loop walk includes the Aboriginal engraving above: the walk is well signposted except for the street walk at the beginning. We used google maps to check our location until we reached the bush trail.
Another popular walk is the one to view Wedding Cake Rock. Follow the signs for the Coast Track; Wedding Cake Rock is along the first section of the walk.
A less known option is the Cabbage Tree Basin walk – Starting at Bonnie Vale Beach, this 6km walk (or you can paddle if you prefer) includes mangroves, salt marshes and excellent views over the region.
Get Out on the Water on Port Hacking (Deeban)
Port Hacking forms the northern border of the Royal National Park.
The Port Hacking river is an excellent place to kayak, paddle, fish, or swim. Occasionally, when the swell is up, you will see people surfing inside Port Hacking.
The best way to enjoy the water is to rent a paddleboard or kayak and get out on Simpsons Bay. This sheltered bay is a great place to learn new skills and get your water confidence. They also offer guided tours and lessons.
Take the Bundeena and Maianbar Heritage Walk
Learn about the village’s early days, find out how some of the area’s finest homes came to be, learn about the families behind the ferry service, and lots more! Join a Guided Adventure Walk with a local operator for a completely different pace.
Find a Picnic Spot in Bundeena
Bonnie Vale Beach is a much-loved picnic spot in Bundeena and a great choice for the facilities on offer. If you are happy to rough it on a blanket, you might like one of the beaches above.
There are plenty of fishing opportunities here from boat, beach, or over in Maianbar near Cabbage Tree Basin. Catches of flathead, bream and whiting are common. You can also book a charter.
Where to Eat in Bundeena
There is a surprising number of dining options for a tiny village. If you arrive hungry, make your way up to Brighton Street past the lovely artwork by Judit Stead called Spring.
- Driftwood Cafe – Breakfasts, soups, and fish and chips for lunch.
- Bundeena CSC – All the standard pub/club grub served with water views.
- The Bowlo – offers a Thai menu with a range of western meals too
There is also a gelato shop, a fish and chip place and an IGA supermarket for an impromptu picnic.
Cronulla has a huge range of options if you want to pack a picnic.
How to Get to Bundeena
Bundeena is an easy day trip to take by train so feel free to leave the car at home, or at least at Cronulla and jump on the ferry.
By Public Transport: This is a straightforward trip from Central that will take you about 90 minutes. Perfect for a day trip by train. (link). Take the train from platform 25.
After a 50-minute train trip to Sydney’s southern suburbs and the short walk to the wharf on the station’s south side, you reach the Bundeena Ferry wharf. Here you will join the cute green and yellow wooden Bundeena ferry for the 20-minute ride across Port Hacking’s Gunnamatta Bay ferry to Bundeena Village. FYI The ferry is dog friendly.
By car: Take Farnell Avenue into the National Park. You are not required to pay the entry fee if you are just visiting Bundeena and not stopping in the park. Drive through the park via Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and then Bundeena Road. If you arrive after 10am on a weekend or holiday, parking may be a challenge.
Want to stay a little longer?
There are plenty of reasons to plan a longer visit to Bundeena. A week or a weekend, it’s the perfect spot to unwind and one of the easiest Sydney Getaways by the water.
Bundeena Base Holiday Home
This three-bedroom home sleeps up to eight. It also has a pool and water views. You are within close walking distance to three beaches and the Royal National Park. It’s a perfect base for exploring the National Park. You can check availability and prices here.
Royal National Park Cottages
Alternatively, there are three houses inside the Royal National Park that you can book. All sleep between 6-8 guests in three bedrooms. Check out the photos and prices here.