Last updated: October 26, 2021
The Bundeena Drive to Marley walk is a moderately challenging bush trail in Royal National Park that leads to two beautiful beaches.
The trail passes the Deer Pool, a small cascade waterfall and pool of water, before arriving at Little Marley Beach and Marley Beach on the Coast Track.
We liked the Bundeena Drive to Marley walk so much that it has earned a spot on our list of best walks in Royal National Park.
|Bundeena Drive to Marley Walk|
|Distance:||8 km (return)|
|Duration:||2-3 hours (depending on stops)|
|Grade:||Moderate (uneven surface)|
How to Get There
As the name of this walk suggests, the starting point of the walk is from Bundeena Drive.
There is a small car park located on the northern side of the road, with the start of the trail on the southern side of the road (see map location).
Please note that this car park is not signposted, which makes it a bit of a challenge to find while driving on an 80 km per hour road. When you do see it, please be mindful of any traffic behind you and be careful when braking and trying to turn into this car park.
Also note that approximately 2 km further north is another car park but for a different trail, the Big Marley Trail, which is not to be confused with the Bundeena Drive to Marley walk.
Bundeena Drive to Marley Track Notes
The Bundeena Drive to Marley walk is approximately 4 km one way, including the two side trips to Little Marley Beach and Marley Beach.
We consider this to be a moderately challenging bushwalk, with sections of uneven surface and also a bit of rock scrambling. Good hiking shoes are therefore recommended.
The highlights and landmarks of this walk are:
- Deer Pool
- Little Marley Beach
- Marley Beach
Here is a map of the walk from Bundeena Drive to Marley including those three highlights:
Start of the Walk
Once you’ve parked your car, you can find the start of the walking track on the opposite side of the road.
Please be extra cautious though when crossing this road, especially if you have children with you.
The track soon passes the actual signpost for this walk, titled “Marley Track”, which is somewhat hidden in the bush.
We’re guessing it’s a very old signpost that has slowly been taken over by nature.
The track then soon passes through a scenic landscape of heath and small trees, before evolving into a bushwalk through a more dense forest.
Approximately 1.8 km into the walk, the trail arrives at Deer Pool, a small cascade waterfall on Marley Creek that drops into a scenic pool with a small strip of sand on the northern side.
Marley Creek eventually feeds into Marley Lagoon which is located right behind Big Marley Beach.
It is named Deer Pool as it was a drinking spot for the many deer that used to reside in the Royal National Park.
From the Deer Pool, cross Marley Creek to the other side where you will see a small signpost. Continue on the trail until you see a couple of boulders and a tree, as per the below photo.
That is where the trail continues northbound until it arrives at an intersection with the Little Marley Firetrail.
Little Marley Firetrail
At this intersection, with the Deer Pool signpost, you turn left to continue on the Little Marley Firetrail for a short while.
While this may not be the most exciting part of the walk, it’s a nice change after all that bush walking.
The trail goes into a northeast direction, with views of Marley Lagoon straight ahead, before it makes a right turn towards the ocean.
The trail then arrives at an intersection with the Coast Track, where you can turn right to visit Little Marley Beach, and turn left to visit Marley Beach.
Little Marley Beach
The walk to Little Marley Beach is on a comfortable boardwalk that forms part of the Coast Track, with beautiful coastal views to take in as you get closer to the beach.
Little Marley Beach is an east-facing, arc-shaped strip of sand with rock platforms on both ends of the beach.
The water at Little Marley Beach is usually a bit calmer than at Marley Beach, but since this is not a patrolled beach, it’s important to be careful at all times.
Marley Beach is often referred to as Big Marley Beach because it’s essentially a much bigger version of Little Marley Beach further south.
This southeast-facing beach is one of the largest beaches in the Greater Sydney area, backed by an extensive area of sand dunes behind the beach.
Note that Marley Beach is generally considered unsafe for swimming due to strong currents and swells. The beach is also unpatrolled, so please be very cautious when going in or close to the water.
If your aim is to visit Little Marley Beach or Marley Beach, there are a few more walking tracks that can get you there.
1. Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock (and Marley Head)
Perhaps the most scenic and most enjoyable way to get to Marley is by doing the Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock walking track, followed by an extra section of the Coast Track to Marley Head and beyond.
This walk starts from Beachcomber Avenue in Bundeena from where it is 3.5 km to Wedding Cake Rock and another 1-2 km to Marley Beach, with fantastic coastal views to enjoy on the way.
Read more about the walking track to Wedding Cake Rock.
2. Big Marley Firetrail
The second option is the Big Marley Firetrail that also starts from Bundeena Drive and is approximately 8 km return to Marley Head followed by Marley Beach.
It’s a fairly easy walking trail but it’s also not the most exciting walk, because most of it is just a rocky firetrail.
3. Little Marley Firetrail
Another option is the Little Marley Firetrail which has its trailhead on Bundeena Drive approximately 3 km south of the starting point of the Bundeena Drive to Marley walk.
This walk is similar to the Big Marley Firetrail but is with 6 km one way significantly longer. Note that this trail is also a popular mountain biek track.