Last updated: June 7, 2022
The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is a scenic walking track in Sydney Harbour National Park that follows the shoreline between the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve just north of Rose Bay and Nielsen Park in Vaucluse.
The walk is a shorter section of the popular Rose Bay to Watsons Bay coastal trail, and meanders through bushland and coastal vegetation, past secluded beaches, beautiful parks, and lots of picturesque bays.
|Hermitage Foreshore Walk|
|Distance:||2 km (one way)|
|Dogs:||Not allowed on the trail|
How to Get There
The official start of the Hermitage Foreshore Track is located at the very end of Bayview Hill Road in Vaucluse (see map location).
Bayview Hill Rd is a short side street off New South Head Rd, with a bus stop close by. Several bus routes arrive here via the city or Bondi Junction from the west, or via Watsons Bay from the northeast. Check the official bus timetables and maps for more details.
If you’re planning to drive, you may be able to find street parking nearby, although this can be challenging on busy days. Parking may be easier at the other end of the walk, at Nielsen Park.
Alternatively, if you’re doing this track as part of the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay Walk, you can also travel by ferry. Both Rose Bay and Watsons Bay have a ferry wharf with ferries travelling to and from Circular Quay.
Highlights and Map
The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is an easy, family-friendly walking trail on a well-maintained path that is easy to follow and well-signposted.
In this guide to the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, we are going to focus on the following five highlights and landmarks:
- Queens Beach
- Hermit Point and Hermit Bay Beach
- Milk Beach
- Strickland House
- Nielsen Park and Shark Beach
In the track notes below, we’re describing the walk from south to north, with Queens Beach as the first highlight, and ending at beautiful Shark Beach.
Here is a map for your reference, with the highlights marked from 1 to 5:
Hermitage Foreshore Track Notes
Let’s go through the highlights along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, starting from the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve at the end of Bayview Hill Road in Vaucluse.
1. Queens Beach
As you will notice straight away, the Hermitage Foreshore Track is mostly a combination of boardwalks and well maintained bush trails.
It’s not a difficult walk at all, but you do need to pay attention as there may be some areas where the path is a bit uneven and rough.
The first little milestone along the walk is Queens Beach, a small secluded strip of sand with the best views of Sydney Harbour.
It typically doesn’t get busy here at all, so if you’re looking for a great secluded beach in Sydney to have a quiet swim, Queens Beach is worth checking out.
Just be mindful of the tides, as part of the beach may disappear at high tide.
2. Hermit Point and Hermit Bay Beach
Leaving Queens Beach behind, the path continues to Hermit Point and Hermit Bay Beach. This is another great opportunity to go for a swim without having too many people around.
The track continues around the beach from where the views of Hermit Bay, against the backdrop of Rose Bay and the city, are stunning.
The grassy area is a great place for a picnic, in case you’re bringing food along with you on this walk.
If you look carefully, you may spot another small strip of sand named Tingara Beach. It’s really small, and depending on the tide you may not even notice it at all.
3. Milk Beach
Milk Beach is a 50 metres long secluded strip of sand, quietly tucked away between Hermit Point and Nielsen Park.
It’s a great little beach to relax on a lazy Sunday afternoon, away from the large crowds at Bondi Beach or Watsons Bay.
But as secluded as Milk Beach may appear, it can get a little crowdy at times, especially on warm summer days, with families and young people enjoying a swim and a picnic.
You will also see lots of yachts dropping anchor in front of the beach, enjoying a relaxing day out on the Harbour.
4. Strickland House
Strickland House is a heritage listed mansion located right behind Milk beach, overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Designed and built in the 1850s in Victorian Italianate style, this 3-storey sandstone house was once the home of Sydney’s first lord mayor, John Hosking.
Strickland House is of exceptional historical significance to the state of New South Wales.
Over the years, Strickland House has served as a residential home for leading figures of Sydney’s establishment, as a women’s convalescent home, and as an aged care facility.
It has been in public use since 1994, and whilst the grounds of the house are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm for visitors to wander around, you will need to book a guided tour to have a closer look inside.
5. Nielsen Park and Shark Beach
Shark beach, with Nielsen park right behind the sand, marks the end of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk.
Nielsen Park is a hugely popular weekend destination for Sydney families to go for a swim and have a picnic.
Finding a spot to park your car in the area on a warm Sunday afternoon can be quite challenging, so it’s best to visit earlier in the day.
The family-friendly beach has an enclosed swimming area, a shaded promenade and a cafe for snacks, coffee and lunch.
Keen to continue hiking?
Keep following the trail along the coast to Watsons Bay, and once there you can do the circuit hike on South Head.
From Watsons Bay, you can even hike all the way to Bondi Beach via the scenic Federation Cliff walking track.