I have been to Figure 8 pool twice, one with a hiking agency and the other with my friends. Both the times, the hiking experience was amazing even though the second time was nearly a life and death experience.
Visit Figure 8 pools only during low tides.
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What are Figure 8 pools?
Figure 8 pools are the natural pools in the shape of the number 8. They are located in Royal National Park near Burning Palms Beach. Royal National Park is a protected national park located south of Sydney in the state New South Wales of Australia.
When to visit?
The visit to the Figure 8 pool is possible only at low tide i.e. the tide is less than 1 metre and at no dangerous surf conditions. The weather and the tide forecast can be checked at Bureau of Meteorology website.
I cannot stress enough as to how dangerous the hike gets during high tides. Read my story of how my friends and I escaped the dangerous level of high tide during one of our visits to the Figure 8 pool
How to get to the car park?
- Driving – Figure 8 pool is not accessible by car.
- The nearest car park is at Garawarra Farm car park, off Garie Road.
- The parking is also available at Otford.
- The Garawarra Farm car park is around 53 kilometres from Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and takes about 60 minutes to drive.
- Public transport – The nearest train station is Otford.
- There are trains between Sydney Central train station and Otford train station.
- Up to date information can be found on the Transport for NSW website.
- The train fares can be paid using either Opal or credit/ debit cards.
Hike to the Figure 8 pools
The return walk from the car park is about 6 kilometres. It is rated as ‘Hard‘ due to the steep, rocky and slippery paths. The hike can take around 3 to 3.5 hours.
There are two ways to reach the Figure 8 pool:
- Long and not so steep path – The walk is through the coastal rainforest and spectacular scenery. The walk is through the Burning Palms Beach. The last stretch of the walk is on the rocks. The rock surface could be dangerous as it is covered in slippery seaweed. I took this path while going to the Figure 8 pool. The views of the walk were breathtakingly beautiful.
- Very steep path – The initial stretch of the walk was climbing up the steep rocks. I took this path while returning from the Figure 8 pool and honestly the initial stretch of this walk was the most difficult part of the entire hike.
- Distance: 6 kilometres from car park.
- Time taken: 3.5 hours.
- Grade: Hard.
Hiking agency details
The first time I went with a hiking agency.
- Company: Barefoot Downunder.
- Cost: AUD 128.00 per person, including the transportation.
I think the only tour company that offers a day trip to the Figure 8 pool is Barefoot Downunder. My experience with them was very good and I was well taken care of the entire day.
Note: The walk to Figure 8 pool can also be done by ourselves without any tour agency. However, the walk needs to be done only during low tide, else it can be very dangerous.
Safety for solo female travelers
I did not find this track unsafe for solo hikers. However, as a general rule it is always best to go on hikes with a hiking buddy, to be prepared for any unforeseen situations. I would definitely suggest going with at least another person for sure.
In a nutshell, this one day trip to the Figure 8 pool is one of the must do hikes around Sydney. It is definitely worth it. I loved the hike more than the pools itself. The pools are not that big and they look much prettier on the pictures than in real life.