Cape Bailey Lighthouse Track is Kurnell is a stunning coastal track that winds around the cliffs of Cape Solander offering breathtaking views of the ocean as well as whales and seals at certain times of the year.
It’s one of the most stunning coast walks in Sydney and is extremely beautiful on a sunny day.
June and July is prime whale watching seasons which makes this the perfect walk to do in winter, but whales can be seen from May-October if you’re lucky. During summer the wind picks up on the headland here making it not too hot to go exploring.
The walk from Cape Solander to Cape Bailey Lighthouse is a relatively flat and easy walk with raised paths a lot of the way and rocky outcrops or sandy paths otherwise. It’s a good length and can be completed in a couple of hours.
The lighthouse itself is nothing to write home about though. As lighthouses go it’s one of the most ugly ones I’ve seen. It’s just a square concrete box and you cannot access the top.
If you walk up the base of the lighthouse the surrounding shrubbery and bushes block any panoramic views you might get from the hill it sits on.
That being said you don’t do this walk for the lighthouse itself. It’s just a nice endpoint to reach and turn around and come back. It’s the coastal walk and the cliffs that are the real wonder of this location.
Cape Bailey Lighthouse Track Key Information
Distance: 6.4 km (return)
Elevation: 182 metres
Difficulty: Easy but long
Opening Times: All year
Entrance Fee: Kamay Botany Bay National Park Entry Fees Apply – See Full Details
- No toilets or drinking water at Cape Solander Whale Watching Lookout or on path
- Toilets and drinking water nearby at Commemoration Flat Picnic Area
- Cafes and shops closeby in Kurnell
- Cliff edges
Where Is Cape Bailey Lighthouse (Map)
Cape Bailey Lighthouse is located inside Kamay Botany Bay National Park at Kurnell.
You cannot drive to Cape Bailey Lighthouse but can only access it by walking the Cape Bailey Track.
Cape Bailey Lighthouse Direction Summary (SCREENSHOT OR PRINT)
- Park your car at Cape Solander Whale Watching Lookout
- Walk along the Cape Bailey Track following the cliffs
- Turn right onto the sandy path leading up to Cape Bailey Lighthouse
- Return the way you came
Alternatively, if you are coming on a busy day or want to avoid the $8 fee for parking in the national park you can park at Polo Street in Kurnell free of charge and walk to Cape Solander from there.
It adds 1.2 kms each way to your walk but parking is relatively easy and free so it’s worth it for some people.
Start Of The Track
The Cape Bailey Track starts at the south end of Cape Solander car park and heads south along the cliffs.
The beginning section is mostly raised walkway.
The cliffs here (and for the remainder of the track) are absolutely stunning to look at.
The start of the track is relatively busy and the further you go along the less people there are.
The Secret Skylight Cave is located near the start of the Cape Bailey Track. Click here for my full guide on how to find the Secret Skylight Cave at Cape Solander.
This is a dangerous walk and the cave is small and lacklustre in person so only recommended if you really want the photos for your socials. Otherwise just stick to the Cape Bailey Track
The Track Is Obvious The Entire Way
It’s nearly impossible to get lost on the Cape Bailey Track. It’s extremely obvious the entire time.
While there are some signs pointing the way you don’t really need them.
A lot of the track is raised paths and when it’s not a raised path it’s either a rocky expanse (when you just follow the cliff line) or it’s a sandy path.
The path winds around the cliffs and you have gorgeous panoramic views almost the entirety of the way.
Interesting Spots Along The Way
While the views along the track are interesting to look at the entire way there are some interesting spots of note that are worth paying closer attention to.
Tabbigai Cliff Dwellers (Buildings Now Removed)
Back in the 1920’s to 1960’s a small community of fisherman built houses into the cliffs on the way to Cape Bailey Lighthouse.
These are known as the Tabbigai Cliff Dwellers and most of the buildings were constructed during the great depression.
These houses were cut into the cliff with footpaths and steps cut into the rock to get to the houses. One house even had a kitchen, toilet, outside shower and living room.
There was a natural spring that the dwellers used to get fresh water and the water was stored in tanks and had pipes into the houses. A very impressive setup.
Unfortunately in the 1960’s the Department of Lands forced all residents living on Crown Land on the Kurnell Peninsula to vacate their dwellings and remove the structures.
I wish they still stood and you can no longer even see remnants of them on the cliffs but there are some cool photos on a sign as you walk past.
Mini Eagle Rock
Eagle Rock is a famous landmark along the Coastal Track in the Royal National Park. This is NOT that Eagle Rock, but it does look pretty similar.
Maybe it’s more like a turtle head than an eagle though.
You’ll mostly notice this on the way back from the Cape Bailey Lighthouse when you’re facing north.
It could make a cool photo sitting over the rock.
Beautiful Flowers and Plants
Along the track there is a variety of beautiful flowers, shrubs and wildlife.
I also saw a few different species of birds on my walk.
Getting Close To The Lighthouse
As you walk further along the path the lighthouse begins to come into view in the distance.
This makes for some great photos and also gives you something to work towards now that you know how far away it is.
The lighthouse definitely looks more beautiful from far away than it does close up.
The path turns into this rocky outcrop as you get closer to the lighthouse.
Turning Off To The Lighthouse
Eventually you’ll reach the turnoff up to the lighthouse.
There is a clear sign to the lighthouse and the path turns sandy as you walk upwards towards the lighthouse.
This sign gives some of the history of the Cape Bailey Lighthouse and is worth a read before you head up there.
It gave me a bit more of an appreciation for the lighthouse despite it not being the most beautiful lighthouse I’ve ever been to.
The path is not particularly steep or difficult but it gets quite narrow as it winds its way up.
What Cape Bailey Lighthouse Is Like
Cape Bailey Lighthouse is…underwhelming.
If you’re used to beautiful lighthouses like the one at Byron Bay where you can take stunning photos this is going to disappoint you.
The lighthouse is a pretty bland concrete rectangle on a pretty bland concrete slab.
You can’t go into the lighthouse you can only walk around it.
The lighthouse is also surrounded by bushes and shrubs which are a bit taller than eye height (and I’m 6 foot).
Maybe once upon a time there were stunning views from this location but with the height of the bushes you can’t really see anything.
You can see Cronulla from one corner of the concrete slab, but only if you’re tall and stand on your tippy toes.
To return to your car simply head back the way you came – retracing your steps all the way back to Cape Solander Lookout.
There is a slightly quickly alternatively path that goes inland and is a bit more direct than the path along the cliffs.
However, this track is nowhere near as beautiful as the track along the cliffs so I’ll rarely take it.
I’d only suggest it if you’re in a rush, the kids are tired or if you parked at Polo Street and want a faster way back to your car.
Other Interesting Spots Near Cape Bailey Lighthouse
The Cape Bailey Lighthouse Track is one of my favourite coastal walks in Sydney and I do it multiple times a year, whether there are whales or not.
If you’re in the area and want to see some of the other great things Kurnell has to off check out my list of the best things to do in Kurnell.
Alternatively, check out some of my best suggestions below:
Cape Solander Whale Watching Lookout
Right where you parked the car is the Cape Solander Whale Watching Lookout.
This lookout is wheelchair accessible and one of the best places to see the whales as they migrate north to warmer waters.
June and July are the best times to do whale watching but they can also be spotted between May-October. You’ll just have to get lucky.
Sometimes they get as close as just 200 metres from the coast
The Secret Skylight Cave
Made TikTok and Instagram famous this secret skylight cave is an amazing place to take a photo for your social media or dating profile. The cave has a magnificent skylight in the centre and is right on the cliff. It’s quite small but photos make it look bigger than it is.
I consider this walk very dangerous due to how close the cave is to the cliff. If you do this walk then you do it at your own risk.
The walk down to the cave is not marked and is difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But if you know how to get there it’s just a short 200 metres from the carpark
Commemoration Flat Picnic Area
Inside the national park and just a short drive from Cape Solander is the Commemoration Flat Picnic Area.
This grassy spot has barbeques, lots of picnic tablets, bathrooms, drinking water and even a cold shower.
It’s a great spot to have a picnic after exploring the other areas and it’s also very close to the Whale Sculpture.
Kurnell Whale Sculpture
Just off the coast from Commemoration Flat Picnic Area (or walkable from the main street in Kurnell) is the Kurnell Whale Sculpture.
Designed by Theresa Ardler and Julie Squires it features a whale mother and her calf and a bronze fishing net.
It’s a beautiful sculpture and also has lovely views across the bay to La Perouse.