Whilst not the easiest place to get to, the Figure 8 Pools are a really unique place and definitely worth the 45-minute hike each way from the car park!
With several natural ocean rock pools with refreshing crystal clear waters, plus the main attraction – the rock pool actually shaped like the number 8, this is definitely a place you’ll want to catch on camera!
It is however, super important to time your visit correctly, as the pools can become a dangerous place if you visit them at the wrong time!
Read on to find out all you need to know to have an epic time at the Figure 8 Pools in Royal National Park!
What Is The Figure 8 Pools?
The Figure 8 Pools is a set of pools on a rock shelf next to the ocean just south of Burning Palms Beach in Royal National Park. All the rock pools are naturally formed, but only one of them is shaped in a figure ‘8’.
There are however many other interesting shaped pools around! The pools are deep enough for you to get in and relax and get some fun photos!
How Do You Get To Figure 8 Pools Royal National Park?
The easiest way to get to the Figure 8 Pools is to drive. If you don’t have a car you can rent one from Discover Cars or even Car Next Door.
Note that you can’t drive straight to the Figure 8 Pools, you’ll need to park at a car park and then hike to get down to the pools! Park your car at the Garawarra Farm carpark, which is just off Garie Road.
This is the nearest car park to the Figure 8 Pools.
Here is the Google maps location.
From the car park, it is a 3km hike one way to the Figure 8 Pools.
You can also reach the Figure 8 Pools by public transport but you will have to walk a lot more! Get the T4 train (South Coast/Illawarra line) and get off at Otford Station.
You’ll then have to walk 8km (1 hour 45 minutes) each way to get to the Figure 8 Pools, as opposed to just 45 minutes each way if coming by car. This is a different route to walk than if you’ll be parking at the car park.
The route from the train station is a lot steeper, but it’s a lovely walk going through Palm Jungle.
How Long Is The Figure 8 Pools Walk?
The return hike for the Figure 8 Pools is 6km. It is 3km each way, which takes roughly 45 minutes.
Is It Hard To Get To Figure 8 Pools?
To get to the Figure 8 Pools from the nearest car park (Garawarra Farm car park) you will need to do a 45 minute 3km hike each way (so 1.5 hours 6km return hike).
The hike will take you around the cliffs on the coastal walk, across the stunning Burning Palms Beach and onto the rock shelf where you’ll find the Figure 8 Pools.
The path starts off as a slightly steep but manageable descent going through the bush with many overgrown tree roots and rocks (watch your footing!).
You then join onto The Coast Track, walking on a metal boardwalk down the hill (the views are beautiful here!) and onto Burning Palms Beach.
Stop off at Burning Palms Beach for a quick swim if it’s a hot day and you need to cool down – it’s a fantastic beach! Walk south to the end of Burning Palms Beach to the last part of the walk, which gets a bit trickier.
It goes around the bottom of the headland and you’ll have to do rock hopping over the loose rocks and then you’ll reach the rock shelf.
When returning to your car, take the same path back up the hill.
The Figure 8 Pools are located between the two headlands in the picture above. You’ll need to cross the rock platform you see at the far end of the beach.
What Grade Is Figure 8 Pools Hike?
The walk is considered a hard Grade 4 hike, but it is not particularly challenging if you have a good level of fitness.
Do bear in mind however that you will be walking 6km and there are some uneven and steep sections. The walk is not accessible for wheelchairs or prams.
When the conditions are good and the weather is dry, it is a lovely walk. If it has been raining lately the path may be muddy, plus the last part of the walk crossing the rocks may be more difficult after rain as the rocks get very slippery.
When Can You See The Figure 8 Pools?
You can only see and access the Figure 8 Pools at low tide. The tide and swell needs to be less than 1 metre, so it can be an hour before or an hour after low tide, but that’s it.
Anything higher than that and conditions can become hazardous. Therefore there are only a few hours each day when you can see the Figure 8 Pools.
When it is high tide the Figure 8 Pools can be a dangerous place. At high tide the waves will cover the pools and so you won’t even be able to see them as the whole rock shelf will be under water!
Plus, the final bit of the walking path to get to the pools will be under water too, which will make it incredibly slippery and dangerous to walk on.
The waves are incredibly powerful around the Figure 8 Pools rock shelf and have injured many people in the past, even fatally washed people out to sea before.
Therefore it is imperative for your safety that you don’t visit at high tide or mid tide and are always aware of tide times.
Make sure to time your visit so that you only visit at low tide when the swell is under 1 metre. Remember to factor in the time it takes to walk to the Figure 8 Pools when working out what time to get there!
You’ll see information boards along the walk telling you to also visually check the tide. You need to be able to see the rock shelf in the above picture underneath the cliff.
If it is covered in water it means the tide is too high and therefore too dangerous to go.
What Time Is Low Tide At Figure 8 Pools?
Tide times change every day so you always need to check the forecast for the day you will be visiting for your own safety. Check the tide times for the Figure 8 pools here.
Also check the weather conditions – if the weather is forecast stormy, don’t visit.
Are The Figure 8 Pools Busy?
Whilst the Figure 8 Pools are a really unique place to visit, do bear in mind that they are a popular tourist attraction and it gets very busy here, especially during the summer holidays and during weekends.
As you can only visit at certain times due to the tides, it means there will most likely be other people around too when you plan to visit.
If you want to visit when there are less people around, consider going mid-week when the children are at school, or off-season during the cooler months.
It’s important to always check the tide times, and if low tide coincides with early morning (the park opens at 7 am), say 8 am or before 9 am, this will be the optimal time to see the Figure 8 Pools without many people. You may even get it to yourself!
Also, the walk will feel easier as the sun won’t be so strong and you won’t get as hot.
If low tide is during the early afternoon, the Figure 9 Pools will be a lot busier.
In addition, don’t arrive too late as the park gates close at 8.30 pm, plus I don’t advise you to do the long steep walk back up the hill in the dark!
How Much Does It Cost To Visit The Figure 8 Pools In Royal National Park?
It costs $12 to park your car in the Royal National Park. Tickets are valid for the whole day and throughout the whole of the Royal National Park.
To actually visit the Figure 8 Pools costs nothing if you go independently, so anyone who enters the park by foot (eg: walking from the train) doesn’t have to pay a fee, you just pay a fee for vehicles.
Guided Tour Of The Figure 8 Pools
You may wish to visit the Figure 8 Pools on a guided tour with Emu Trekkers, a tour operator that is NSW National Parks Certified.
They only operate during low tide, and when there is low swell and safe ocean conditions. You will need to book online beforehand.
How Deep Is The Figure 8 Pool?
The Figure 8 Pool is 3 metres deep and about 3 metres long, so you can jump in! You can’t really swim around in it – it’s more of a water hole than a pool, but you can just float lying on your back, or sit at the edge.
As the water is so clear, it’s easy to see that one end of the pool is a lot deeper than the other, so you can sit down inside the pool and relax!
The water is cool but refreshing – especially if you jump in!
Are The Figure 8 Pools Man Made?
As mentioned earlier, the Figure 8 Pools are completely natural, which makes them even more impressive to see. They were formed as a result of gradual erosion over time.
What To Wear At Figure 8 Pools Royal National Park
Definitely wear your swimming costume underneath your clothes if you plan to get in the pools as there are no changing rooms here. I would also advise to wear comfortable closed shoes with a good grip such as trainers for the walk.
I don’t advise wearing thongs or sandals, especially as it’s a long walk you want to be comfortable.
It’s definitely a good idea to also wear a hat and sunglasses too to protect yourself from the sun as there isn’t much shade on the walk.
Safety At Figure 8 Pools Royal National Park
There is lots of algae around the rock platform at Figure 8 Pools which can make it very slippery, so you’ll want shoes that have a good grip so you don’t fall.
Honestly, people fall and injure themselves here at the Figure 8 Pools all the time, so always pay attention to your footing.
Also it’s important to watch the ocean for any freak waves – this does happen so never get too close to the edge of the rock shelf as you could get dragged out out to sea.
There are no lifeguards here, and phone service is intermittent, so if you have an accident it can take a long time for help to arrive.
Always let someone know you are going on the walk, especially if you plan to visit alone.
What To Bring To Figure 8 Pools
- Swimming costume
- Water bottle (there is nowhere along the walk to refill your bottle so make sure to bring enough!)
- Phone with offline maps to check the route. Mobile phone service is limited here so you’ll want to have downloaded an offline map before you visit.
- Comfortable shoes
Figure 8 Pools is located in a very secluded spot so you may even wish to bring a picnic and some snacks to enjoy at the beach as there aren’t any cafes or shops around! There also aren’t any toilets either.
There are no bins on the walk so make sure to pick up any rubbish and don’t leave any.
Also remember this is a National Park so no dogs are allowed on the Figure 8 Pools walk!
Places To Visit Near Figure 8 Pools Royal National Park
If you’ll be visiting the Figure 8 Pools on a day trip from Sydney then definitely make sure to also stop off at the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge that is just 30 minutes from the Figure 8 Pools car park.
If you’ll be visiting the Figure 8 Pools on a Sydney to Melbourne road trip, or a Sydney to South Coast NSW road trip, make sure to also check out Jervis Bay, (home to the whitest sand in the world and lots of kangaroos!) as well as Tilba (the cutest town!) and Tathra on your way down the NSW South Coast.