Stretching over 60km of the Coffs Coast, the walk connects Red Rock in the north, to the coastal village of Sawtell in the south.
For the more adventurous, pack your backpack and do the whole walk over four days, camping along the way. Or if you have limited time, attack the coastal walk in shorter sections, accessed from Arrawarra Headland, Woolgoolga Beach and Headland, Emerald Beach, Diggers Beach, and nearby Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve.
Nature absolutely thrives on the Coffs Coast so bring your binoculars. Marvel at migrating humpback whales and spot local dolphins playing in the waters off the coast. Grab a selfie with a kangaroo at Look at Me Now headland. Birdwatchers will be delighted with little terns and white-bellied eagles are often seen along the shores.
Regardless of the season, there’s plenty to do along the Solitary Islands coastal walk. From experiencing the wonders of lovingly preserved cultural sites that represent the natural abundance on the Coffs Coast; to picnicking with picturesque views of the iconic Solitary Islands, which decorate the coastline. For those that love their creature comforts, nearby cafes and accommodation is available to suit any budget and style.
Whichever way you experience this iconic walk, there’s something for everyone. Discover all the charms of this beautiful walking track and find out for yourself why the Solitary Islands coastal walk is truly a walking paradise.
Explore the walks
How to walk the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk
We have suggested 4-day walks with recommending places to stop for food, additional things to do and accommodation along the way. The coastal trail consists of golden beaches, lush rainforests, parks reserves and rocky headlands. Plan your walk at low tide and follow the lighthouse track makers and if you’re planning a one-way walk you may need to arrange transport at your destination. Solitary Islands Coastal Walking Tours & Services provides transportation and logistical assistance along the entire length of the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk, from Red Rock to Sawtell.
The route begins at the Little Beach Lookout with views of the mouth of the estuary (Corindi River) to our left and a sheltered cove to the right. The headland is famous for its rust coloured hue and a massive rock jutting out of the ocean. Hit the sand and begin your journey south with the shimmering ocean and the picturesque coastline.
For coffee cravings and a muffin, the first stop is at Corindi Rafa’s Café. Shortly after, we’re back onto the sand heading towards Arrawarra Beach (you’ll need low tide to cross the Arrawarra River). The Gumbaynggirr people named this land Arrawarra, meaning ‘meeting place’. Keep in mind, the tide must also be low to see the old Aboriginal stone fish traps. Next up is Mullaway Headland, a good spot to find a shady tree and take a breather before re-filling your water bottles. While you’re here, head up to the café at the Mullaway General Store for lunch and to stock up on snacks before tackling the next section along Cabins Beach to Safety Beach. You can take off your shoes and have a paddle at Woolgoolga Lake or if cool off in the ocean. If you’re lucky you might get to inspect the exposed bones of Buster, a 39-metre Canadian built vessel that washed ashore in 1893. The shipwreck is buried in the sand along Woolgoolga Beach just outside the Woolgoolga Lakeside Holiday Park.
With the Woolgoolga Surf Club approaching, there’s not long to go before you reach your accommodation with the promise of hot shower and a soft couch to sink into.
The next leg of the walk starts early! The sunrise from Woolgoolga Headland is absolutely magnificent and definitely worth waking up early for. Aside from panoramic vistas and glorious morning light, you might even spot a whale breaching (May to September)! But before you start your day, be sure to fuel your body at one of the very popular local eats such as Bluebottles Brasserie or Beachouse café.
If you happen to be carrying a surfboard, Woolgoolga’s back beach is a great spot for a wave so be sure to check it out before leaving town. Join the Coastal track here for another beautiful day walking across the golden sands. You’ll soon reach Sandy Beach, where the waters are always so crystal clear. Stop in for morning tea or brunch at local favourite, The Sunken Chip for great coffee, donuts and artisan treats.
The next stretch of the Solitary Islands coastal walk takes in two more stunning beaches across Bare Bluff to Emerald Beach. Arriving on a weekend, you’ll be sure to meet with friendly local family’s who are always keen for a chat. If all of this salt air has you dreaming of a seafood lunch, Surf Street Café even offers seating on the deck overlooking the ocean.
Continuing your adventure, take in the views of the beautiful solitary islands as you wander past Serenity Bay and over to Emerald Beach Headland. You could easily spend hours here admiring seashells and all the marine life that lives in the little rock pools along the headlands. For history buffs and romantics alike, check out the Dammerel History Walk. Arriving to Look At Me Now Headland, you are likely to be greeted by a large, mob of Eastern Grey kangaroos who are quite photogenic.
While it will be hard to leave Look at Me Now, we approach the final section of the day’s walk; which is just a 5.5km stretch of pristine sands to Moonee Beach and Moonee Creek. Along the way, unleash your inner Attenborough as there is plenty of wildlife watching opportunities. When you reach Moonee Creek, you’ll discover that is perfect place for a range of outdoor recreational activities if you wanted to extend your trip for another day.
Moonee Beach to Park Beach
Start your morning with an unforgettable cultural tour The Moonee Beach Nature Reserve, which is of great significance to the local Gumbaynggir people. You can hire a kayak or stand up paddle board to enjoy a guided tour of the very special estuary that is also home to 10 endangered species of birdlife.
After a morning on the creek, it’s time to get your walk on as you follow the signs across the bridge heading to Green Bluff Headland. Let your curiosities run wild as you wander through the littoral rainforest and coastal woodland. Before you know it, you’re back on the beach for an afternoon of golden sands and iconic vistas. Take a mini break at the South Solitary Island viewing platform and there is even coffee nearby.
Continuing past White Bluff and then onto Korora Beach, you will walk past some great luxury accomodation offerings. The southern section of Korora Beach is absolutely breathtaking and there are you walk up and around the cliffs, you will reach another littoral rainforest behind Charlesworth Bay. You will soon reach beautiful Diggers Beach, which is another great surfing spot and has a couple of perfectly placed platforms to take in the incredible views. Continuing south we come to Macauleys Headland, which is a lovely spot for an afternoon picnic. Alternatively, pop in for a sundowner and a pub feed at The Hoey Moey before you slowly make your way to one of the many accomodation options for the night.
The walk from Park Beach over to Muttonbird Island, is full of life as you approach a thriving and exciting section of the walk. Take in the sights as you walk along the Northern Breakwall towards Muttonbird Island. Taking in the views of the Coffs Harbour International Marina, you will soon reach the island, which also marks the southern boundary of the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Also known as Giidany Miirlarl (meaning moon sacred place) Muttonbird Island itself is significant for the local Gumbaynggir people, as it was once a ceremonial site. Its main lookout is the spot for spectacular 360-degree views of the Coffs Coast.
Grab a coffee and grab your camera, as you take a walk along the path to towards the historic Jetty for that must have photography of the old wooden piers which are one of the Coffs Coast’s most Instgram-worthy moments. From locals walking their dogs, to kids riding their bikes, this is a very popular section of the walk. Continuing down the beach and out to Corambirra Point, you will walk along the might Boambee Beach, an iconic stretch of sand adjacent to the Coffs Harbour Airport runway. At the southern end of the beach, you arrive at the spectacular Boambee Creek mouth. It’s hard not to jump in for a refreshing swim in its beautiful hues of green and blue.
Walk across the bridge, to take in views at the Boambee Headland Lookout. The last section of the walk takes you along Murrays Beach then onto Sawtell Beach. Sawtell itself is a beautiful seaside town with incredible food and shopping. Our last stop is Bonville Headland which is the the gateway to the Bongil Bongil National Park. Enjoy the sunset views, or if it’s hot, cool off at the Sawtell Memorial Rock Pool, before you head to your accommodation at BIG4 Sawtell Beach Holiday Park.
Many beaches are not patrolled and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. If you are swimming in a patrolled beach always swim between the red and yellow flags. Wear protective clothing from the sun, use sunscreen and a hat.
Research your walk and stay on the paths.
Check weather forecasts for tides as walking along the beach at low tide is easiest. There are some creek crossings.
There may also be limited mobile phone reception in spots along the walks.