Out & About

EXPLORE // Mount Kembla Summit Walk

Discover epic views and stunning scenery on this popular local bushwalk

By Jenae Johnston



One of Wollongong’s most beautiful and unique walks perfect for a family outing or a challenge with friends.


Depending on the weather and season, a plethora of fungi, an eerie walk in the clouds or simply a great bushwalk to absorb the iconic Wollongong coastline and Lake Illawarra views.


A great walk any time of year, allowing you to enjoy plenty of wildlife with a short challenging walk – this will definitely get the heartbeat going, trust me!




Family-Friendly :: Ideal for the whole family that has a reasonable degree of fitness. It does have cliffs and steep sections, so exercise safety with children at all times.


Easily Accessible :: A pleasant drive through Mt Kembla and Windy Gully to the car park which makes the trail easy to access. The car park is at the top of Cordeaux Road, Mount Kembla. 


Dog-Friendly :: The trail is part of the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area so no dogs are allowed on the trail (only assistance dogs).


Stairs :: Plenty of stairs as well as a small steel ladder and natural rock stairs.


Length :: Approximately 3.5km return with a 240m elevation gain.


Time ::  With sightseeing included, you’re looking at about a 1.5 hour adventure. I highly recommend taking your time as there is plenty to see.



Let’s get started…


The trail starts through the service gate from the car park. Follow the National Parks and Wildlife Service informational signpost into the bush.


Take the path on the left up to the summit which is clearly marked.




Trail lowdown


The trail starts quite barren of undergrowth but shortly you’ll be greeted with gorgeous ferns and forest.


The track continues heading up and up. The trail is a luscious green with blankets of moss on the rocks which seem to just glow!

Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk


The trail falls off steeply to the right down the escarpment but take a good look to the left to see remains of the carriageway that was built at the turn of the century (looks like a driveway). The carriageway never eventuated for tourists – lucky for us the trail remains in a lovely natural state and no cars can drive to the summit.


Have a good look around on this part of the trail and take your time.


There are beautiful ferns, flowers, fungus, lizards and lots of bird life including the cheeky lyrebird which has a very distinctive call – see if you can name all the birdcalls in its repertoire, my personal favourite is the Eastern Whipbird!


Soon you’ll pass a beautiful big boulder that creates a little cave, a favourite for the kids and a place I’m very drawn to due to its stunning beauty of vines and mosses clinging to this ancient crag.

Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk Bushwalks


From this point you will start to see glimpses of the views south towards Dapto and the escarpment.


Yes! Your hard yards are beginning to pay off!


Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk Group Bushwalks


A change in scenery


As you continue up and up, the bush changes to a gorgeous Casuarina forest.



The trail becomes a little harder to follow as it gets rockier but keep your eye out for some yellow arrows on the trees that easily lead the way.


This is my favourite section of the trail with views back towards the escarpment and beautiful wildflowers about.



The breeze often greets you here, really instilling that sense of height and a welcome relief from the sweat on your brow.


Enjoy the stairs which take you closer and closer to the summit.


Once you reach the top of the metal staircase you can take a little breather, the hard work is now all done!


Continue along the well-trodden path.



In autumn, you’ll find the most amazing mushrooms on this walk – none edible so hands [and mouths!] off.


A personal favourite is the beautiful Ghost Fungus which have a natural bioluminescence – yes they glow in the dark!


Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk Flora and Fauna


Continuing along to the summit, the view overlooks a large rock platform and you can enjoy wonderful views of Lake Illawarra and further south.


Stop and enjoy – that was a good effort getting up those stairs and trail!


Admire some amazing Illawarra icons and ocean views – ahhh, what a wonderful place we live in!


Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk Views Lookout


Once you’re ready to head back, continue on the trail and then log yourself in the guest book.


Be awesome and leave an inspirational message for the next walker!


The book is in a metal casing and is right on the trail.


Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk Visitors Book


The trail loops back onto itself and continues on the same path.


The downhill is a lovely walk back, as you relax into the descent, and notice many more things that you didn’t see on the way up if you were too busy puffing and panting… um, like I usually am!


Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk Medium Fitness Level


Why should locals do this walk?


What a treasure this track is for locals and visitors alike!


An escarpment trail that meanders through various diversity of habitats and landscapes highlighting an abundance of fungus, wildflowers and fauna and of course those views are next level [literally!].


This track is great fun for younger and older families, all ages and anyone who has average fitness and agility.


Look, it is steep and rocky in sections but taking your time even the unfit could take this on – there is no rush – but average fitness is highly recommended to get the most out of the walk.


Take it on as a fitness challenge or enjoy the time to explore a true Illawarra natural treasure.


Explore Mount Kembla Summit Walk View across Port Kembla


We love sharing our awesome outdoor adventures with The Fold readers and want to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy when giving our walks and rides a crack for themselves. So, always check the weather forecast before you venture out. If you’re heading into a National Park, be sure to consult the National Parks website for up-to-date information about current alerts. Prepare yourself with the right equipment, clothing, safety items, with plenty to eat and drink if you’re going on longer hikes, and always let someone else know where you’re going and what time you are expected to be back. Have fun and stay safe!

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