Friday, 3 January 2014

Upper Burnum Burnum Sanctuary - Sutherland

Burnum Burnum Sanctuary is a small bush reserve on the edges of Sutherland and Bonnet Bay in the Sutherland Shire. It has some very lovely trails and dogs are allowed as long as they are on leash.

The trails all inter-connect and there are several access points, shown in the map as blue dots. One from Coolgardie Pl, one at Tyler Pl (not on map), one off Tudor Rd, and one from the southern end of the playground and picnic areas of Burnum Burnum Reserve in Bonnet Bay. The trail starting in Bonnet Bay goes up to the ridge and is quite steep in places. It is also very difficult to see from the top, so if attempting this one for the first time, I suggest you start at the bottom.

Blue dots show access points, blue line shows tracks that skirt the ridge perimeter.

The upper part of the reserve accessed from Sutherland or Tyler Pl in Bonnet Bay is set on a ridge top. Starting at Coolgardie Pl or Tudor Rd, you can walk around the perimeter of the ridge on the paths marked in blue. The eastern side is known as the Cliff Track. It skirts along a rocky outcrop that in parts has a 4m+ sheer drop into bushland below. This is a small, single file trail that joins the main, centre trail at both ends. At the Tudor St end, you can then walk up the main trail for a little ways and turn west onto another single file trail that is called the Eagle Rock trail. It is hard to spot, so look for a lot of small rocks on the ground leading into the bush. This track also skirts along a rocky outcrop that in parts has a 4m+ drop into bushland below, and also affords some great views of Bonnet Bay below. This track then widens out as it heads up the hill alongside the powerlines.

Kivi admiring the view from the Eagle Rock track.


The full loop takes around 35 minutes, but you can shorten it by only doing one of the rocky trails and going down the centre main trail instead of right around to the other rocky trail. If you are looking for a longer walk, you can start from Tyler Pl. This track is lower on the slope than the Eagle Rock track and joins up to the track that goes to the Woronora River in Bonnet Bay about halfway up. If you head up that track and then head left when you get to the top of the ridge, this trail will join up to the tail end of the Eagle Rock track. If you then turn right onto this track, then left onto the centre main trail a little ways up, you can walk back to Tudor Rd and along this road back to Tyler Pl. This walk takes about an hour. Starting from the bottom in Bonnet Bay and climbing the river track up to the ridge takes about 10 minutes one way if you challenge yourself, and maybe about 20 minutes if you walk more slowly.


There are some big drop offs on the rocky trails skirting the upper sanctuary. If a dog fell off they would likely be injured. Keep your dog close on leash. There are also Brown Snakes in the reserve. Be careful, especially in spring. I have only seen one snake in there and it was in July, so be aware they could be around any time of year. 

Other Dogs and Owners

This place is usually quiet and it is uncommon to see another soul. Occasionally you may meet other dog walkers, and the dogs may be on leash or off leash. It can be difficult to see them coming on the bushy trails and if passing them on small trails it can be tight and a little tense. 

Further Notes

It is quite a lovely place with some good habitat for wild animals. If you like birds, there are sometimes red robins, mistletoe birds, and Scarlet Honeyeaters. There are no wallabies or kangaroos, but there is fox activity in the reserve. The views down to the Woronora River in Bonnet Bay are impressive and there are rocks you can sit on to take it in. Particularly lovely around sunset. 

Woronora River from Eagle Rock track. 


  1. Thanks for nice article. If we want to go to Eagle rock track, what is the best way to access it?
    we are coming from sutherland train. It is possible to lose the track. Thank you

  2. The tithe track is easiest to see at the southern end. If you enter the reserve at Coolgardie Pl, follow the main track around to the left past the electricity tower. It will get smaller closer to the cliffs and then turn right. If you are ever unsure where the track goes, hug the cliff edge. Eventually it he track goes a way for the cliff and joins a larger trail that runs through the center of the reserve.