This post was originally published on A Globe Well Travelled in 2019. The content has been revised and updated with fresh information.
Whether it be a car advertisement or an Instagram post from your favourite travel photographer, you’ve probably seen images of this bridge already.
Sea Cliff Bridge is a section of the famous Grand Pacific Drive, which starts just south of Sydney and stretches down the coast of New South Wales. Built in 2005 to replace a dangerous section of road that was prone to rockfalls, the new S-shape road stretches out over the ocean and seemingly floats off the coastline as if it’s magically weightless.
Rob and I have visited Sea Cliff Bridge twice while we’ve lived in Sydney, most recently on our way down the coast for a week-long nature getaway. We were lucky to be travelling on a superbly sunny day with very little wind, so we stopped to get our drone out to get video footage of this impressive structure beside the awesome waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Driving over this scenic bridge is a popular activity for tourists road tripping through this part of Australia, but you can also get there by public transport for a half-day or full-day trip from Sydney. Here’s how to get to Sea Cliff Bridge via car or train!
How to Get to Sea Cliff Bridge:
Rent a car and drive
Rob and I rented a car from a depot in the city to make our way south. The drive takes about 1-1.5 hours depending on which route you take.
There’s a gorgeous drive through Royal National Park (Australia’s first national park!) which will take you down the coast, and you’ll pass a few picnic spots beside trees and rivers along the way. Just be aware that you can’t leave the main road to drive into the park itself without a national parks day pass. There’s a ticket gate on the way in where you can purchase this.
Once you exit the national park, there are a few vista points that you can stop at to see your first glimpses of the bridge. We stopped at Otford Lookout to stretch our legs, and found that it was a pretty spot with lovely views of the coastline. The bridge was visible in the distance, and we could see people with hang gliders soaring over the cliffs nearby. I also spotted a few lizards there. Totally awesome.
The next vista point is Stanwell Tops, which has the best views of the bridge. This is a popular spot for road trippers, so if you’re travelling on a sunny weekend day, expect it to be quite busy. There’s usually a food van here with basic takeaway food, and you can watch the hang gliders take off from the cliff top and sail over your head.
It’s only another 10 minutes drive down the hill before you arrive at the bridge. There is parking along the side of the road both before and after. Definitely stop and get out so that you can walk across! The bridge is 500 metres (0.3 miles) long and takes about 10-15 minutes to walk the entire length.
Take the train and walk
This is the cheapest way to see Sea Cliff Bridge. If you choose this option, make sure you take a day pack with a water bottle, some snacks or a picnic lunch, comfortable walking shoes, and a light jacket as it can get windy down there.
From Sydney, make your way to Central Station then take the South Coast Line train down to Coalcliff Station. The trains depart Central approximately every 30-60 minutes and should take around 1-1.5 hours to get to Coalcliff.
After you exit Coalcliff Station, walk downhill along the shared pedestrian/bicycle path that follows the road. It’s about a 45 minute walk between Coalcliff and the next station (Scarborough), and in between the two stations you’ll walk all the way across Sea Cliff Bridge.
For a cheap lunch, bring along some picnic food. There’s a few small park areas on either side of the bridge where you can stop to eat, and Rube Hargrave Park on the south side also has a public bathroom and a tap to fill your water bottle.
If you don’t BYO lunch, then there are options for buying food in the local township. The Scarborough Hotel is a popular spot as it has a huge beer garden overlooking the ocean. This would be a good option if you’re taking the train as it’s only a few minutes walk from Scarborough Station.
Unfortunately, Rob and I found the vegetarian options lacking at Scarborough, so we drove a few minutes further down the road to Coledale and stopped in at Earth Walker & Co for some tasty pastries and sandwiches with coffee.
Driving over Sea Cliff Bridge is a must for any Australia east coast road trip, or if you’ll just be visiting Sydney, I highly recommend a trip down the coast if you have a half-day to spare. It’s super nice to get out of the city to see some scenic parts of New South Wales!