Heritage Beach Shacks at Little Garie Beach

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Garie Beach Royal National Park

From Wattamolla we drive on to another great spot in the Royal National Park, Garie Beach, a stretch of fine white sand which is in particular popular with the surfers. Winding down the road into the valley, we finally arrive at the big parking lot which is fringed by a futuristic and expensive looking life saving club and kiosk.

We park the car and go for a walk. Garie Beach at this time of year is a wild place, unprotected from the surf. The salt is catapulted into the wind, it filters the sunlight and creates a haze that lies heavily in the air.

Beautiful red flowers

Local beach plants

Pink flower

Mist at Garie Beach

It is late afternoon, the winter sun is low. The mighty cliffs that frame the beach cast deep shadows to both sides. We decide to follow the coastal track down south. We can make out some human built structures in the next bay and want to investigate.

Garie Beach on a sunny winter day

Rocks along Garie Beach


Above us the cliff is towering over us, to our feet a sea of stones, rocks, boulders. They come in all forms, shapes, colours, sizes. It is astonishing to see that a cliff wall like this manages to throw such a variety of rocks onto the beach. Together they create a minefield of rocks, great for adventurous kids.

Rocks and Stones

Heart shaped

Deep shadows

South of Garie Beach

Closer to the cliff the track is cleared, which makes for an easy walk. We follow the coast for a couple of meters and arrive at what is named Little Garie Beach, a little cove that is cut through by a slowly trickling stream. The structured we were able to make out from a distance turn out to be little beach shacks, each individually built and designed. Weatherboard and other make-do materials put together to create surprisingly sturdy little houses.

While not inhabited they are all well maintained, with big panorama windows, TV antennas, furniture in front of the doors. Through one of the windows you can see an elderly lady sitting at a desk, writing, maybe a famous yet reclusive author?

Little Garie Beach

Little Garie Beach

Beach heritage shacks

We return to our car. On our way home we learn that the Royal National Park is sprinkled with these little communities of shacks. Constructed before the areas had been included in the national park, and with a history that dates back to the Great Depression, these shacks are heritage listed and cannot be demolished. They are also not for sale or rent, the only way you can grab one of these little houses is by inheritance.

How beautiful it must be to have a little shack like this, right by the sea, inaccessible by car, so far removed from the busy Sydney life? I am sure many people would pay a fortune to own one of these shacks, so it’s probably good that they are not for sale. A great find on this day to the Royal National Park.

Governor Game lookout

View onto Garie Beach area

Royal National Park

Silke Elzner

AUTHOR - Silke Elzner

Hello! My name is Silke. Happiness and Things is a travelogue about amazing European destinations and beautiful places around the world. I believe that beauty is even in the smallest things and I want to inspire you to see the world differently. Read more about it here.

  • Annie E. Featonby | May 28, 2016 at 3:05

    My mother owned one of these shacks. The family name was Gould and her name was Shelia. Unfortunately and sadly for the family. it was lost to a fire in the 60’s. To this day I have photos of the family there and they were really happy times.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | May 28, 2016 at 9:06

      Hi Annie, Thanks for your comment. So sorry to hear that you lost your family shack. These are special little places and I was glad to tell their story on the blog.

  • Carole Price | Mar 10, 2017 at 19:48

    Hi Silke
    My husband’s cousin owned one of these huts and in the late 60’s through to 1975ish up to 3 families would go to Little Garie over the school holidays
    .Our husbands would help carry in all our food and supplies and leave us there for a week (to go to work)only to return the following weekend with more supplies.
    The memories we made there were wonderful . Image 9 children enjoying this unspoilt paradise.We played games, surfed, explored the surrounding bush and enjoyed the many deer that would invite themselves into the shack.
    To this day we often speak of those wonderful days of not a care in the world.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Mar 10, 2017 at 20:26

      Carole, That sounds wonderful! What a magical time this must have been. Thank you for sharing this first-hand experience with us. Cheers, Silke.

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