Malabar Headland National Park | 33.9545° S, 151.2591° E

The dramatic cliff tops and the rugged bushland of Malabar Headland National Park make the perfect setting for a weekend trail run that rivals the better known Royal National Park further south. Known as the Boora Point walking track, this 3.7km undulating coastal trail complete with boardwalks, gravel, sand and exposed sandstone clifftops, combine for a 3.7km undulating coastal trail that links South Maroubra beach to Malabar beach. For those wanting a longer loop, the 1km Western Escarpment trail cuts through endangered native coastal shrub and disused narrow gauge ammunition railway tracks from WWII, while offering views over the rifle range belonging to the Sydney Rifle Club - the first civil rifle club in Australia.

Opened to the public in 2018 for the first time in 100 years, the Malabar Headland National Park is an area of national significance. In 1910, the NSW Government dedicated the Headland site for military purposes in anticipation of a naval attack in Australian waters. However, it wasn’t until 1942, that a coastal defence site was built, known as the Boora Point Battery. Around this time, the Australian hospital ship AHS Centaur was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off North Stradbroke Island in Queensland and calls for stronger defense sites at strategic points along Australia’s coastline began. In response, the Battery was built equipped with an observation post, search lights, breech loading guns and extensive bunkers. Though never used in combat, the ammunition tracks that link the various defense buildings, make for an incredible off-the-beaten path run that takes you back in time.

The Headland also serves as an imaginary border between the bustling eastern suburbs beaches from Bondi to Maroubra, and the incredibly laidback lifestyle of Malabar. When you emerge from the southern section of the National Park onto Malabar beach, you can’t help but think you’ve been transported to a small surfing village on the Far South Coast, such is the cruisey, unpretentious nature of the suburb. The only cafe in the area, the Malabar Beach Cafe, is reminiscent of a pre-Instagram time when Sydney cafes were not cool - kitsch facades, limited menus and no lines - a winning combination if you ask us.

JACK recommends

Start your run at Arthur Byrne reserve at the southern end of Maroubra beach and wind your way through the 3.5 km trail Boora Point trail until you hit Malabar beach. Turn around and run the same trail back to Maroubra beach, this time finishing up at the northern end of the beach in front of the Grumpy Baker cafe. Grab yourself a refreshment and a pastry for your hard work.