Royal National Park is Australia’s oldest national park, and is the 2nd oldest national park in the world behind Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Royal National Park was gazetted on 26 April 1879. The park covers over 150 square km and encompasses 3 settlements, bushwalks, trails, a campsite, lagoons, coastal trails, and beaches along the coast of the Tasman Sea. It is easily accessible and a popular holiday destination for visitors and locals alike. There is much to do in the park including over 100 km of walking trails, beaches, surfing, cycling, picnicking, camping, and more.
Wedding Cake Rock Photo Credit: nationalparks.nsw.gov.au
Getting to Royal National Park
Photo Credit: Google Maps
Royal National Park is located in New South Wales 29 kilometres south of Sydney and about 40 kilometres north or Wollongong. There are many car rental locations in and around Sydney, if you hire a car, it is very easy to drive to Royal National Park and you can see the sights at your own leisure, stay as long as you like. If you are further south, you can also hire a car in Wollongong, and drive about 30 minutes north to Royal National Park. Just remember that if you are driving in a city you are unfamiliar with, you can always ask your car rental agent for driving tips, maps, and advice. Let the car rental location know where you plan on driving to so that they can give you the best information and let you know about any driving restrictions that might be in place in the city or region you are exploring.
Things to do in Royal National Park
Stream by Lady Carrington Drive Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Learn About the Animals
Laughing Kookaburra Photo Credit: Wikipedia
If bird watching is your hobby, then be prepared to look for a large variety of birds that frequent this habitat including the Laughing Kookaburra pictured above as well as Golden Whistlers, Easter Whipbirds, Willie Wagtails, Superb Fairy Wrens, and White-browed Scrubwrens, among many others. Goannas and other large monitor lizards can be found near Audley. Also, be on the lookout for Brown Snakes, they are not aggressive snakes, but they are poisonous and dangerous if approached or bothered. If you would rather animals of the furry variety, keep your eye out for koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, Common Echidnas, and the wild dingo. If you are looking to explore the marine life in the sea along the coast of Royal National Park and the many tidal pools just inland, you can see turtles, snails, and various fish. Be sure to obey all signs and alerts, the tidal pools can be home to the deadly blue ringed octopus, which remains camouflaged until disturbed.
Trails and Walks
Bushwalk in Royal National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
There are over 100 kilometres of trails and walks throughout Royal National Park. Different areas of the park offer much different scenery from coastal trails, to flat lands, to the forest and bush areas. Walking is not required; there is plenty of room for cyclists, horseback riders, and hikers too. The coastal views can only be accessed on foot, so you have to walk to get to see views like the one pictured below at Eagle Rock.
Eagle Rock Photo Credit: BudeenaInfo.com
Boating and Kayaking
Photo Credit: Sydney.com
Boating can be done within the park in Kangaroo Creek or the Hacking River and off the coast in the Tasman Sea. Within the park, it is fun to hire boats from the Audley Boat Shed, they aqua bikes and glide across the calm waters. Canoes, row boats, and kayaks are also available for hire. If you choose to go on a boating adventure off the coast, fishing, cruising, snorkeling, SCUBA, and glass bottom boats are all available.
Swimming at the Beaches and Lagoons
Garie Beach Photo Credit: Wikipedia
There are several different beaches to choose from if you want to relax on the beach or surf in the waves. Garie Beach is known for its waves, it is a well-known surf spot. Wattamolla Beach is also near a cove and a lagoon that is a great area for calm snorkeling, swimming, and exploring the ocean. The beach area is a good spot for shoreline fishing. The area is very relaxing and is a great spot for a picnic lunch. Werrong Beach is a naturist beach, which is another word for being a nudist beach.
Wattamolla Beach Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Visit the Neighbourhoods within Royal National Park
Burning Palms Photo Credit: Wikipedia
There are three settlements within Royal National Park: Audley, Bundeena, and Maianbar. The park also includes the neighbourhood of Burning Palms. The train line once ran through this area, and the settlements and neighbourhoods have remained since they were present before the area was formally proclaimed as a national park. These settlements and neighbourhoods mean that residents have a beautiful backyard and visitors have access to bed and breakfasts and other accommodations if you choose to stay in the park other than camping at the campgrounds.
Bundeena Photo Credit: Wikipedia