Fancy heading to one of Australia’s most idyllic destinations?
You really can’t beat the Royal National Park, for its 150 square kilometres of gorgeous coastline, eucalyptus-scented forests and enchanting waterways.
You’ll find this absolute beauty of a park just 45 minutes south of Sydney and it’s been a holiday hotspot for the city’s residents for well over a hundred years. Made a National Park way back in 1879, it’s the second oldest National Park in the world after Yellowstone in the USA!
Nature lover? Well you’ll be in your element in this rural haven! Think surfing and hiking to soaking up ancient aboriginal rock art, and you’re just getting started.
What to do in the Royal National Park?
It’s time to walk off all those holiday treats
We get it: you’re on holiday and want to indulge in all the tasty food! If you’re starting to miss your gym workouts or that twice-weekly 5km run though, a hike in the Royal National Park might be right up your street.
You’ll find plenty of walking trails to tackle throughout the region, but the most popular has to be the Coast Track. And it’s a big one! The picturesque clifftop route starts in Bundeena and stretches out for over 26km. Got a few days to spare? You’d need a couple of days (and some camping gear) to complete the whole thing, although you can also do a shorter trek to Marley Beach and back in under three hours.
Prefer to stay in the shade? The Forest Path near Hacking River is a short, but sweet 4.4km loop which takes you through leafy terrain that’s rich in native eucalyptus and casuarinas trees.
You get excited over 1000-year-old art
Think the wilderness seems like a strange place to get your art fix? Well we’re definitely not talking about portraits hanging up in a gallery, that’s for sure!
But the Royal National Park is packed with art that dates back thousands of years and comes in the form of the Jibbon Aboriginal Carvings.
You’ll discover the Jibbon carvings just north of Jibbon Beach and they can only be accessed by foot along the Jibbon Loop Track. Once there, you’ll be able to admire the engravings from a series of raised walkways. Look out for key figures on the rocks’ surfaces, including silhouettes of kangaroos and orca whales. It’s pretty spectacular and well worth it.
It’s time to make your ex jealous with your new spiced up Instagram profile
To say the Royal National Park is photogenic would be a massive understatement! The reserve is brimming with beautiful scenery which won’t need any editing to make it onto your Instagram feed.
As well as snapping some great shots of Wedding Cake Rocks – an Instagram-famous stack of white rocks found about a quarter of the way along the Coast Track – you could also fill up your camera roll with images of Curracurrong Falls.
Keen to go chasing this hidden gem? It’s a bit of a hike up to Curracurrong from Wattamolla Beach to reach it. Once there though, you’ll be rewarded by awesome vistas of the cascades which tumble directly into the ocean. Wow!
Work on your tan and catch a wave with an interesting local
Beach day calling out your name? Well, the Royal National Park is teeming with tranquil spots where you can soak up some vitamin D. It is Australia after all.
Marley Beach is a fantastic all-rounder which boasts golden sand dunes, warm lagoon waters, crashing waves perfect for boogie boarding AND a network of rockpools filled with marine critters. Fancy a bit of peace and quiet? Marley Beach is a little more secluded than popular Wattamolla Beach, meaning you’ll be able to stretch out and make those sand angels without anyone really noticing.
And it wouldn’t be Australia without the chance of catching a wave would it? Like so much of Oz’s coastline, the Royal National Park is no stranger to beaches with brilliant breaks. Fancy being joined on your board by one of the locals? Garie Beach is a local surf haunt and it’s even got a population of seals who have been known to climb on surfer’s boards as they wait for a good wave to arrive!
Tick off a bucket list activity and have a whale of a time
Always wanted to go whale watching? The Royal National Park’s huge coastline is a hotspot for these gentle giants. The best time to go is between May and September when thousands of migrating whales make their return journey back south to Antarctica.
The Coast Track is a prime viewing point for whales due to its uninterrupted vistas of the Pacific Ocean. You also have the option of setting out on a whale watching tour from Cronulla – a beach suburb of Sydney that’s just across the water from Bundeena. So, what about the whales? Whichever option you go for you’re most likely to see humpback whales. But you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an Orca, a Minke or a Southern Right whale! Now that would be a good day whale watching!
Getting to the Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is an easy 45 minute drive south from Sydney’s Central Business District. To reach its northern edge, you’ll want to head south through Surry Hills on the M1 and then join onto the A1 at Endeavour Bridge.
Simply follow the A1 all the way down to Loftus before turning off on Farnell Avenue towards Audley. You can then carry on to Bundeena to jump on the Coast Track and visit Marley Beach, or cruise down Sir Bertram Stevens Drive for Wattamolla and Garie Beach.
Why not immerse yourself in even more amazing Australian scenery with our guides to scenic spots just beyond the country’s biggest cities? You can journey to paradise on Phillip Island just south of Melbourne, check out the best beaches in and around Perth, or sample some top Australian vino in Sydney’s lush Hunter Valley. The choice us up to you!