The Royal National Park lags in age behind only one other national park in the entire world: Yellowstone. This old park, lying 20 miles (32 km) to the south of Sydney city, was established in 1879 and it today bears the honor of being on the Australian National Heritage List.
Set on nearly 40,000 acres of Australian land, people visit the Royal National Park in order to bask in nature, hike, swim, have a picnic at the many beaches, bike and canoe. Many visitors then comment on the proximity to Sydney and how they still feel a million miles away. It is for this reason that I personally recommend a visit to the “Royal” when a traveler doesn’t have much time in the country of Australia.
Attractions in the Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is known for its flora and fauna, its numerous quaint beaches, and it’s hiking and walking trails. One of the joys of a visit to the RNP would be the way it encompasses several of the environments that make up Australia. You have the scenic coastal cliffs and beaches (like Wattamolla and Garie Beach) for the beach lovers. Upon entering from the north, the land is normal bush and brush, but when you drive through further, lush rainforest-like vegetation starts to close in on the road for an experience that is more like a tropical getaway instead of a jaunt an hour from the CBD.
Around a dozen walking tracks exist in the Royal National Park, ranging from 1 hour to 2 days in estimated walking time. Perhaps the most well-known of the group is the Coast Track – the track that runs 16 miles (26 km) from Bundeena to Otford and takes around 2 days to complete.
Getting to the Royal National Park
From Sydney, the most convenient way to get to the Royal National Park is by car. The park is located near the Sutherland Shire 20 miles to the south of the city. This method is preferred because driving through the Royal National Park will lead travelers to another spectacular attraction: The Grand Pacific Drive.
Otherwise, a ferry can get you in the park. Cronulla, for example, is less than a mile away by water.
Opening hours for the park run from 7am to 8:30pm.