From hidden tunnels to underwater nature trails — Sydney offers a striking array of natural wonders that you’ll be hardpressed to find anywhere else in the world. Among its many extraordinary places and historical sites is the heritage-listed Royal National Park, a pristine coastal bushland filled with limitless outdoor adventures. It’s also one of the world’s oldest national parks and the first in the world to have “National Park” as part of its name — behind only the Bogd Khan Uul National Park in Mongolia and the USA’s Yellowstone National Park.
The park spans over 15,000 hectares and while the sheer size of it might seem daunting, it’s an incredible spot to visit less than an hour’s drive from Sydney. Rainforests, waterfalls, beaches, wildlife and plenty of gorgeous wilderness abound in this wonderful part of NSW. Whether you’re looking to get away from everything for a spell or hoping to get one with nature, this storied part of the country is a bucket-list experience you can’t miss.
Royal National Park, NSW
Australia’s first and oldest national park was created on April 26, 1879, and was initially only called “National Park”. It was later named the Royal National Park following the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. Australia now has over 500 national parks around the country including one in each of the states.
At just under an hour’s drive from Sydney CBD, many locals naturally treat it as an extended part of the city and an ideal weekend getaway. And with myriad opportunities for whale watching, snorkelling, coastal hikes and more, the park gets plenty of love from locals all year round.
The best way to explore the expansive space is through one of the many walking trails that include the famous Figure 8 Pools walk, Bundeena to the iconic Wedding Cake Rock and The Coast Track which would need at least 2 days to cover to enjoy in its full glory.
If you’re hiking averse, the park also offers excellent options for picnics plus guided walks and hiking tours to nudge you in the right direction. If you’re planning a visit, the park is also home to some of Sydney’s prettiest beaches including Wattamolla, Garie and Burning Palms.
How to get to the Royal National Park
There are many different ways to get to the Royal National Park. If you’re taking the train, hop on the Illawarra Line or take a ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena. You can also opt to take a tram from the Sydney Tramway Museum in Loftus.
By car, the Royal National Park takes less than an hour from both the Sydney CBD and Wollongong to the south. Find further details on parking and more at the NSW National Parks website.
The special thing about the Royal National Park is that you discover something new and remarkable every time you visit. Immerse yourself in nature and discover some truly beautiful gems on your next trip out of town. Head here for more info.