The Royal National Park

With Rachael’s working well outside of Sydney, she has been fortunate to receive a company car – a very sporty looking white Kia Cerato Sedan.

While making her commutes considerably easier, this has also meant we have been able to do lots of exploring outside of the city, without having to rely on the public transport network. With a ton of things to see and do within a two hour drive of Sydney, we have been trying to join the crowds heading out of the city at least one day every weekend.

One of the most popular weekend getaways for Sydneysiders is the Royal National Park, which is located just 29km south of the CBD. The Park was founded in 1879, and is the second oldest in the world (after Yellowstone). We made the short journey from Glebe and spent a day exploring the vast and beautiful park.

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After paying the (very reasonable) $12 (£7.50) entrance fee, we began our tour with a quick stop at the visitor centre in Audley. Despite being early, it was already busy with lots of people getting their morning caffeine fix from the Audley Dance Hall Cafe.

We grabbed a map, and decided to start with a few of the Park’s lookouts. First up was the Bungoona Lookout, near to the entrance to the Park. The viewpoint is just a short walk from the carpark, and provides a excellent view of Hacking River, while giving a  great perspective of the size of the park.

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Next, and even more impressive, was the Governor Game Lookout, which is a further 20 minute drive into the park. Again there was limited walking required, and the coastal views were breathtaking, with the white sands of Garie Beach just below us.

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Keen to get out of the car for longer by this point, we continued down to the busy Garie Beach, one of the Park’s eleven beaches, and especially popular with surfers.

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After a relaxing walk along the beach, we decided to pick up the Park’s epic coastal track and follow a section of it along the coastline. The 26km one-way trail stretches almost the entire length of the Park from Bundeena in the north down to Otford. We headed north along the track, starting with a steep climb up to the clifftop, and with frequent stops to admire the views back to the beach behind us.

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Despite being close to the coast, much of the path was along narrow paths and through thick bushland, with only occasional glimpses of the ocean. However the glimpses were always worth the wait.

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We walked as far as the popular Eagle Rock formation, where we found a spot on the rocks and stopped for some lunch overlooking the ocean. With our energy levels restored we made our way back along the trail to the Garie Beach.

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After a long day of exploring, we made one final stop on our drive out of the park. We arrived back at the visitor centre in Audley just in time for our customary coffee and cake while watching the sunset, before making our way back to Sydney.

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