Sydney city skyline lit up during Vivid Sydney 2013. Credit: Destination NSW; James Horan
Royal National Park
This heritage-listed national park spans 16,000 hectares from the coastline to the spectacular Hacking River. Boasting a great range walking tracks that wind from an hour to a week, this is an ideal spot for all ages to walk or hike while taking in some breathtaking scenery.
Established in 1879, the Royal National Park park is located just outside of Cronulla, about an hour’s drive from both Sydney’s CBD and Wollongong. Experience the expanse of bush, beaches and waterfalls at one of the world’s oldest national parks.
There are several scenic walking trails that weave through the diverse landscape, including the Bungoona lookout and path and Marley walk, both of which offer fantastic views across the Hacking River and eucalyptus bushland. The Coast Track is a 26km, multi-day walking experience running from Bundeena to Otford with several campgrounds along the way. From Governor Game lookout, visitors can view the humpback whales during migration season between May - November or even catch a glimpse of one of the many bird species, such as ospreys and sea eagles that frequent the area.
Take a dip at Garie Beach by following the Little Marley trail to Deer Pool before settling in at the Currawong Flat picnic area for a barbecue and a bite to eat. The popular picnic area at Wattamolla is an ideal place to stop for lunch or to base yourself as you explore the rest of the park. The calm waters of the lagoon are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and fishing, while bird watchers can spot some local sea eagles and oystercatchers.
Whether you’re mountain biking along the Loftus loop trail or taking part in the Jibbon Aboriginal guided walk, visiting for a day or a week, Royal National Park offers plenty of opportunities to take in the diverse bush-to-beach landscape at your own pace.
There’s a variety of trails to keep you moving through this beautiful national park, including the Karloo walking track, Bundeena to Otford walk, Uloola walking track and Werrong Beach track. Each trail caters to a range of interests and fitness levels and can span an hour or a week.
The Royal National Park is home to a variety of picnic spots, barbecue areas and lookouts from which to stop and have a bite. The Warumbul picnic area is a secluded location that opens onto the South West Arm of the park. Garie Beach and Wattamolla picnic areas also offer a welcome pit stop.
Bonnie Vale is a facilitated campsite boasting tent, trailer and caravan options while the campgrounds at North Era and Uloola Falls overlook the beach. Hilltop and Weemalah cottages offer accommodation for up to eight people with a few of your favourite trappings from home.