Sydney's Royal National Park

Established in 1879, Royal National Park, an hour's drive south of Sydney, is the first gazetted national park in the world and the second oldest, following Yellowstone in the USA.

Its 16,000 hectares are home to an incredibly diverse range of terrains, bordered by towering cliffs and broken by sandy inlets with panoramic ocean views. The park's valley interior is layered in pristine rainforest, home to kookaburras, cockatoos and a variety of birdlife, plus echidnas, koalas, dingos and the spotted quoll – a rare and beautiful predatory marsupial.

At Audley, the park's most popular picnic spot, you can rent a rowboat or canoe to explore the upper reaches of Hacking River. Mountain bikers and bushwalkers can enjoy more than 100 kilometres of tracks, including the adventurous two-day coastal walk from Otford to Bundeena along the northeast end of the park. You can do it on your own, or as part of a guided tour with Royal Coastal Walks that takes in waterfalls, Aboriginal carvings and heritage-listed shacks. Guided and unguided kayaking tours in the area are also popular, especially from Bundeena.

The Royal National Park's twisting, winding roads are pure driving bliss – reason enough for Prancing Horse Ferrari Drive Experiences to pass through here. But you don't need a car to get here – just take a train from town to Loftus Station, or the ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena across tranquil Gunnamatta Bay.