Royal National Park

One of the world’s oldest national parks is a natural sanctuary of pristine beaches, littoral rainforest and ancient Aboriginal sites, home to abundant wildlife, waterfalls and wildflowers. Nestled between Sydney and Wollongong, the heritage-listed Royal National Park provides endless opportunities to reconnect with nature and admire its beauty.

 

Bushwalking & cycling

Established in 1879, the jaw-dropping Royal National Park spans over 15,000 hectares. Many Sydneysiders treat it as an extended backyard, where they can enjoy nature at its finest. It’s popular for picnics, family days out, walking and cycling the many trails through bushland and along clifftops. There’s also great surfing, swimming holes, scenic lookouts and camping.

The best walking and cycling trails in the Royal National Park include:

  • The Coast Track, a two-day, 26km one-way hike and camping adventure
  • Bundeena Drive to Marley walk, an 8km return walk
  • Curra Moors loop track, a 10km return walk
  • Forest path, a 4.4km loop walk
  • Karloo walking track, a 10km return walk
  • Uloola walking track, 11km one-way walk
  • Couranga walking track, a 5.1km one-way walk
  • Loftus loop trail, a 10km return mountain bike trail
  • Lady Carrington Drive, a 10km one-way historic walking and cycling trail
  • Jibbon Beach loop track, 5km return walk
  • Winifred Falls Trail, 2km return walk
  • Garie Beach to Era Beach, 5km return walk
  • Wattamolla to Eagle Rock, 8km return walk

Jibbon Head, near Bundeena, is where you can see Aboriginal rock art that was engraved eons ago, including depictions of a whale and a sky spirit. Take the Jibbon Beach loop track to get a closer look.

Scenic views over Jibbon Beach in Bundeena, Sydney South

Jibbon Beach, Bundeena

The 26km Coast Track is a particular highlight, beginning in Bundeena and weaving south past Wedding Cake Rock, hidden beaches, over a sandstone escarpment and through forest to Otford, near Stanwell Park. You can explore small portions to get a taste – starting from Bundeena and walking to Little Marley Beach is a great option.

Before you begin your adventure, please read these bushwalking safety tips. There are also guided walks and hiking tours in the park. Life’s an Adventure leads a two-day Coast Track tour, while Sydney Nimble Tours offers a private guided walking experience. Bird watching is also popular, with the national park home to hundreds of species.

Bathers swimming in calm lagoon by Wattamolla beach, Royal National Park

Wattamolla Beach, Royal National Park

On the water

You can spot humpback whales from Governor Game lookout, near the North Era campground, during the migration season between May and November. Eagle Rock is another great lookout and vantage point. If you’re in luck, you might even see the majestic creatures breaching, leaping out of the water. 

Man enjoying a morning of stand up paddleboarding in Port Hacking near Bundeena Wharf, Bundeena

Stand-up paddleboarding, Bundeena

Some of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches are in the park, including Wattamolla, Garie and Burning Palms. If you want to do more than just swim, hire a rowboat or canoe from Audley Boat Shed and paddle your way across Kangaroo Creek and the Hacking River. Bundeena Kayaks offers kayaking tours into the park, or you can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore on your own.

The beautifully formed Figure Eight Pools have become Insta-famous in recent years. If you plan to visit, check the tides and ocean conditions beforehand, as the pools are inaccessible during certain times of the day. To ensure you are being safe, book a guided tour with Barefoot Downunder.

Aerial overlooking footprints along Garie Beach in Sydney's Royal National Park

Garie Beach, Royal National Park - Credit: Adam Krowitz

Getting there

The Royal National Park is near Cronulla about an hour’s drive from both the Sydney CBD and Wollongong to the south. There is a per-car entry fee to the park. You can get to the park via a car, with several sealed road entry points; a ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena; or a tram from the Sydney Tramway Museum in Loftus. For a scenic drive, the spectacular Grand Pacific Drive winds through the park.

 

Plan your trip

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Royal National Park FAQs

How far is the Royal National Park from Sydney?

How far is the Royal National Park from Sydney?

The Royal National Park is located just south of Sydney near Cronulla. It is about an hour's drive from the Sydney CBD and from Wollongong to the south.

Is the Royal National Park free?

Is the Royal National Park free?

There is a per-car entry fee to the park. There are multiple entry points and ways to get there with several roads leading in to the National Park or a scenic ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena.

What are the top attractions to visit in The Royal National Park?

What are the top attractions to visit in The Royal National Park?

The Royal National Park is one of the world's oldest National Park's with an abundance of natural beauty in one place. From pristine beaches to rainforests, ancient Aboriginal sites and native wildlife. It spans 160 square kilometres and is popular for picnics, family days out, bushwalkers, cyclists and surfers. We suggest:

  • Checking out Aboriginal rock at Jibbon Head
  • Visiting Wedding Cake Rock
  • Spotting whales from Governor Game Lookout
  • Spending the day at one of the beautiful beaches Wattamolla, Garie or Burning Palms
  • Hiring a rowboat or canoe from Audley Boatshed
What are the top walks or cycle trails in the Royal National Park?

What are the top walks or cycle trails in the Royal National Park?

The best walking and cycling trails in the Royal National Park include:

  • Bundeena Drive to Marley walk, an 8km return walk
  • The Coast Track, a two-day hike
  • Curra Moors loop track, a 10km return walk
  • Forest path, a 4.4km loop walk
  • Karloo walking track, a 10km return walk
  • Uloola walking track, 11km one-way walk
  • Loftus loop trail, a 10km return mountain bike trail
  • Lady Carrington Drive, a 10 km one-way shared track
Are there any restrictions for the Royal National Park?

Are there any restrictions for the Royal National Park?

The Royal National Park can get very busy and areas may need to be closed if they reach capacity. Try to visit outside of peak times, before 11am or after 2pm. If you arrive at an area that is overcrowded and you can’t maintain physical distancing, you will need to move to another location.