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Royal National Park

Important information

Alerts for Royal National Park: closed areas

Details

Updated: 11/07/2014 01:33 PM

“Hiking along the Coastal walk in the Royal, and looking at the dramatic cliffs of this amazing national park, is one of the best ways to experience Sydney.”

Sydney’s heritage-listed Royal National Park is affectionately known to locals as the ‘Nasho’ or just ‘the Royal’. Established in 1879, it’s the world's second-oldest national park. It features unique heritage attractions, along with fascinating plants, birds and animals. Perfect for bushwalking, cycling, surfing, picnicking or whale watching, this diverse park offers everything from beaches to rainforest.

Located near Cronulla within an hour’s drive from both the Sydney CBD and Wollongong, the 16,000ha Royal National Park is like a big beautiful backyard. Whether you come for a morning jog or a week-long camping holiday, you’ll discover something new each time.

Highlights
 

Why you should visit

Royal National Park is a special place, here are just some of the reasons why:

So easy to get to 
Located at Audley, just 32km from Sydney city, the park offers incredible beauty and natural diversity just minutes from the highway and train station. Spanning Port Hacking to Helensburgh, the park features multiple entry points and is well signposted, though it’s always a good idea to take a Royal National Park map.

A date with history 
When exploring Royal National Park you can see a range of Aboriginal sites and artefacts. The best way to find out more about Aboriginal cultural heritage in the park is on a tour with an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger. You might also spot one of the 80 historic remnants from the park’s Victorian-era establishment, including ornamental trees and residential remains.

Home to the feathered and furry 
Many visitors regularly spot native wildlife in the Hacking River Valley area, so keep an eye out for possums, sugar gliders and wallabies. This Sydney park is also home to a huge number of bats, amphibians and reptiles. Plus, birdwatchers are in luck – over 300 bird species have been recorded here, look out for sulphur-crested cockatoos, crimson rosellas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets.

A place to get active 
Who needs a gym? At Royal National Park you can hike, swim and row to your heart’s content. Hire a paddleboat from the Audley boatshed or surf the renowned Garie Beach. Jog along sandstone cliffs, attempt over 100km of walking tracks or try mountain biking the East Heathcote trails (be sure to note the ‘no sign–no ride’ policy).

Exceptional environments 
The park was one of Australia’s first areas of land set aside for conservation. In this natural haven, open ocean, sandstone cliffs and wetlands meet grassy woodland, rainforests, coastal heathland and eucalypt forests. You’ll also find some significant geological sites, including fascinating beach ridges at Cabbage Tree Basin.

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Alerts

closed areas

Jibbon Engraving Site closed for protection works (Ends Thursday 31 July)

Jibbon Aboriginal Rock Engraving site is temporarily closed for site protection works. The engravings site will reopen 31 July 2014. The surrounding walking tracks remain open.
Pool Flat is closed due to construction activities - Pool Flat picnic area
The Pool Flat area at Audley will be partially closed to visitors from Wednesday 26th March until Friday 30th May due to the construction and installation of a pontoon and jetty. Land and water access will be restricted around the works site, pedestrian access will still be available in some areas including to the provided picnic tables and toilets. For more information please contact the local NPWS office on (02) 9542 0632.

Getting there

 Car

From Sydney:

  • Royal National Park's main entry points are along the Princes Highway
  • Turn off the highway at either Farnell Avenue, just south of Loftus, or at McKell Avenue at Waterfall

From Wollongong:

  • You can reach the park along the Princes Highway, or via Otford, north of Stanwell Park.

For up to date traffic information we recommend people visit www.livetraffic.com.

Get driving directions

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 Opening times

Royal National National Park is open 7am to 8.30pm but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

 Fees

Vehicle entry fees

In this park, vehicle entry fees are $11 per vehicle per day.

 Close to

Royal National Park is close to:

  • Cronulla (1km by ferry)
  • Sutherland (2km)
  • Parramatta (30km)
  • Sydney (32km)
  • Wollongong (40km)

 Public transport

For information about public transport options, visit the NSW transport info website.

 Bike

Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

Weather and climate

 Visiting through the seasons

Royal National Park covers a wide range of landscapes, from open grassland to ocean-fronting clifftops. It’s a good idea to pack clothing suitable for all weather conditions – along with water, sunscreen and a map – on your visit.

Royal National Park shines in all seasons, though summer and winter each offer a few special attractions:

Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)

  • Visit the majestic Garie Beach to surf or just relax. The beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers in summer. Plus, the panorama from Garie North Head is just amazing, so be sure to take your camera.
  • The beach at Bundeena’s Bonnie Vale is a great swimming spot, as are Jibbon, Wattamolla and Little Marley beaches. If a freshwater swim is more your thing, try Karloo Pool, Deer Pool or Curracurrang.
  • The summer holiday information has important tips to help you plan your day to Royal National Park during the busy holiday period.

Winter (Jun, Jul, Aug)

  • Winter is a great time to tackle the popular Coast track from Bundeena to Otford. Not only will you be greeted by spectacular coastal scenery, you can also see whales from the cliffs (June to August). Complete the walk in small sections or undertake the entire 26km over two days.
  • Plan a visit during spring to admire the stunning heathland wildflowers on display. Head along the Coast track or the Curra Moors Loop track or walk to Wises track to see them in bloom.

 Temperature

Summer 

  • The average temperature ranges between 16°C and 27°C
  • The area’s highest recorded temperature is 42°C (1977)

Winter

  • The average temperature ranges between 6°C and 17°C
  • The area’s lowest recorded temperature is -0.6°C (1968)

 Rainfall

  • The wettest month on average is March
  • The area's highest recorded rainfall is 254.5mm in one day

Safety

To help you enjoy your visit please plan ahead and consider the following:

  • Roads in the Royal National Park are busy on major days as visitors arrive. Traffic delays should be expected on weekends and public holidays during summer. For up to date traffic information we recommend people go to www.livetraffic.com.
  • The amount of parking available in the park is limited and on busy days there may be no place to park. We encourage people to follow us on Twitter @ROYALbusy as we’ll tweet regular updates on how full the park is throughout busy days and report on any traffic control measures if/when they are applied.

Contacts

Royal National Park Area Office

Phone: 02 9542 0632
Street address: 159 Farnell Avenue, Royal National Park, NSW
Opening hours: 9:00am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday (closed public holidays)


Royal National Park visitor centre

Phone: 02 9542 0648
Street address: 2 Lady Carrington Drive, Audley, Royal National Park, NSW
Opening hours: 8:30am-4:30pm, 7 days (closed Christmas Day)

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Wedding Cake Rock, Royal National Park. Photo: David Finnegan