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Royal National Park

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Learn more about why this park is special

Royal National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

Home to the feathered and furry

A flower blooming,  Royal National Park. Photo: John Spencer

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.

  • Couranga walking track Vivid wildflowers pepper this medium walking track near Waterfall. Only an hour from Sydney, it offers several picnic spots and birdwatching opportunities.
  • Forest path Forest path is an easy walk in Royal National Park. It's great for kids and just 1 hour south of Sydney. Wander through cabbage tree palms and Gymea lilies on the path beside Bola Creek and the Hackin...
  • Wet and Dry Environments - Bonnie Vale This excursion in Royal National Park is for Stage 1 (Years 1-2) students and focuses on HSIE as a KLA. Explore both freshwater and saltwater environments, and the dry forests of the coastal woodlands...
  • WilderQuest WildThings Come on a WilderQuest WildThings excursion to explore the bushland along the beautiful Hacking River. Designed for Stage 1 students and focusing on Science and Technology, investigate the living world...
  • WilderQuest WildTracker Come on a WilderQuest WildTracker excursion designed for Stage 2 students focusing on science and technology. Carry out investigations to explore the living world in this part of Royal National Park.

A place to get active

Coastal walk, Royal National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

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). 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.

  • Bundeena Drive to Marley walk This rewarding walk from Bundeena Drive to Little Marley Beach leads through heath, past fresh water pools and creeks, and on to scenic beach views in Royal National Park.
  • Garie Beach picnic area A perfect day out, Garie Beach is a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic and is great for swimming, whale watching, fishing, surfing and walking options.

What we're doing for Visitor facilities and experiences in this park

Exceptional environments

Rocky cliffs dropping off into the ocean, Royal National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

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.

  • Curra Moors loop track A challenging walk through heath and waterfalls, the Curra Moors loop track offers scenic sandstone cliff and coastal views, waterfalls and great birdwatching.
  • Palm Jungle loop track A challenging yet spectacular walk, Palm Jungle loop track takes in rainforest, cliff tops, beaches and scenic coastal views in Royal National Park, near Otford.
  • The Coast track The Coast track in Sydney's Royal National Park is an epic multi-day walk between Bundeena and Otford. Enjoy incredible coastal lookouts, swimming spots, seasonal wildflowers and whale watching along ...

A date with history

Audley Visitor Centre, Royal National Park. Photo: Andy Richards

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.

  • Couranga walking track Vivid wildflowers pepper this medium walking track near Waterfall. Only an hour from Sydney, it offers several picnic spots and birdwatching opportunities.
  • Lady Carrington Drive This historic cycling track near Audley and a short drive from Sydney follows the river and offers birdwatching, pretty picnic areas and history to explore.

What we're doing for Historic heritage in this park

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Australian pelican. Photo: Rob Cleary

    Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

    The curious pelican is Australia’s largest flying bird and has the longest bill of any bird in the world. These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands.

Plants

  • Waratah. Photo: Barry Collier

    Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

    The beautiful waratah is not only the NSW floral emblem, it's also one of the best-known Australian native plants. This iconic Australian bush flower can be found on sandstone ridges around Sydney, in nearby mountain ranges and on the NSW South Coast. The waratah has a vibrant crimson flowerhead, measuring up to 15cm across, and blossoms in spring.

  • Cabbage tree palm, Budderoo National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Cabbage palm (Livistona australis)

    With glossy green leaves spanning 3-4m in length and a trunk reaching a height of up to 30m, the cabbage tree palm, or fan palm, is one of the tallest Australian native plants. Thriving in rainforest margins along the east coast of NSW, in summer this giant palm produces striking spikes of cream flowers which resemble cabbages.

  • Gymea lily. Photo: Simone Cottrell

    Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa)

    The magnificent Gymea lily is one of the most unusual Australian native plants, found only along the coast and surrounding bushland of the Sydney Basin, from Newcastle to Wollongong. In spring this giant lily shoots out spectacular red flowers that can reach heights of 2-4m.

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

    An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

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