Gunjulla Flat picnic area

Royal National Park

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Gunjulla Flat picnic area is a lovely rest area, great for birdwatching, while on a car tour of Royal National Park, near Waterfall.

Type
Picnic areas
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply

This is a beautiful spot for a quick bite to eat or a stretch of the legs before exploring Australia’s oldest national park, near Waterfall. Gunjulla Flat picnic area, on the western edge of Royal National Park, is a quick and easy pit stop on a day trip or car tour of the park.

Pull up and lay out a picnic spread on one of the tables and enjoy a rustic bush setting. It’s an ideal spot for a breather while road cycling around the park, or a great place if prepping your gear for a day exploring the hinterland. It’s only a short drive along McKell Avenue to Couranga walking track or Forest path.

The surrounding heath attracts birds such as fantail cuckoos, pigeons and quails. In the spring, when the heath erupts with wildflowers, you might see honey eaters and wattlebirds feeding on the banksias. Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


Map legend

Map legend

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/picnic-areas/gunjulla-flat-picnic-area/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Gunjulla Flat picnic area.

Getting there and parking

Gunjulla Flat picnic area is in the Waterfall precinct of Royal National Park. To get there:

  • Turn off Princes Highway at Waterfall train station
  • Follow McKell Avenue for approximately 1.5km and follow the signs

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Gunjulla Flat picnic area.

Best times to visit

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

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

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. .

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

16°C and 27°C

Highest recorded

42°C (1977)

Winter temperature

Average

6°C and 17°C

Lowest recorded

-0.6°C (1968)

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

254.5mm

Facilities

Toilets are located at Waterfall Train Station and Garie Beach picnic area.

Toilets

Picnic tables

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Beach safety

Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

Learn more

Gunjulla Flat picnic area is in Royal National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

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.

  • Audley heritage tour Take a guided tour through the historic Audley Valley, in the heart of Royal National Park. You’ll explore heritage-listed buildings and learn how this popular day trip destination came to be.
  • 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.

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.

  • Audley boatshed Hire a kayak and spend a few relaxed hours paddling up Kangaroo Creek from Audley Boatshed in Royal National Park, near Loftus.
  • 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.
  • Bush playgroup activities in Sydney’s south Join Bush Play School for a day of creativity in Sydney’s south. Their nature play activities are a great way for kids to learn about the world around them.
  • 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.
  • Kayak tours of Bundeena and Royal National Park Paddle the waterways of Bundeena and Royal National Park on a guided kayak tour with Bundeena Kayaks. It’s an unforgettable way to explore this beautiful stretch of coastline, just an hour south of Sydney.
  • The Coast track fitness adventures for women Hike The Coast track and immerse yourself in the beauty of Royal National Park with Women’s Fitness Adventures. Enjoy coastal views and the company of a supportive group of women on this 4-day trek.
Show more

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.

  • Bundeena to Wattamolla guided coastal walks Delight your senses on this coastal adventure run by M8 Explorer. With their knowledgeable and safety-conscious guides, explore beautiful coastline on a 4hr hike in the Royal National Park, beginning and ending with stops for delicious meals.  
  • 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.
  • Figure Eight Pools adventure with M8 Explorer Awaken your inner explorer with an exciting tour of Figure Eight Pools in Royal National Park. Start with a paddle down the Hacking River before trekking down to the pools to discover amazing rock formations, wildlife and spectacular coastal scenery.
  • Figure Eight Pools experience with Emu Trekkers Join award-winning Emu Trekkers to safely visit Figure Eight Pools in Royal National Park, near Sydney. You’ll experience stunning views, learn about local Aboriginal culture and sample an iconic trek, The Coast track.
  • Guided forest therapy walk in Royal National Park Slow down and de-stress in Sydney’s beautiful Royal National Park on this guided forest therapy walk with Nature Being Australia.
  • 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.
  • Places are similar and different Explore the features of different places and environments on this Stage 2 (Years 3-4) geography excursion with Ranger Jamie Tours. Observe the variations between bushland, sand and sea in the pristine coastal surrounds of Royal National Park.
  • Private premium day tours on the South Coast Indulge your senses on a big day out with Sydney Private Guided Tours. You’ll visit stunning lookouts, see beautiful wildlife and rainforest, and experience iconic coastal scenery.
  • Tailored tours of Royal National Park Join Sydney Nimble Tours for your own private day out in the Royal National Park. From pristine beaches to sweeping coastal vistas, these tailored experiences are a great way to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature.  
  • 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 this challenging 26km track.
  • The Coast track fitness adventures for women Hike The Coast track and immerse yourself in the beauty of Royal National Park with Women’s Fitness Adventures. Enjoy coastal views and the company of a supportive group of women on this 4-day trek.
  • The Coast track overnight hikes for youth Hike The Coast track in Royal National Park on an overnight trip with Ausjourney. Reconnect with nature and learn transferrable life skills on this trek for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.
Show more

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.

  • Biophysical interactions at Wattamolla Senior students will hone their fieldwork skills in this Stage 6 (Years 11-12) Geography excursion at Wattamolla. Located in Royal National Park, Wattamolla offers students a complex site to study biophysical interactions. 
  • Birds of Providential Point self-guided audio tour Discover native birdlife on this scenic self-guided audio tour to beautiful Providential Point in Royal National Park. You’ll walk through sun-dappled coastal forest and grassy glades as you learn about local birds and hear their calls.
  • 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.
  • Figure Eight Pools adventure with M8 Explorer Awaken your inner explorer with an exciting tour of Figure Eight Pools in Royal National Park. Start with a paddle down the Hacking River before trekking down to the pools to discover amazing rock formations, wildlife and spectacular coastal scenery.
  • Figure Eight Pools experience with Emu Trekkers Join award-winning Emu Trekkers to safely visit Figure Eight Pools in Royal National Park, near Sydney. You’ll experience stunning views, learn about local Aboriginal culture and sample an iconic trek, The Coast track.
  • 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 Hacking River.
  • Guided forest therapy walk in Royal National Park Slow down and de-stress in Sydney’s beautiful Royal National Park on this guided forest therapy walk with Nature Being Australia.
  • Junior ranger: Royal National Park Discover the Royal National Park these school holidays as a newly appointed ‘junior ranger’. This interactive guided activity is designed for children aged 6 to 14 years.
  • Kids nature discovery tour in Royal National Park Embark on an exciting treasure hunt in Royal National Park with Aussie Wild Nature Discovery. The guided nature play activity is a great way for kids to learn about the magic of the bush.
  • Little lyrebirds: Royal National Park Discover the local ecosystems of Sydney’s Ironback Flat picnic area, in Royal National Park. This interactive and engaging guided tour is great for children aged 6 and under.
  • Living world wet and dry environments Come and explore the Living World with us on this Stage 1 (Years 1-2) Science and Technology at Bonnie Vale in the Royal National Park. Students will explore both wet and dry environments and learn the importance of plant and animal habitat.
  • Living world WildTracker at Audley Join us on a WildTracker Science and Technology excursion for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students at Audley in the Royal National Park. We'll don our detective hats and investigate, explore and analyse the natural environment, identify and group species, and discover the key elements that make up quality habitat for native plants and animals.
  • Places are similar and different Explore the features of different places and environments on this Stage 2 (Years 3-4) geography excursion with Ranger Jamie Tours. Observe the variations between bushland, sand and sea in the pristine coastal surrounds of Royal National Park.
  • Private premium day tours on the South Coast Indulge your senses on a big day out with Sydney Private Guided Tours. You’ll visit stunning lookouts, see beautiful wildlife and rainforest, and experience iconic coastal scenery.
  • Tailored tours of Royal National Park Join Sydney Nimble Tours for your own private day out in the Royal National Park. From pristine beaches to sweeping coastal vistas, these tailored experiences are a great way to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature.  
  • Wattamolla to Curracurrang self-guided audio tour Take a self-guided audio tour from Wattamolla Beach to the glorious oasis of Curracurrang and discover the wildlife that call this place home. As you walk, keep your eyes peeled for the places where animals scamper, flutter and swim in this rugged landscape.
  • WildThings at Audley Discover 'wild things' on this Stage 1 (Years 1-2) science and technology excursion. We'll explore the beautiful natural environment at Audley, and examine the diverse life found there. Interacting with the living world has never been more fun.
Show more

Plants and animals protected in this park

Animals

  • Five pelicans stand at the beach shore in Bundjalung National Park as the sun rises. Photo: Nick Cubbin © DPE

    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

  • Close up photo of a waratah flower, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH.

    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 in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer/OEH

    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.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (12)