The Sydney Royal National Park, located on the city’s south eastern outskirts, first opened in 1879 and is the second oldest national park in the world.
The park includes the settlements of Audley, Mainbar and Bundeena, all suburbs of Sutherland Shire Council. The suburbs of Mainbar and Bundeena are only accessible by a long road through the National Park, by private boat or the ferry from Cronulla.
There are many walks throughout the national park, the most popular being the Coast Walk, in which walkers are recommended to complete over two days. The walk continues for thirty kilometres and spans from Bundeena to Otford in the Northern Illawarra. The park is also a popular destination for cyclists, with over 100 kilometres of track for any keen cyclist.
Camping sites in the park include Bonnie Vale, North Era and Ulolla Falls. Visitors must book if they wish to use camping facilities.
The national park features a wide variety of native flora and fauna. Some of the species you’ll find in the park include:
- Many different bird species, including sulphur-crested cockatoos, crimson rosellas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, lyrebirds kookaburras and rainbow lorikeets
- 40 different reptile species and 30 species of amphibians, frogs
- Many introduced species, including feral cats, deer and foxes
There are many secluded beaches along the park’s coastline, including Werrong and Wattamolla, along with tall cliffs that offer breathtaking views, such as the famous Wedding Cake Rock. Located in the park is also the Figure 8 rockpool, known for its unique shape.
The park is also a home to a variety of magnificent waterfalls, including Wattamolla Falls, Curracurrong Falls and the National Falls.
Many sites of Aboriginal art feature throughout the park. These include a 3,000 year old Aboriginal shell midden and some art pieces which date to around 1,000 years ago.
Local Tharawal people occasionally hold tours throughout the park.
The National Park is also a great destination for educational purposes. In 1975, the Wallamurra Track was constructed for school visits. The Park also features the Audley Dance Hall, which can be used for a variety of purposes.