One of the prides of New South Wales is the Royal National Park. The park was founded in 1879, making it the 2nd oldest national park in the world. Some even consider it the oldest since it was the first to be known as a "national park". Yellowstone in the US was originally designated as a public park. In December of 2006, Royal National Park was officially included in the Australian National Heritage List.
How to Get Here
There are several ways to reach Royal National Park. You can drive here from Sydney or Wollongong or you can reach it by ferry from Cronulla. The park is also near Sutherland and Parramatta. Another way to reach the park is via public transport. If you prefer not to travel alone, you might opt to join one of the Discovery guided tours. These are led by park specialists that can guarantee you’ll leave with a load full of information about the surrounding area.
Once you arrive at the park, one of the first places to visit is the Royal National Park Visitor Centre, especially if you’re travelling alone or with your family. You’ll be able to pick up a map of the park showing the important locations of the places you will likely visit.
After your stay at the park, you might want to visit the visitor centre again and pick up various arts and crafts as souvenirs.
If you intend to stay at the park for a few days, the first thing you’ll likely do is look for the camping grounds. Fortunately, the park has quite a number of camping grounds you can choose from, depending on which area you will frequent. The Bonnie Vale campground is one of the most popular as it is situated near a river. The camping ground is equipped toilets and showers. Drinking water is also available so you won’t need to worry about boiling water.
Electrical power is not available at the camping grounds so it is best if you bring gas or liquid fuel stoves or lighting equipment. Firewood is not provided and collecting them from the bush is prohibited. There are certain areas where lighting firewood is allowed, but you need to completely extinguish the fire when you’re done.
Once you’ve setup your camp, you’re ready to do some activities. Depending on which camping ground you chose, you’ll likely go to the nearest activity. Some places offer swimming, snorkeling, diving, canoeing, fishing, and even car touring. Walking trails will take you to majestic waterfalls or areas with stunning views of nature.
One of the best ways to really get to know the area, is to become familiar with the cultural heritage. After all, the place wasn’t named a National Park for nothing. There has to be something special about the culture there which is why it earned that designation.
It is recommended that you spend some time at the Audley Room Function Centre to learn more about the culture and how the area became a national park.