Park by the Sea

Last year about this time, I visited one of Sydney’s most accessible National Parks. It is the Royal National Park, which is about a 45 minute drive from the city. Being transportationless, I took the train there – also a 45 minute ride.

I met up with a guide from the Sydney YHA, an outdoors/social organization. No one else showed up but him and me, and he was nice enough to show me one of the more popular walks.

Some highlights of the day included seeing a blue-tongued skink (a large lizard-like creature, the sight of which is apparently not that common); the Australian national flower (also rare); a tall, moderately gushing waterfall; a swimming hole in the creek at the bottom of the trail; and a faint, grey Sydney skyline visibile in the distance beyond the ridges of the park’s hills (it looked like a strange, straight-angled ridge itself).

The 2nd oldest National Park behind Yellowstone, the Royal is south of Sydney and located on the coast. I didn’t see the coast on this first trip, but I have since been back – and let me tell you, it is amazing (I have some photos from my first trip, but unfortunately, I don’t have any costal photos. Don’t fear though, I will be going back).

There are several beaches that line the coast, and the forest provides a serene backdrop against the choppy Australian surf.

The park also offers canoe rentals that you can take down a meandering river that cuts through the park, and the park is the home of one of the few nude beaches in the Sydney area. Don’t expect any photos of that though; I’m keeping those to myself šŸ˜‰

One thing I want to do before I leave Sydney is to take one of the park’s most famous hikes, adequately called the Costal Walk. It is a 26 kilometer, two day hike that follows the coast down the entire length of the park, passing all of the cool beaches along the way.

I’m very excited to partake in one of my favorite activities, hiking, and also to have the opportunity to take a break and relax on a beach or two (or three, or four).

Australia definitely offers something new to the outdoor enthusiast, and I am certainly going to soak it all up.

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