Before this year, I had only been to the Royal National Park once, and that was for leadership training in 2010.
Little did I know, the Royal National Park is a marvellous place that you can visit multiple times and never get bored. We are so lucky to have this natural beauty right in Sydney. Whether you are visiting for the day or a week, the Royal National Park has something for everyone. Here is where I went during my one-day visit.
Audley Visitor Centre
We reached the Royal National Park’s visitor centre just before it opened at 8:30am. We needed to purchase parking tickets as Forrest Walk (our next destination) didn’t have any ticket booths around. There is a cafe attached to the visitor centre so you can warm up with a hot chocolate or perk up with some caffeine. Whilst purchasing your parking ticket for $12, you can ask the friendly rangers about their advice of where to go, or directions. I had planned ahead and downloaded an interactive park map onto my phone through Avenza Maps. This served us well, as it worked even without internet connection.
If you aren’t in a hurry, you should take your time to stroll around Audley. It comprises of luscious greenery where you can sip your hot drinks, or you can rent a boat at the Audley Boat Shed to paddle on Audley Weir.
Before visiting Garie Beach we went on the Forrest Walk. Well, that is a bit of a lie. We walked for 1km, decided the ‘easy’ walk wasn’t easy enough for us, then turned back and drove to Garie Beach. It was just as well, as Garie Beach (along with other popular spots) fills up quickly, and once the carpark is at capacity, the park rangers don’t allow entry.
Garie Beach is one of eleven beaches within the Royal National Park. You can access toilets, a surf safety centre, a kiosk, and a picnic area at Garie Beach, so bring along some food and make a day out of it! We brought along our picnic basket and beach towels, and after we munched on some quiche and salad I spent a good couple of hours laying in the sand, reading the latest Stephen King book and soaking up the sunshine.
Garie Beach is very peaceful, and with limited mobile reception you will be able to live in the moment while you are there.
Governor Game Lookout
Once we departed Garie Beach we headed up the road to Governor Game Lookout. This scenic lookout offers a phenomenal view over the coast and heathlands, and is said to be a great place for whale watching during the migratory season. Although you probably won’t spend long here, it is a great spot to breath in the fresh air and take some scenic photos.
We arrived at Wattamolla Beach in the afternoon and struggled to find parking. I imagine that in Summer the carpark reaches maximum capacity in the morning, so plan ahead! Wattamolla is unique in that it is a beach AND a lagoon. It also has a small waterfall where the brave jumped off.
To get from the parking area to the beach you need to travel across the shallow waters, carrying your possessions in waterproof bags (unless that is, you are confident you won’t slip). As beautiful as it is, I got the impression that Wattamolla Beach is more of a ‘party beach’, targeted at young people as opposed to families. So, if you are looking for a fun day with your friends, Wattamolla Beach is the place to go!