Things To Do In The Royal National Park: Sydney, Australia

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My favorite things to do in the Royal National Park, just south of Sydney, Australia.

The Royal National Park is a true gem of New South Wales.

Located directly south of Sydney, it’s easily accessible from the city and from smaller towns along the South Coast. The best way to get around is by car, so if you’re a traveler I recommend renting one.

If you really want to save money, take the train an hour south of Sydney and rent a car in Wollongong for half the price of renting in Sydney.

Once you have a car, get some comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a bathing suit (or swimmers as the Aussies call them) and you are ready to explore the Royal National Park.

If you plan on spending the whole day, also bring snacks and water, as there aren’t many places to buy food in the park.

Driving through the park is incredible, with towering eucalyptus and gum trees creating a canopy over the road.

Most hiking trails and lookout points are clearly labeled, though it can be helpful to have a GPS or to look up directions to a certain place beforehand as the internet is spotty here.

Most travelers are unsure of what to do in the Royal National Park, so I hope this article is helpful!

Though I haven’t explored the entire Royal National Park yet, I’ll briefly describe a few of my favorite spots that I recommend.

You can also check out the official Royal National Park website for more detailed information.

Things To Do In The Royal National Park of Sydney, Australia

Here are all the best things to do in the Royal National Park!

1. Admire the View from the Balconies

“The Balconies” are a long stretch of cliffs where erosion has caused the rocks to twist and curve into interesting formations.

The multiple rock layers look like little white and tan balconies resting on top of each other, all framed by the rich blue Pacific Ocean below.

Most people only pass through this area because it’s on the way to the Wedding Cake Rock, but I found this spot to have one of the most amazing views I’ve seen in NSW.

How To Get There:

To get to the Balconies, drive to the little town of Bundeena and follow signs for the Royal Coast Track. Park you car, follow the dirt trail and you’re right there!

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Jagged rocks at the Balconies, Royal National Park
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Coastal views from the Balconies

2. See the Wedding Cake Rock

After passing the Balconies, continue on the Royal Coast Track for just under an hour. The pathway is relatively flat with a few inclines here and there, but the views stay impressive the entire way.

The Wedding Cake Rock is one of the most popular things to see in the Royal National Park, but you’ll find the actual rock has been recently fenced off.

You can see how the giant, chalky white slab appears to be detaching from the cliffside, so I guess its a safety precaution to keep tons of tourists from standing on the rock in case it were to tumble down.

The fence doesn’t always stop the occasional daredevil from jumping over the fence to get a close-up shot of the magnificent rock, however.

How To Get There:

Same as with the Balconies, just further along down the Royal Coast Track track.

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The Wedding Cake Rock is a highlight of the Royal National Park.
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Close up of the Wedding Cake Rock

3. Swim and Hike at Garie Beach

Visiting Garie Beach is one of the best things to do in the Royal National Park.

It is incredibly popular among surfers, as the rippling waves can get pretty big here.

For those who don’t surf, you can head either north or south from the beach for a hiking trail that snakes up the surrounding hills and ends with spectacular views over the vibrant landscape.

How To Get There:

While driving along the winding main road in the Royal National Park, turn onto Garie Road and head down to this gorgeous beach.

There is a $12 parking fee, and if you don’t pay it you may or may not get fined, so it’s up to you if you want to risk it. If you do get a fine, it’s also just $12 though.

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Views while hiking near Garie Beach
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The hiking trail to the south of Garie Beach

4. Camp at North Era Campground

This is the perfect, peaceful, off-the-grid camping spot, with a wide grassy area surrounded by dense forest on one side and the clear, refreshing ocean on the other. It’s free to camp here, though you’ll need to park your car at Garie Beach which is $12.

The only way to reach the campground is by hiking over the massive hill, so it’s best to pack light if you can. That being said, pack plenty of food and water to last you as there are no facilities in the area.

Spend your days swimming, snorkeling, walking along the coast, exploring the forest, having campfires, and enjoying the serenity of nature.

How To Get There:

Go to the Garie Beach car park, then follow the hiking trail along the coast to the south.

After hiking over the hill that lies to the south of Garie Beach, continue on the path down the other side to find North Era Campground.

But once you arrive, camping here amongst the forest is one of the best things to do in the Royal National Park.

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Our little campsite
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The beach at North Era Campground

5. Swim in the Figure 8 Pools

Anyone wondering what to do in the Royal National Park may have already heard of the Figure 8 Pools, but not realized where they actually were. The pools are quite famous, and they are super accessible from Sydney!

But expect to share the pools with other tourists because this is probably the most Instagrammed spot in the Royal National Park.

This shockingly symmetrical natural rock pool is super refreshing to swim in, and if you go early enough there might not be any tourists!

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Figure 8 Pools

The most important thing to note when visiting the Figure 8 Pools is that you have to visit at low tide.

The pools are set in a wide rock platform with the ocean just a few meters away. Not only are the pools hidden under the ocean at high tide, but the waves can crash over the rock platform and make the area dangerous and slippery.

At low tide, however, the area is very calm.

How To Get There:

To reach the Figure 8 Pools, park at Garrawarra Farm Car Park, and follow the clearly marked signs.

The hike takes you through a pretty steep forest track, across Burning Palms beach, and over lots of rocks.

One way the hike takes about 1.5 hours, and just remember to always be careful when walking along the rocks. Here is the official website with more information!

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The rocks and cliffs surrounding the Figure 8 Pools
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The hike through the forest towards the Figure 8 Pools
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Burning Palms Beach, you have to hike across the whole thing to reach the Figure 8 Pools

6. Cliff Jump at Wattamolla Beach

This location is epic for a fun day with friends in the summertime.

A little lagoon lined with sandy beaches provides space for relaxation, and a 6-meter-high jump rock sits beside the water.

People are always jumping off the cliffs, paddleboarding in the calm water, having picnics in the spacious grounds, or exploring the nearby waterfalls.

I definitely recommend coming here on a hot day with food, music, and friends, as this is one of the most fun things to do in the Royal National Park.

How To Get There:

Drive to the Wattamolla Car Park. The jump rock is right next to it; you can’t miss it.

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View of Wattamolla Beach from the top of the jump rock

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So I hope this article answered the question of what to do in the Royal National Park, Sydney!

This is a truly beautiful spot, and there are so many fun things to do in the Royal National park that travelers should make the effort to get here while visiting Sydney.

A few other things to note before traveling to Australia:

Visas

You will need a visa to visit Australia. If you’re just visiting, apply for your tourist visa online before you go. Visit iVisa.com to get your visa online!

If you want to stay in Australia for longer and maybe get a one-year work visa, check out my Guide To Working Holiday Visas In Australia (First and Second Year).

Travel Insurance

You should always get travel insurance for a trip abroad, especially if you’ll be hiking or jumping off cliffs. You want to be covered in case of an accident!

I always recommend Squaremouth Insurance. I used them while traveling and the plan I found was so affordable. They also fully reimbursed me for my emergency medical expenses, so I had a great experience with them.

For more Australia travel inspiration, check out these articles!

12 Best Foods To Try In Australia

Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Living In Cape Tribulation, Australia

10 Reasons To Visit Melbourne

10 Amazing Things To Do In Tropical North Queensland

BEST THINGS TO DO ROYAL NATIONAL PARK SYDNEY AUSTRALIA

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