Proximity to Sydney means lots of day-trippers visit Royal National Park, the world’s second oldest national park (after Yellowstone, USA). You can though escape the weekend and holiday throng walking The Coast Track.
Proclaimed as “National Park” in 1879, and renamed after Queen Elizabeth II’s 1954 Australia visit, Royal National Park was dedicated “for public health and recreation, convenience or enjoyment.” That dedication initially allowed, and even encouraged, clearing, cattle grazing, and the introduction of exotic plants and animals. Despite that, the park has long been somewhere that you feel immediately more relaxed than in the big smoke just across Port Hacking.
Extending 28km from Otford, in the south, to Bundeena, the public transport-accessible Coast Track hugs a masterly sculpted coastline. It traverses often-wild beaches, teeters on sandstone cliffs, and passes through heritage-listed “shack” communities founded during The Depression.
While some people knock over The Coast Track in one epic day, it is more fun and less boot-camp like as an overnight hike. The placement of the only camping area (bookings required) results in two very unequal days. You will, however, still have time to marvel at the views and the extraordinary spring-to-summer wildflowers.