Forest Path, Royal National Park

Lace up your boots for an adventure in Royal National Park

There’s an incredible array of adventures to be had in the Sutherland Shire’s national parks. Renew your annual pass for access to the Royal National Park and get ready for an adventure.


Walk from Otford to Bundeena
Australia’s first national park, the Royal National Park, is affectionately known as the Nasho in the Sutherland Shire. It was declared a national park in 1879 and was the second national park to be created in the world. One of the best ways to see the park is to trace the curves of the coastline along the path from Otford to Bundeena. Secure your spot on the 30-kilometre Coastal Classic train run held in September each year.

Paddle into the park
One of the best ways to see the craggy coastal cliffs of Royal National Park is to approach it via kayak. Bundeena is one of Sydney’s top locations for a paddle and a two or three-hour paddle on a Royal Kayak Eco Tour will give you a greater appreciation of the park.  The eco-accredited business is run by a local Bundeena family who know the best bays, beaches and bushland to paddle to. 

Walk to Little Marley Beach
This rewarding walk from Bundeena Drive to Little Marley Beach leads through tracks surrounded by carpets of coastal heath. In spring you’ll see pretty wildflowers embroidered into the earth. In winter you might spot whales breaching off the coast. The 7.8-kilometre-long track takes about four hours to complete. It winds past freshwater pools and creeks and tumbles down to Little Marley Beach. 

Indulge in some forest bathing
Families should plot a course for Forest Path as it’s an easy walk for those with kids. The 4.4-kilometre-long trail starts at the stone gates on Sir Bertram Stevens Drive, which is also the entry point to Lady Carrington Drive. It’s one of the oldest walking tracks in the Royal National Park and suitable for walkers of all fitness levels. Look out for the Gymea lilies, which flower during winter, as you walk in a loop to Bola Creek lined with eucalypts, casuarinas and cabbage tree palms.

Picnic at Wattamolla
The Wattamolla picnic area is one of the most popular spots in the Sutherland Shire for swimming, snorkelling, barbecues, bushwalking, birdwatching and fishing.    Bring a lilo so the kids can splash about in the calm waters of the lagoon while you set up camp under the shade of the cabbage tree palms. Enjoy a barbecue lunch and carve your way toward the sea along the beach track. Don’t forget to leave the bush as you found it. 

Stay at Hilltop Cottage
The fact you can stay in heritage accommodation in the heart of the Royal National Park is one of the best-kept secrets in Sydney. Hilltop Cottage in Warumbul is an ideal base from which to set off on walking trails to Winifred Falls or Uloola Falls. The cottage, which has views across Port Hacking, sleeps up to six people and is ideal for families. Weemalah Cottage is another wonderful spot for a weekend away.

Get on your bike for the Loftus loop trail
Weave your way through the Royal National Park on a 10-kilometre-long mountain bike trail that loops around Loftus Oval. Experienced riders will do well to download the Cycling in Royal National Park map before tearing around Temptation Creek as there are some steep sections along the way. The diverse terrain is popular with mountain biker riders as the trails are empty of traffic.

Take a jaunt along Karloo Walking Track
You’ll pass outdoor types making their way along the Karloo walking track most weekends. The popular walking track passes buy the popular Karloo Pool, which is a popular spot for swimming and picnicking, and leads all the way to the scenic Uloola Falls. Look out for the rocky ‘whaleback’ outcrop along the walk, which leads from Heathcote Train station all the way to the falls.

Getting there: Check the timetable for Cronulla Ferries and commute in style from Gunnamatta Bay, Cronulla to Bundeena in Royal National Park. The ferry operates 7 days a week and also connects to Cronulla Train Station, which is just a short walk away. 

Eating in Cronulla: There are lot of great places to eat and drink in the Sutherland Shire. Visit Sealevel, Next Door or Bobbys for beachside dining. Hurricane’s Cronulla for its cocktails and dry-aged cuts of beef. And Queen Margherita of Savoy for pizza. Cronulla is also a top spot to enjoy a cocktail crawl.

Staying in Cronulla: From hotels, motels and apartments to B&Bs, caravan, camping and holiday parks, here are the best places to stay in the Sutherland Shire.

Written by Carla Grossetti. Carla Grossetti is a freelance food and travel writer. Follow her adventures on Instagram. Visit

Kayaking in Bundeena
Kayaking on the Port Hacking with Bundeena Kayaks
Stay at hilltop cottage in the Royal National Park
Stay at Hilltop Cottage in the Royal National Park
Ferry coming into Bundeena Wharf
Ferry coming into Bundeena Wharf

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