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The Royal National Park

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Location: 32km south of Sydney via the Princess Highway

The Royal National Park is known as Australia's oldest national park and is the second oldest in the world after the Yellowstone National Park. In 1879, it was declared a public reserve and then opened to the public in 1886.

In 1955 the park was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Sydney.

With over 15,069 hectare of luscious natural forest, the Royal National Park is a sanctuary for more than 700 species of native Australian plants and nearly 250 species of birds and marsupials. The soil in the area is mostly made out of sandstone and is considered too infertile for agricultural means which probably saved the land from human erosion.

The park is filled with beautiful wild flowers and lush rainforest can be found along the creeks and rivers. Though about 94% of the park was destroyed by bush fires in 1994, much have recovered since then but you can still see the remnants of the fire by looking closely at the charred stumps.

There are many activities to consider when you are visiting the park. Bring along a picnic basket and a good book and enjoy the peaceful scenery before you. There are camping grounds in various parts of the park. Check with the local park rangers on the regulation of fire when camping. Wood barbecue facilities are available in the Iron Bark Flat close to the Visitors Centre at Audley. If you enjoy boating, head for the Wattamolla and Bonnie Vale where boat rentals can be found.

TIP: Getting to the park would probably be easier if you drove there. Drive along the Princess Highway to the main entrance at Loftus or McKell Avenue. You can also catch the train to Engadine, Heathcote or Waterfall Station. It is possible to take a ferry there. Catch the ferry from Cronulla Station to Bundeena Wharf.

Phone: (02) 9542-0666 or phone (02) 954-0648

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