Royal National Park

Rocks on Shelly Beach

Rocks on Shelly Beach

About a month ago, Amy and I decided to go on a spontaneous visit to The Royal National Park, which is just under an hour south of Sydney.  Since we arrived after lunchtime, we decided to focus on the Northern part of the park near Bundeena since we knew we wouldn't have enough time to do a proper loop.

The park itself is huge and there are lots of different ways to approach visiting it from camping to hiking or just staying put on the beach and swimming. Since whales are migrating this time of year, we were most interested in walking along the coast to do some whale watching and of course taking in a little bird watching as well. I should mention that the park and coastline is stunning, but if you do go wear boots since much of it is under shade and can stay wet longer than you would expect. We went on a sunny afternoon a few days after a rainstorm and were surprised by how much water was on the ground and how muddy the trails were. Nonetheless we had a great time.

Rocks, Amy walking on rock formations and Dharawal Aboriginal engravings

Rocks, Amy walking on rock formations and Dharawal Aboriginal engravings

Perhaps the most surprising discovery on our spontaneous day trip was stumbling upon the Jibbons Headland Aboriginal engravings. These carvings are over 2,000 years old and depict a whale, stingray, turtle and kangaroo. They are very well preserved and a viewing platform has been installed over them to protect them and give the viewer a better vantage point.

It's hard to think of what Australia might have been like 2,000 years ago when the Dharawal People would have made these engravings. Actually, it's hard to even really imagine that span of time. In some ways, though, when you're in the forest without a single person in site and no modern sounds or sites it's becomes possible to at least feel like you might have a small inkling.

An interesting tidbit I learned about the park is that it was the world's 2nd ever National Park (Yosemite was the first), but that it was the first park ever to use 'National Park' in its name. It can easily be surmised that this enormous park would certainly be housing developments or shopping centres were it not preserved given that its so close to the city. Since Amy and I are deeply passionate about conservation and the environment knowing this park's place in history enhanced our experience there.

Water, shells, Pied Cormorant and bright orange mushrooms

Water, shells, Pied Cormorant and bright orange mushrooms

We were very inspired by our trip to the Royal National Forest and it sparked a series of new drawings that were currently working on. We'll post more about the project when it's done with photos.

In the meantime, thanks for reading our post :)

Cheers,
Stephanie + Amy