Alternatively known as, The Royal or The Nasho, The Royal National Park is about 40mins drive south of Sydney. It’s the second oldest in the world and the oldest in Australia. The bush spreads from the urban edges of the Sutherland Shire southeastish to the coastline. It’s a beautiful spot with valleys, waterfalls and, therefore, creeks, rivers, bays and beaches, and rugged cliffs.
I grew up in the area and still live close by. Last weekend, we went to visit relatives in Bundeena and, because the weather turned out better than expected, decided to go for a walk out to the coast. From the back of Bundeena there’s a service road that leads into the National Park with offshoots that go out to the coast on various routes. We weren’t really prepared for serious bushwalking so we stuck to the main path and headed off toward Marley.
The morning had been coolish, but by the time we did the first stretch of walk from road to cliffs, we’d all warmed up considerably. The sun was shining, the sky mostly bright blue (if you didn’t look in the direction of the darkening clouds westward that is), and the ocean was surging. A beautiful day for walking. We wandered down to the ledges above a well-used fishing spot called The Balconies. The Balconies are the final ledge before you hit ocean. One step too far and you end up falling a goodly distance, quite wet and more than likely a little smashed up. In bad weather, The Balconies are a dangerous place to be. Getting to them isn’t overly easy either though the paths are worn around the stubby bushes by the thousands of fisherman and walkers that have climbed/slid down to the broad expanse of flat rock balcony.
Marley is along the path southward. We weren’t going the whole way (it takes around an hour or so – not sure, it’s been awhile), but it’s the only path really to take. We’d forgotten about the heavy rain a day or so ago. The path was quite muddy. We struggled around trying to keep to the “high-ground” and convenient rocky patches so our shoes wouldn’t get to wet (not prepared at all). Everything was fine until we walked around the bend and found a puddle of mud that stretched to either side of the path and into the bushes – no high ground – and easily over 8′ long. Much to long for any of us to attempt a brave leap. No choice, but to turn around.
Northward on this path is Jibbon Point. The path loops around the path and back into Bundeena at the town end of Jibbon Beach. We didn’t plan to walk “home” the long way. Not too much further though is “Tumbledowns”. It’s an inlet that may have once have had a beach, but if it did, it’s long been buried under tonnes of rocks that have tumbled down from the cliffs above – hence, it’s name. There’s a water run just before it, which is quite steeply sided and cuts deeply into the coastline. We walked as far as that. For anyone that knows the area, that’s not very far at all. Still it was a nice easy walk in the sunshine, and we’re fairly sure we saw a whale just offshore. We waited for it to come back up for air, but it obviously must have been journeying as it sunk under the waves and we didn’t see it again.
I hope it made it further on its travels today than we did!