Camping in Sydney’s backyard

The Royal National Park is the second oldest National Park in the world. It was established in 1879 and only Yellowstone Park in the USA is older (by 4 years).

The Nasho (as it is lovingly referred to) offers lots of activities, from hiking to camping, kayaking and wale watching. We hiked from Bundeena to Otford and camped in North Era so we are proud to present

The ultimate guide to camp in the Royal National Park

How to get there

We drove to Cronulla and took the ferry to Bundeena. The ferry ride itself is beautiful and you can find long term parking at the station. Alternatively you can take public transport to Cronulla to begin with.
The ferry does not accept Opal cards but you can pay by credit card at the café on the wharf.

Boats run every half an hour and we’d recommend catching a boat no later than 7:30 AM. That gets you to Bundeena by 8 AM with lots of time to stop for photos and mini breaks along the hike. 

 Once you get to Bundeena, you will find a map, but make sure you download the AvenzaApp to your phone so you know where you are and where to go. This is a screenshot of the map you get:
You can then follow the trail until you reach camp after (according to our phone pedometers) 20 km. We found the walk super well marked, with signs and posts and even pink ribbon when it was reduced to a trail. There are hills and steps to climb, you will walk across sand, forest trails but there is also a long board walk which is super easy to walk on.
The next day we made our way to Otford to catch the train(s) back to Cronulla. Be aware that the majority of that hike will be uphill. It is much shorter (around 11 km) but you will probably be a bit sore from the day before which does not make the many steps and steep inclines any easier.
It is so worth it though, check out this view:

What should I bring?

The below packing lists have been tested and tried, we scrapped things we did not need and found better versions (like a collapsible <a href=”http://Pot” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>pot!) in case you want to shop for new things before you set off.

Camping essentials

(keep in mind that there are no showers, the toilets dry long drops and there is nothing around!)
Send us a message or leave a comment if you’d like to hear what and how we cooked!

Clothing essentials

  • Swimmers
  • Flip flops
  • Sun hat (and glasses)
  • Light weight rain coat this one also covers your backpack!)
  • Comfy walking shoes
  • Hiking socks
  • Warm socks for the evening
  • Long pants and long shirt (mozzie alert at night!)

 Personal items and first aid

  • Phone to take pictures and navigate (remember to download the Avenza Map so you can use the offline map!)
  • Go pro camera (we could not take any pics during the rain :(. A waterproof case for your phone might be enough?)
  • Portable charger (This one) + this <a href=”http://awesome torch” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>awesome torch
  • First aid kit with essentials such as plasters, wound cream, anti itch cream etc.
  • Personal hygiene items like toothbrush and paste, face cream and lip balm

Extra tip: use contact lenses containers to save space and weight 

Tinted sun cream (left) and night cream (right)

Travel Hacks

Bring more water than you think you’ll need.
We went in April and caught quite a bit of rain, but before that came down all creeks we walked past were pretty much dried up. We ended up knocking on someone’s door and the lovely lady refilled our bottles. We could have been in trouble otherwise, only got to the next tap the next day! It was almost dried out (got one bottle out of there) so make sure you bring at least 2 litres each to keep you going.
Downsize your pack as much as possible
The walk isn’t super tough but every added weight will keep you down. There are lots of hills and stairs to cover, and walking through sand with added weight isn’t easy either. If you can leave stuff behind, do so.
Check the weather but be prepared for anything
The weather preview said there’d be clouds but only a minimal chance of rain. We ended up walking through a massive thunderstorm for more than an hour. Everything was soaked because we haven’t replaced our rain protectors for the backpacks yet.
When you go, make sure you have your sun hats and cream but also some form of rain protection. We found our cozy tiny tent warm enough for shelter from the storm, but dry clothes would have improved the situation immensely.

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