You’ve no doubt been to Sydney many times, but have you ever ventured out to the Royal National Park on the south eastern edge of Sydney?
The Royal National Park is only two and a half hours drive from Canberra along the Hume and Princes Highways.
The 16,000 hectare Royal National Park was established in 1879 and is one of the oldest national parks in the world.
My friend Rhys and I headed to Royal National Park to check out the popular Wedding Cake Rock, alternatively known as the White Cliffs of Marley. The name has come from the rock’s shape and smooth white surface.
To reach the start of the walk, head into Royal National Park and follow the signs to Bundeena.
There is a park access fee to enter the park of $12 per day per car.
You’ll find the closest parking area to access Wedding Cake Rock at the end of Beachcomber Avenue. There are a couple of formalised parking spaces here or you can park on the side of the road.
From the carpark, it’s a 3km mostly sand and rock trail to Wedding Cake Rock past cliff plateaus, spectacular sea views and through sandy scrub.
Most of the path is relatively flat with some short inclines and rock steps. If there’s been recent rain, there might be a few muddy or watery patches but there’s enough stepping stones or wooden planks to get through but an extra pair of socks wouldn’t go astray.
Don’t be misled by the sandy trail, thongs won’t be very effective on this trail and at least running shoes are recommended.
There is one section of the path that is quite steep as you head down rock steps.
The path is quite exposed and on a hot day you’ll want sunscreen, a hat and a bottle of water.
It will take you around one hour to reach Wedding Cake Rock. Due to the current instability of the rock, fencing was erected across the top of the rock earlier this year. When I looked into this, I discovered it’s likely the rock may collapse within the next 10 years and there is talk about a viewing platform being built to view the rock. Make sure you enjoy it while you still can!
Despite the fencing, the wedding cake formation of the rock can still be seen from the side and it’s an enjoyable walk to the rock.
Allow time to take in the colourful wind and water weathered rock faces and the views of the coastal cliffs.
There’s plenty of other walks within the Royal National Park including the 6.5km Bundeena Drive to Marley walk that ends at Little Marley Beach, or if you want to combine camping with a walk, you can try the 26km Coast track from Bundeena to Otford or try to do it in a single day with an early start.
Despite being a National Park, the area actually has residential neighbourhoods within and there’s a range of services available such as supermarkets, cafes and petrol stations.
Set aside at least a day to enjoy some of what the Royal National Park has to offer. In addition to bushwalking, there are also fishing and bird watching opportunities. There are also picnic and barbecue facilities and campgrounds.