When the Royal National Park was established as the National Park in 1879, it became the first gazetted national park in the world.
After Queen Elizabeths visit to Australia in 1954, the park appended Royal to its name.
For most visitors and Sydneysiders, this bit of historical information is perhaps less important than the fact that the Royal National Park lies right at the citys southern backyard where its picnic grounds, rivers, creeks, beaches, bushwalks and rainforests provide a welcome escape from the hassles of city life.
The Royal National Park today covers an area of 16,000 hectares -- enough to lose yourself in.
For those seeking a days relaxation, a most popular area in the Royal National Park is Audley close to the northwestern roadway entrance off Princes Highway just south of Sutherland.
Bush, bangers, boats
There are parking areas close to the open and grassed picnic areas, a stone's throw from the ever-present Australian bush, with the Hacking River running on a roughly north-south axis in this section of the park and Kangaroo Creek meandering west.
There are barbecue areas in Audley (and at Bonnie Vale in the northeast and Wattamolla in the east). Note that wood fires can only be lit in the area's barbecues with the firewood provided. Portable gas barbecues are allowed.
So bring your sangers, bangers, steaks and grog (see definitions of Aussie slang words if some of these terms are new to you), have a game or two of cricket or touch footy, or go boating in the river. Swimming is not allowed in this section of the Hacking River.
You can rent rowboats or pedal-powered water trikes at the Royal National Park boatshed on the western side of the Hacking across the water from the picnic areas. Drive back over the causeway, or walk. Having selected your craft, the Hacking River above the causeway as well as Kangaroo Creek are for you to explore. Private craft is allowed downstream in a northeasterly direction to Port Hacking.