When Tara from Royal Coast Walks asked me to come along on a full day guided bush walk of the Royal National Park, NSW I was over the moon. I love bush walking and hiking but there’s always that fear of getting lost and ending up on the 7 o’clock news when bush walking in a new area that stops me from getting out more.
This experience started with a relaxing cruise from Cronulla across to the Royal National Park located in Bundeena which is the second oldest National Park in the world and the oldest in Australia. As soon as we arrived, I feel relaxed looking out into the crystal clear water and listening to the sand crunch beneath my feet on the white sand and the water lap at the shore.
We are all given a goodie bag with snacks (it turns out very tasty snacks), fruit and a sports drink in a take home bag. Ian who is our knowledgeable guide carries our lunch for later so I just carry my good bag and water – this is definitely a plus!
Ian started telling us stories of the Aboriginal tribes in the area including the “bringing of the law” which for the Aboriginal tribes in the area meant the time of year when the law was sung and any punishments were given but it was also a time of celebration where marriages could be decided.
We learned that this happened every year when the orca, also known as bringer of the law, drove the larger whales into the shallow waters and eventually on to the beach where the tribes were waiting to strike. They would cut out the tongue, throwing it in the water for the Orca as a thank you as they believed this was the Orca’s favourite part.
I’m not usually this fascinated by Aboriginal history but I must admit I was hanging on to every word wanting to know more! We continued our walk and Ian explained the rock carvings and we learned more about the aboriginal way of life from many years ago.
Ian walked right up to a plant and said, “you can eat this, it has a lot of water in it” and gave us all one which we tried. We all gladly tasted it and decided it would be a welcome relief to find one of these if you were stuck in the bush dying of thirst.
We hiked (a term I use loosely as the walk is quite assessable for anyone of any age) through the bush land and stopped along the way to learn more about the many plants you can eat – some actually quite tasty bush tucker!
It’s time for lunch so we stopped at a flat area with shear cliffs overlooking the water – a great spot to stop if you ask me – and we all relaxed and took in the surrounds as Ian and Tara prepared our lunch; wraps with different types of meat and plenty of salad. Tara informed me they can accommodate anyone with dietary requirements which is another plus.
After lunch, we continued our walk and explored an abandoned cave dwelling which was used many years ago. Ian and Tara’s knowledge of the history of this area is fantastic and they encourage questions, so if you’re interested in Australian history ask away!
I stopped continuously for the photo opportunities that popped up and I must admit, I am a bit snap happy. We stopped at wave rock and pretended to be surfing up a storm! Our day finished again relaxing on a cruise, this time from Bundeena to Cronulla with plenty of photo sharing going on.
All in all it was a fantastic day hiking without the stress of getting lost or needing to carry lunch while being entertained with the history of the area. I highly recommend this tour!
By GoDo team member, Michelle Ricketts