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Have your say

Royal National Park: Public consultation

Be part of the conversation

Royal National Park is located on the southern fringe of Sydney. It is Australia’s oldest national park and one of the busiest in New South Wales.

There were over 3.2 million visits to Royal National park in 2014, putting it in the top two most visited parks in New South Wales.

Recently, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has seen a significant and sustained increase in visitors coming to Royal National Park to enjoy the beaches, lagoons and waterfalls, especially on sunny weekends and holidays.

Accommodating all these visitors and protecting the environment is challenging. Good planning is essential to meet increasing demand and continue to improve visitor facilities to maximise opportunities and minimise impacts. We think it is important to keep you informed and so invite you to be a part of the conversation about planning for the future.

Planning for the future – new plan of management for Royal National Park

Planning for the future
Rock warbler, Coast Track Royal National Park. Photo: G Dunnett, OEH

Plans of management guide what happens in our national parks, and how we manage them. The existing plan of management for Royal National Park dates back to 2000.

NPWS developed six discussion papers to kickstart the conversation about the future of Royal National Park. These papers were available for public comment during July and August

If you'd like to get updates on the Royal National Park, please register your details below.




Planning for visitors – Wattamolla master plan

Planning for visitors

Wattamolla is the most popular visitor destination in Royal National Park, but its ageing facilities are now struggling to cope. The Draft Wattamolla Master Plan looks at how we can sustainably manage this area, protecting the environment and ensuring that people can continue to enjoy this stunning location into the future.

Wattamolla lagoon.
Photo: R Newton, OEH.



Be part of the conversation

Royal National Park is located on the southern fringe of Sydney. It is Australia’s oldest national park and one of the busiest in New South Wales.

There were over 3.2 million visits to Royal National park in 2014, putting it in the top two most visited parks in New South Wales.

Recently, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has seen a significant and sustained increase in visitors coming to Royal National Park to enjoy the beaches, lagoons and waterfalls, especially on sunny weekends and holidays.

Accommodating all these visitors and protecting the environment is challenging. Good planning is essential to meet increasing demand and continue to improve visitor facilities to maximise opportunities and minimise impacts. We think it is important to keep you informed and so invite you to be a part of the conversation about planning for the future.

Planning for the future – new plan of management for Royal National Park

Planning for the future
Rock warbler, Coast Track Royal National Park. Photo: G Dunnett, OEH

Plans of management guide what happens in our national parks, and how we manage them. The existing plan of management for Royal National Park dates back to 2000.

NPWS developed six discussion papers to kickstart the conversation about the future of Royal National Park. These papers were available for public comment during July and August

If you'd like to get updates on the Royal National Park, please register your details below.




Planning for visitors – Wattamolla master plan

Planning for visitors

Wattamolla is the most popular visitor destination in Royal National Park, but its ageing facilities are now struggling to cope. The Draft Wattamolla Master Plan looks at how we can sustainably manage this area, protecting the environment and ensuring that people can continue to enjoy this stunning location into the future.

Wattamolla lagoon.
Photo: R Newton, OEH.



  • Decision: Proposed use and upgrade of access trail in Royal National Park for Bundeena Coast Eco Lodge

    about 1 month ago
    3141 bundeena engage

    Office of Environment and Heritage has now assessed the Review of Environmental Factors. All matters that could affect the environment were taken into consideration in the review.

    A licence under section 153C of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 has been granted. The licence includes conditions that ensure environmental and safety issues are addressed.

    More information on the request for trail access at Bundeena

    Office of Environment and Heritage has now assessed the Review of Environmental Factors. All matters that could affect the environment were taken into consideration in the review.

    A licence under section 153C of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 has been granted. The licence includes conditions that ensure environmental and safety issues are addressed.

    More information on the request for trail access at Bundeena

  • Now closed: Review of Environmental Factors: Proposed use and upgrade of access trail in Royal National Park for Bundeena Coast Eco Lodge

    5 months ago
    147668 19

    NPWS would like to thank the community for their interest in the Review of Environmental Factors for the proposed trail access.

    All submissions on the Review of Environmental Factors will be considered. A decision will then be made on whether the proposal should proceed in its current form, whether conditions should be applied or whether the proposal should be rejected. A summary of the submissions will be available on this page once finalised.


    NPWS would like to thank the community for their interest in the Review of Environmental Factors for the proposed trail access.

    All submissions on the Review of Environmental Factors will be considered. A decision will then be made on whether the proposal should proceed in its current form, whether conditions should be applied or whether the proposal should be rejected. A summary of the submissions will be available on this page once finalised.


  • Update: Review of Environmental Factors: Proposed use and upgrade of access trail in Royal National Park for Bundeena Coast Eco Lodge

    7 months ago
    3141 bundeena engage

    The Review of Environmental Factors is to be re-exhibited from 5 July to 4 August due to inconsistencies in the applicant's accompanying documentation to the Review of Environmental Factors in the previous consultation, and to allow a longer period for public comment.

    Any submissions made as part of the previous exhibition must be resubmitted to be considered in the assessment of the Review of Environmental Factors. We apologise for any inconvenience and request that you resubmit your comments, taking into account the updated accompanying documents, by 4 August 2017.

    Your submission:

    The Review of...

    The Review of Environmental Factors is to be re-exhibited from 5 July to 4 August due to inconsistencies in the applicant's accompanying documentation to the Review of Environmental Factors in the previous consultation, and to allow a longer period for public comment.

    Any submissions made as part of the previous exhibition must be resubmitted to be considered in the assessment of the Review of Environmental Factors. We apologise for any inconvenience and request that you resubmit your comments, taking into account the updated accompanying documents, by 4 August 2017.

    Your submission:

    The Review of Environmental Factors is a proposal for formal access to 60-70 Bournemouth Street (Bundeena) to construct and service an eco-tourism facility. Any submissions received that are outside the scope of the Review of Environmental Factors will not be considered in the assessment process.

    Help us understand your ideas and suggestions for this requested trail access:

    • write clearly and be specific about the issues that are of concern to you
    • note which part or section of the Review of Environmental Factors your comments relate to
    • give reasoning in support of your points - this helps avoid misinterpretation and makes it easier for us consider your ideas
    • if you agree or support a particular part or idea in the Review of Environmental Factors, please tell us
    • if you disagree, please tell us specifically what you disagree with and why you disagree
    • it is very helpful to suggest solutions or alternatives to managing the issue if you can.

    You can provide your written submission in one of the following ways:

    Online
    Make a submission online

    By email
    Email your submission to: royal.ref@environment.nsw.gov.au

    By mail
    Royal Area Manager
    NPWS Regional Office
    PO Box 144
    Sutherland 1499

    Hard copies of the Review of Environmental Factors and supporting documentation are available for viewing at:

    • Bundeena Public Library, Bundeena Public School
    • Royal National Park Visitor Centre, Royal National Park
    • Sutherland Shire Council Chambers
  • Review of Environmental Factors: Proposed use and upgrade of access trail in Royal National Park for Bundeena Coast Eco Lodge

    8 months ago
    3141 bundeena engage

    The community were asked to comment on the use of an access trail through a section of Royal National Park for an eco-tourism development in Bundeena, which has been approved by the NSW Land and Environment Court, subject to a number of conditions.

    The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has received a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) from an applicant, proposing the use and upgrade of an access trail across a section of Royal National Park. It is proposed to use the existing fire trail in the national park as a legal means of access to the Bundeena Coast...

    The community were asked to comment on the use of an access trail through a section of Royal National Park for an eco-tourism development in Bundeena, which has been approved by the NSW Land and Environment Court, subject to a number of conditions.

    The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has received a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) from an applicant, proposing the use and upgrade of an access trail across a section of Royal National Park. It is proposed to use the existing fire trail in the national park as a legal means of access to the Bundeena Coast Eco Lodge site at 60-70 Bournemouth Street, Bundeena.

    To consider the impacts of this proposal on the park and the community, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (part of OEH) exhibited this REF and associated documents for public comment.

    The site comprises of a 440 metre section of existing sealed trail at the south eastern end of Beachcomber Avenue, Bundeena, through to the southern boundary of 60-70 Bournemouth Street, Bundeena (the land owned by the applicant). Should approval be granted to use the access way in Royal National Park, the existing access would therefore need to be widened to 6.5 metres.

    The exhibited REF considers the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposal, to meet the requirements of Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The REF was prepared by the applicant in accordance with guidelines published by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

    Please note: The REF considers the merits of use and upgrade of the proposed access trail within Royal National Park only, not the merits of the proposed eco-tourism development.

    Public consultation

    Public exhibition of this document was from Thursday 01 June to Thursday 15 June. During this period, members of the public were invited to comment on the document, by sending a submission. The opportunity to comment has now closed.

    If you would like more information on the Review of Environmental Factors go to the Royal National Park: Review of environmental factors consultation page.

  • Recent improvements to the Royal Coast Track

    7 months ago
    Raised boardwalk coast track

    In 2014, the NSW Government launched the ‘Great Walks Program’ investing $2.4 million into NSW national Parks to provide world class walking experiences. The Royal Coast Track is part of this initiative.

    In 2016, a further $9 million was committed over four years to continue the strategic upgrade of the track. Target areas have included those sections of track that receive high visitation. Upgraded section of track also provide a much improved and safer walking experience for visitors whilst reducing erosion and impacts on native vegetation.

    During 2016 /17 more than 4.5 km of upgrade works were completed, including track...

    In 2014, the NSW Government launched the ‘Great Walks Program’ investing $2.4 million into NSW national Parks to provide world class walking experiences. The Royal Coast Track is part of this initiative.

    In 2016, a further $9 million was committed over four years to continue the strategic upgrade of the track. Target areas have included those sections of track that receive high visitation. Upgraded section of track also provide a much improved and safer walking experience for visitors whilst reducing erosion and impacts on native vegetation.

    During 2016 /17 more than 4.5 km of upgrade works were completed, including track sections from Marley Beach to Wattamolla, the Burgh Ridge near Burning Palms and at the northern headland at Garie Beach. Works included elevated boardwalk, rest stops and small viewing platforms as well as stone steps and staircases. Temporary sewered public amenities and drinking fountain were also installed at the start of the track at Bundeena.

    Further upgrades will be completed during 2018/19 including a further 3 km of track from Wattamolla to Garie Beach.

    The work is being undertaken by contractors and NPWS staff including Royal National Park Area staff the specialist Blue Mountains Track Team.


  • Feedback from the 2011 community consultation on the new plan of management for Royal National Park

    almost 2 years ago
    Pie chart 750

    In 2011 we started a conversation with stakeholders and the community about writing a new plan of management for Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area.

    We invited community members to identify their top five values for these parks. Values are based on an individual emotional response or belief, and different people place value on different aspects of a park. In asking people what they value about a place, we wanted to understand what the community feels is important about the place and worthy of care, nurture and protection.

    Twenty-five per cent of respondents said they...

    In 2011 we started a conversation with stakeholders and the community about writing a new plan of management for Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area.

    We invited community members to identify their top five values for these parks. Values are based on an individual emotional response or belief, and different people place value on different aspects of a park. In asking people what they value about a place, we wanted to understand what the community feels is important about the place and worthy of care, nurture and protection.

    Twenty-five per cent of respondents said they value the landscape and biodiversity of the parks, and that the protection of the parks’ environmental values were important to them. Others selected the diversity of recreational activities such as bushwalking, mountain biking and fishing, and the parks’ accessibility to a range of users as key values. We received a strong message from respondents that providing additional resources to maintain visitor facilities and services, and supporting the park’s heritage, education and interpretation aspects are important.

    In 2011, we also hosted some community drop-in events in the suburbs around Royal National Park. People attending these events talked to us about lots of issues, but the issues that came up most often are below.

    • Royal Coast Track: improvements to the condition of the track, more directional signs and an increase in camping opportunities along the track.
    • Mountain biking: better opportunities for mountain biking, improved maintenance of tracks and safety concerns about track-sharing with walkers.
    • Walking tracks: improvements to the condition of walking tracks, more walking tracks, better connections between tracks and more loop tracks, more information about walking in Garawarra SCA and action on illegal vehicles.
    • Cabins: the need to recognise the heritage significance of cabins and ensure their protection, opportunities to interpret the history for park visitors and options for the future management of cabins.
    • Camping: more camping opportunities in the parks, better information about camping and an easier booking system.



  • Repairing Varney’s Bridge

    almost 2 years ago
    Royal.np.28

    Where is Varney’s Bridge?

    Varney's bridge is located in Royal National Park in the popular Audley precinct. The bridge provides both vehicle and pedestrian access over the Hacking River to Wattle Forest and Currawong Flat Picnic Areas from the main picnic area of Ironbark Flat where the Audley Visitor Centre and Weir Café are located.


    Why did the bridge need repairing?

    The bridge has a restricted load limit as the structure had been damaged by termites. This severely restricted NPWS capacity to respond to wildfire and emergency incidents. Fire tankers could not cross the bridge to get access to Wattle...

    Where is Varney’s Bridge?

    Varney's bridge is located in Royal National Park in the popular Audley precinct. The bridge provides both vehicle and pedestrian access over the Hacking River to Wattle Forest and Currawong Flat Picnic Areas from the main picnic area of Ironbark Flat where the Audley Visitor Centre and Weir Café are located.


    Why did the bridge need repairing?

    The bridge has a restricted load limit as the structure had been damaged by termites. This severely restricted NPWS capacity to respond to wildfire and emergency incidents. Fire tankers could not cross the bridge to get access to Wattle Forest or Currawong Picnic Areas. The bridge needed to be fixed before the busy summer period to ensure NPWS could use its fire equipment to ensure public safety.





  • The Royal Coast Track is getting a facelift

    almost 2 years ago
    The Royal Coast Track is receiving an injection of $1.8 million for improvements. The track is being upgraded over a 9-month period between October 2015 and May 2016.

    What do the Coast Track works involve?

    Works include:

    • The installation of 1.5 kilometers of Fibre-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) boardwalk at several sites from Beachcomber Avenue, Bundeena to Marley Beach.
    • Construction of sandstone stairways at Marley Beach, Waterrun North and Waterrun South.
    How much of the track is being upgraded?

    The total length of track between Beachcomber Avenue and Marley Beach is approximately 3.6 kilometres. Approximately 1.8 kilometres of this section will receive...

    The Royal Coast Track is receiving an injection of $1.8 million for improvements. The track is being upgraded over a 9-month period between October 2015 and May 2016.

    What do the Coast Track works involve?

    Works include:

    • The installation of 1.5 kilometers of Fibre-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) boardwalk at several sites from Beachcomber Avenue, Bundeena to Marley Beach.
    • Construction of sandstone stairways at Marley Beach, Waterrun North and Waterrun South.
    How much of the track is being upgraded?

    The total length of track between Beachcomber Avenue and Marley Beach is approximately 3.6 kilometres. Approximately 1.8 kilometres of this section will receive work.

    Who will be completing the work?

    The construction of the sandstone stairways will be completed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the construction of the boardwalk is to be completed by contractors.

    Will the Coast Track be closed?

    Sections of the Royal Coast Track between Beachcomber Avenue and Marley Beach will be closed during construction. Where possible, the work will be restricted to Monday to Thursday to avoid when the track is busiest on weekends.

    The track will remain open on weekends and public holidays. The closure of tracks will be dependent on the outcomes of risk assessments undertaken by NPWS.

    Please check the NPWS website for the most current information on track closures. This information will be regularly updated. Visit the NPWS website for more information on the Royal Coast Track Upgrade.

  • Wedding Cake Rock

    almost 2 years ago
    Drone image of wcr with fence closeup

    Where is Wedding Cake Rock?

    Wedding Cake Rock is located on the coast track in Royal National Park, about an hour’s walk south of Bundeena. Recently profiled on social media Wedding Cake Rock has become a popular destination for a young demographic wanting to take selfies on the rock.

    Why is the rock so white?

    The colour of the rock is a result of iron leaching which causes the rock to be very porous and makes it prone to cracking, making collapse highly likely.

    How dangerous is it really?

    To determine the true risk to visitors NPWS commissioned a consultant...

    Where is Wedding Cake Rock?

    Wedding Cake Rock is located on the coast track in Royal National Park, about an hour’s walk south of Bundeena. Recently profiled on social media Wedding Cake Rock has become a popular destination for a young demographic wanting to take selfies on the rock.

    Why is the rock so white?

    The colour of the rock is a result of iron leaching which causes the rock to be very porous and makes it prone to cracking, making collapse highly likely.

    How dangerous is it really?

    To determine the true risk to visitors NPWS commissioned a consultant to undertake a geotechnical assessment. This assessment indicated that risks to visitor safety at Wedding Cake Rock were unacceptable. The report identified three types of site instability, all determined to be high to very high risk:

    1. large-scale detachment of the entire feature known as Wedding Cake Rock
    2. detachment of small overhangs on Wedding Cake Rock or adjoining cliffs
    3. slumping of soils along the cliff edge to the south of the site.

    NPWS is now moving to direct infringement and will start issuing penalties for people blatantly ignoring warning signage at Wedding Cake Rock, putting themselves and potentially others at risk, usually for a photograph.

    What is NPWS doing to reduce the risk?

    As recommended by the risk assessment, NPWS will ensure that an exclusion zone be established across all of Wedding Cake Rock, including a 3-metre wide strip along approximately 50 metres of cliff edge.

    How does NPWS propose to manage the site?

    NPWS commissioned a landscape architect to design a new layout, introducing an exclusion zone, for the section of track passing Wedding Cake Rock. The design includes a boardwalk set back from the unstable zone. The boardwalk will incorporate at least one viewing platform that will offer a photographic opportunity of Wedding Cake Rock.

    Interpretive and safety panels will be also be installed at the entrance to the site and in front of the boardwalk. Signage on-site will incorporate images captured by a drone which clearly illustrate the instability of the cliff edge under and adjacent to the rock formation.

    Read more about the Wedding Cake Rock at the NPWS website.



  • Viewing platform for jibbon engravings

    almost 2 years ago
    Pa070028

    Where are Jibbon engravings?

    Jibbon engravings are located at the end of Jibbon Beach, Bundeena within Royal National Park.

    What are they?

    These Dharawal engravings are some of the richest and most preserved Aboriginal rock engravings in the Sydney metropolitan area. Rock engravings were a common form of art work in the Sydney Basin and were created for lessons and ceremonies, boundary marking and for showing sources of food in the area. The Jibbon engravings include whales, kangaroos, a stingray and a spiritual figure.

    How are the engravings made and maintained?

    Sydney sandstone is a very soft stone and is...

    Where are Jibbon engravings?

    Jibbon engravings are located at the end of Jibbon Beach, Bundeena within Royal National Park.

    What are they?

    These Dharawal engravings are some of the richest and most preserved Aboriginal rock engravings in the Sydney metropolitan area. Rock engravings were a common form of art work in the Sydney Basin and were created for lessons and ceremonies, boundary marking and for showing sources of food in the area. The Jibbon engravings include whales, kangaroos, a stingray and a spiritual figure.

    How are the engravings made and maintained?

    Sydney sandstone is a very soft stone and is relatively easy to work. To make a figure in the rock it is first ‘pecked’ and then ‘rubbed’ (like joining the dots) using traditional tools to create a groove about 10 millimetres deep and 20 millimetres wide. Over time the grooves erode due to the softness of the rock. They also get filled in by grit, sand or lichen. Senior men oversee their maintenance. Highlighting of the Aboriginal rock engravings is done by the Dharawal people, the Dharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    Protecting the site

    Last year the National Parks and Wildlife Service, in consultation with the Dharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council and Dharawal community members, undertook site protection work at Jibbon Aboriginal Engravings site. Conservation work included the installation of a 60-metre raised board walk and a viewing platform elevated above the engravings. This work gives visitors a unique aerial view of the engravings. Work also included a gathering area at the start of the boardwalk and interpretive signage. The walkway was designed to ‘float’ on the ground surface to reduce the possibility of impacting any buried cultural items should they be present. The La Perouse Men’s Group cleared vegetation around the site and installed timber barriers to protect the engravings.
    Conservation work will help protect an important piece of Dharawal cultural heritage as well as making access to the engravings easier, with more meaning, for visitors to the site. It will also benefit the local Bundeena business community by increasing visitor numbers to the area.

    How much did the project cost?

    The project cost around $500,000. This was largely due to the remoteness of the site which meant that components of the walkway had to be lowered in by helicopter.
    The work was part of a larger $2.2-million program to improve the experience of walking the Royal Coastal Track, including new signage and improved camping opportunities. Track improvements include the installation of sandstone stairs, raised boardwalk and track resurfacing.
    For more information about the engravings visit the conservation programs page on the NPWS website.