In an effort to see every square inch of Sydney and the surrounding region, my mate Todd and I made a list of things that we want to do. First, Todd had to introduce me to the fabulous world of Google Documents so that we could both edit our list, and now that I’ve caught up with 2010, our spreadsheet has an ambitious list of museums, neighborhoods, national parks, and more. And to start the list, we decided to make it a big adventure: off to Royal National Park!
Royal National Park is the oldest national Park in Australia, and the second oldest anywhere in the world, after Yellowstone. We “hired” a car for the day - because they don’t really say “rent” a car here – and headed out at 8am for a day of wilderness – just 45 minutes from Sydney. Todd was delighted. I was frightened. After comparing what my buddy Ross suggested with what the very nice and knowledgeable park ranger advised (their suggestions were pretty much the same), we had our itinerary. Once Todd clarified that he had a wife and that we were not a couple, we bid farewell to the woman behind the desk and made our way to stop one: the Audley Boat Shed.
We hired a rowboat for an hour and went up the river. Todd rowed for most of the time. I took a stab at it, but I think Todd got annoyed that I kept zigzagging between the two banks. I swear it was on purpose.
Then we were off to the little town of Bundeena to grab some lunch. “Ummm, Phill – you’re on the wrong side of the road.” Oi vey. At least that area of the park was near deserted. And besides, it was no worse than the illegal right turn I made in Sydney on our way out of town earlier in the morning.
A stop at Wattamolla Beach delighted us with a short trail that lead out to a lagoon. The lagoon was separated from the ocean by a beautiful beach, but the tide was in and there was a little channel separating us from the white sand. In typical heterosexual fashion, Todd made me cross it. He offered me a piggy back ride, but (1) I doubt he could carry me and (2) I’m not a princess. I took off my shoes and rolled up my pant legs, but of course my jeans got soaked anyway.
Then off to Garie Beach where the surfers were out and the fisherman had caught some monstrous looking fish and were inspecting it on the sand. We decided to do a little hike to a place called Burning Palms, which Ross had suggested. We planned it out at 1 hour and 20 minutes round trip, but we failed to take into account the three giant hills, walkways covered with thick vegetation, mud, the beehive that Todd was so fond of, and various other impediments that turned our 1 hour and 20 minute round trip into a 1 hour 30 minute trip – each way. Did I mention that we got dive-bombed by a very angry bird? Twice?
That was a highlight.
But, despite all of that, I survived the day and, surprisingly, actually enjoyed getting out of the city and into nature for a bit. To commemorate my day, I left my mark at the beach near Burning Palms:
Fuckin’ with the seagulls just ain’t for the kiddies anymore…
If I were Kathy Griffin and nature were Jesus, I think I’d tell nature to suck it.
Since we were climbing up a hill, I may have suggested something involving Maria von Trapp. The hills are alive…
Yes, we pretty much hiked all of this – and more.