The Royal National Park
– Sydney, Australia –
As the sun was rising this friday morning we jumped out of bed right into our sneakers.
We mushed sandwiches, cameras, money, scarfs and sunscreen into our colourful backpacks and shut the door with an extra bang knowing we were not coming home until the sun has settled again.
With hearts full of excitement towards our day that was going to be covered in adventure and sore feet we stepped on the train not to get off until the train reached the end station; Cronulla.
I can’t say this town’s name with a straight face for the reason that it sounds like the swedish word “Knulla” which is a rough synonym for “Having sex”.
Oh – how I love speaking two languages.
Cronulla is a little beach town an hour or so out of Sydney central.
As we got off the train the morning sun blinded us – today was one of the rare sunny days that Sydney have experienced the past weeks and this made us feel extra lucky.
Cronulla has an atmosphere that reminded me about Byron Bay. Relaxed, warm, friendly and light hearted.
When walking the streets of the town we passed small second hand book shops and bohemic clothing shops displaying homemade necklaces and signs reading things like “If you’re looking for a sign, this is it”. This is it.
As the explorers we are – when noticing the ocean peaking out between the tree branches we simultaneously raced towards it even thou the conductors had told us seconds earlier that we were supposed to walk the opposite direction.
We spent a few minutes breathing in the salt filled air declaring how lucky people who have grown up in this breathtaking country are before we walked back to get on the ferry that was going to bring us to the
Royal National Park.
As we walked down a hill we found the little green and yellow ferry boat waiting for us, we boarded with the helping hands of the captain and his men and ended up in the back of the boat together with a bunch of people who told us we should’ve got a seat in the front of the boat. It really didn’t matter to us, we were happy just to get an outside seat on this pretty boat.
The lovely lady sitting next to us who’s name is Jan was visiting her brother this week, she shared with us that this was her very first time on the ferry as well, even thou she had grown up in Sydney.
She was just as thrilled over this boating experience as we were.
before saying goodbye she even invited us to come and see her in Victoria. People in Australia are truly amazing.
When arriving in the bay of Bundeena we said our goodbyes to Jan and her brother and started our hike by walking through the tiny neighbourhood inspired with street names taken from England.
We had decided to spend our day on the Coast track, predicted to take us 3 hours – without stopping that is.
When arriving at the beginning of our track in the National Park we quickly realised, noticing the lack of water fountains, that we had not brought enough water to keep us hydrated the rest of the day. We moved on sipping our water with great consciousness.
As the birds played in the air right above our heads we hiked this narrow track and happily battled branches, stones and huge water puddles – mindful not to step on the ginormous red ants fighting their own battles and the small lizards rapidly racing each other across out path.
We were surrounded by nature and miracles, the least to say very gorgeous miracles.
We got repeatedly amazed as we pasted bushes that were so flawlessly shaped – similar to the hair of a cartoon character and got even more impressed when we came across a bird nest’s that was built with such perfection but yet simplicity it must’ve taken forever for a bird to build.
We climbed up small mountains and jumped across puddles on the top of others. Every now and again we encountered other humans carrying sun and adventure in their eyes – we pasted each other with the minimal space available, exchanging big smiles as if to express “This is so amazingly narrow, muddy and glorious.”
In the middle of this track we arrived at a man built wooden staircase leading right down to a steep mountainside where we had to keep to the far side not to slip and fall down – with Nell being terribly scared of heights this was a small challenge.After spending some time convincing her that she could indeed do it and that it wasn’t that bad once you’re down there she agreed to give it a try. As long as I held her hand all the way down.
I did – and we climbed down.
I’m not going to leave out that even I, who’s not scared of heights, found this a tiny bit scary. However this was something that I wouldn’t even have thought about expressing in the situation.
Once down on solid ground we both took a deep breath and I got my hand back, a bit warmer and sorer than before.
We found a small waterfall and a beautiful cliff where we spent some time recovering energy watching the waves crashing against the side of the huge cliffs rising around us.
After big steps up the opposite side of the mountain we ended our hike on a mountain with a view over Marley Beach, a beach the size of a smaller dessert in the middle of the forest. The kind of beach where I would imagine great white sharks played in the water.
We shared some grapes on the top overlooking the beach and the forest and then turned around to hike back.
As a traveler you don’t just walk a path or breath the air – you create permanent footprints wherever you go and you inhale experiences.
You spread little pieces of your heart everywhere and pick up pieces of others.
When we boarded the ferry to go back to Cronulla, both exhausted and with burning feet we embraced the feeling of fulfilled expectations and I knew that I had fallen in love.
What’s your favourite hike?
Share your experience in the comments below!