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Wattamolla: One of Sydney's greatest treasures.

Royal National Park

Just an hour and 15 minutes south of Sydney lays one of its greatest treasures and secrets - the Royal National Park.

It’s a beach well known by local families as one of the best places in Sydney to swim, snorkel, have a picnic or bbq and generally lazy the day away. There’s a lot of history to the area too. The name “Wattamolla” (meaning place near running water) was given to the area by the local Aboriginal people, many years before Europeans came a calling.

It’s easy to see why Wattamolla is popular with families. There’s a calm, shallow lagoon that’s perfect for kids to paddle, swim and play safely, with plenty of leafy trees to set up a picnic blanket underneath.

Older kids, teens and adults can enjoy swimming in the waves on the beach or climbing on the rocks that run around the side of the waters edge. At the back of the lagoon is a waterfall that is a popular spot for daredevils to jump from into the water below. Be aware, however, that there are signs cautioning people not to dive or jump from the rocks.

If you’re planning a day at Wattamolla, these tips will help you enjoy the perfect day at the beach.

For Littlies

● Get there as early as possible. In summer Wattamolla is very popular and there are two small parking lots near the beach. I would highly recommend arriving no later than 9:30am.

● If you’re bringing littlies, be aware that there is a 250-metre walk from the car park to the beach along a narrow rocky path with lots of stairs.

● Leave strollers at home if you can, as there is no stroller access or paved path on the beach.


Food & Amenities

● We brought our own picnic blanket and set it up under some trees, but you also have the option of bringing your own tent and beach chairs, which many people do.

● Bring all the food you need for the day with you down to the beach. There is no food available for sale at Wattamolla.

● There are, however, barbeque areas near the parking lot to make your own lunch if you prefer it to a portable picnic.

● Bring plenty of water as there is no drinkable water available at the beach.

● The only bathrooms at Wattamolla are at the car park, so make sure the entire family visits before walking down the path.

What To Expect

● While the beach is free to visit, entry to the Royal National Park costs $12 per vehicle per day and payment is cash only.

● There is little to no mobile reception at Wattamolla - and absolutely zero on the beach, so bring a book to read if you’re planning on chilling out.

● The Royal National National Park is open 7am to 8.30pm but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

● Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents.


Christine Knight writes about navigating the world and parenthood on her site, Adventure, Baby!. You can find her sampling gelato and cake around the world with her preschooler, or building sandcastles at the beach in her home town of Sydney.

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