Dedicated in 1879, Royal National Park includes the first area of land to be reserved as national park in Australia. The park encompasses ocean coastline and estuarine foreshore, heaths and woodlands on Hawkesbury sandstone, rainforest on Narrabeen shale and along a number of rivers and streams. The natural values in some sections of the park have been degraded through overuse, particularly in the wetter parts such as the rainforest areas and along the coast. This management plan gives priority to the protection of all the natural values of the park from the impacts of overuse.
Heathcote National Park, reserved in 1943, lies to the west of Royal National Park, in the Woronora River catchment. It offers spectacular Hawkesbury sandstone ridge and gully landscapes and open forests. There is no internal public road system and emphasis in its management is on providing bushwalking and camping opportunities.
Garawarra State Conservation Area, reserved in 1987, adjoins the township of Helensburgh to the south of Royal National Park. Although classified as a state recreation area, an important purpose of this area is to protect rainforest in the upper catchment of the Hacking River as an important link between the rainforests of Royal National Park and those of the Illawarra Escarpment and Sydney Water catchment areas to the south and south-west.
This amendment should be read in conjunction with the Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area Plan of Management (2000).
Amendments to the Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area Plan of Management (2010). The Minister for Climate Change and the Environment adopted these amendments to the plan on 15 September 2010 in relation to leases and licences.
Other planning documents
Audley Masterplan (2006)
Planning for the future – discussion papers
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is preparing a new plan of management for Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area.
NPWS prepared 6 discussion papers to explore and generate discussion about some of the more complex and important management issues for this park many of which have previously been identified as being of interest to the community. These discussion papers were the first stage in the development of a new plan of management.
Public exhibition for the discussion papers was held from 30 June to 28 August 2017.
Response to discussion papers
Over 400 responses to the discussion papers were received from individuals and organisations. All submissions have been reviewed and analysed to understand the views of the wider community to the suggested management options. For more information, read the summary report on the community’s submissions.
NPWS will use the information provided in submissions on the Discussion Papers, along with further planning investigations, to inform the development of a draft plan of management for Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area.
- Recreational Activities
- Visitor Destinations
- Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Landscapes
- Mountain Biking
- Commercial Activities
- Protecting Park Values.
- Map showing locations mentioned in the discussion papers (PDF 228KB)
- Consultant’s report for the mountain bike network (PDF 9.8MB).
Draft Wattamolla Master Plan
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 was prepared to generate discussion and explore ideas for the future sustainable management of this area.
Public exhibition for the draft master plan was held in June 2016. This public consultation has now closed.
Draft Wattamolla Master Plan (2016)
There will be the opportunity to have your say when the draft plan of management for Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park and Garawarra State Conservation Area is completed and put on public exhibition.
If you'd like to be notified when the draft plan is available, please register your details at:
Photo: Garie Beach aerial view Royal National Park / D Finnegan/OEH