Royal National Park (New South Wales)

I had seen pictures on Instagram of the figure 8 pools in Royal National Park (the 2nd oldest National Park to Yellow Stone). I decided to book a visit on Friday with a tour my Hostel recommended. I was very much looking forward to it and was telling those I was out with on Thursday. One of the gals said she had never heard of it and so she googled it to see a picture. Of course, one of the first few things to pop up is an incident that occurred there where several folks had to be helicopter lifted to a hospital. Great.

On Friday I woke up very early and met the van at 6:45am. Of course, I asked about the incident and the guide/driver assured us this would be safe as they don’t allow people down there during high tide anymore. Great–let’s do this. A van of 15 of us headed out. It wasn’t too long of a drive, about an hour and we stopped once along the way to fill up our water bottles. We arrived and stepped out and it was the most beautiful sight! The rule was that upon each “lookout point” you couldn’t pull out your phone or camera for 30 seconds, you had to look with your eyes, not your lens. I think I’m going to use that rule moving forward (with the exception of animals because they will be gone before you know it).

We hiked a moderate but steep trail through a jungle and down to a beach. From there, we carefully stepped our way over rock piles and around a cliff to reach the pools. The waves crashing against the rocks was incredibly humbling because of their power and freedom. Looking into the pools you saw all sorts of creatures. Oysters, seaweed, crabs, fish, anemones and some unfamiliar. Fortunately, we didn’t see any of the ones we were warned about, the ones that can cause immense pain and possible death. Yes, we were told of 5 different species where this would be the theme. I picked a pool that looked reasonably deep and not filled with too many creatures to dive into. There was something amazing about floating in this miniature little eco-system. I was careful to not bump up too hard on anything, because as sharp as some of them could be, they are still fragile.

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