Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Royal National Park

All the campsites were full so a group of friends decided our weekend hike in the Royal National Park could be done in a day. We took a train at 6:15am to Otford and from there hiked ten hours to Bundeena through stunning unspoilt Australian bush and scenery.

unseen, but infested.
It was wet in the morning, which meant lots of leeches for the first hours along the trail. Everytime we looked down, another one of these tiny brown squiggles was trying to burrow through the mesh in our shoes. Freak out! They came from seemingly nowhere, and they were everywhere. If you saw this happen in a horror film, you wouldn't believe it. Eventually, the little suckers succeeded in leeching blood from each one of us except for me (clearly they are not into blood with high alcohol content). And when they were discovered attached to the skin when taking shoes off for an ocean swim, they were no longer little brown squiggles but bigger, bloated brown sacks of host blood. Smashed to death against rocks, they exploded in red!

It was a longer day than anticipated - especially after taking dubious shortcuts during low tide.
Lifesaving pal Nisha prepared the most amazing lunch and snacks for the boys. Note the napkin on her foot -- site of leech discovery. 
Below is wedding cake rock, a famous photo opp near Bundeena, and the end of the line after a most memorable 10 hours. From there we caught the old-time (1939) Bundeena ferry into Cronulla and straight to the pub!