Royal National Park: Week 106

Polaroid of Royal National Park, Australia

Bundeena.  It was a tiny outpost on the edge of the Royal National Park with empty streets and flocks of squawking sulphur-crested cockatoos.

The town is accessible by road, but the ferry from Cronulla is the shortest and most direct route. From the dock it’s a twenty minute walk past red brick houses with sloping grass lawns to the entrance of the Royal National Park. Depending on who is doing the tallying, the park is either the second or the third oldest national park in the world; it was established in 1879.

It was only a short day trip, but Anthony, one of Barret’s coworkers, had packed everything but the kitchen sink. His black backpack was filled with cameras, lenses, tripods, stabilizers, two liters of water and lunch. A first aid kit dangled off the back of his backpack and two more lens cases were bolted to his belt. The further we walked the lighter and more inadequate my Polaroid-in-a-beach-bag felt.

Anthony was an experienced videographer with a treasure-trove of knowledge. He answered all my technical questions and gave me recommendations on everything from online forums to camera bodies with the best shutter speed.

Polaroid of the Royal National Park, Australia: Overlooking Marley Beach

Having hiked this trail before, Anthony also knew all the areas he wanted to capture. While I lounged on the cliffs eating chocolate covered berries, he revisited locations.  If I took one shot and hoped it didn’t suck, he took ten after he found the perfect angle. Then he’d shoot a high-def video.

When we reached Marley Beach I immediately jumped in the ocean. When I got out I laid on my towel and let the salt water evaporate off my skin. The sun was intoxicating and soporific; I didn’t want to move a muscle. When Anthony set his gear down for the first time I had already been lounging for an hour. He looked hot and sweaty and dedicated to his craft. God help me, I think I have a lot more to learn.

How to get to the Royal National Park: Take the ‘Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra‘ train line to Cronulla. Walk left out of the station to the Cronulla ferry wharf and catch the Bundeena ferry.

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