Living in Royal National Park, Sydney

Port Hacking, from Clive's Daughter's Balcony

Port Hacking, from Clive's Daughter's Balcony

Sydney, Saturday

Clive’s daughter K. lives and works in Sydney’s Royal National Park.  She’s in a management role in an organisation which partners with Sydney schools and churches to offer young people structured experiences combining study and outdoor activities.

K. has been on holidays over Christmas and New Year, and yesterday we were able to spend some time with her for an early birthday get-together, before she returns to her version of the rat race on Monday.

A Different View

Visiting K., we get to see a part of Sydney we might not otherwise come across.  Royal National Park was the first national park in Australia, second in the world only to Yellowstone in the U.S.

K’s decision to live in the park is based on a combination of practicality and value.  She’s considered living elsewhere and commuting into the park for work, but it’s easy and economical to live onsite, so a smart move overall.

Others, like a former business colleague of mine, live in the village of Bundeena.  Bundeena is one of Sydney’s southernmost suburbs, located on the eastern coast of Royal National Park on Port Hacking, at the entrance to the Tasman Sea.

Bundeena Beach, Sydney

Bundeena Beach, Sydney

The Age-Old Lifestyle vs. Commute Trade-off

As happens all over the world, some people find a commute of 90 minutes or more each way an acceptable trade-off for life in a desirable location.

My colleague and her husband fell in love with Bundeena’s beaches and slightly upscale country feel, combining peaceful family life with artistic residents and a monthly “Art Trail” showcasing local crafts and creations.

When I said I didn’t think I could stand the long commute, she said it was easier for them because not having children, they didn’t have to worry about child care or school pick-up times.  They left home at 5:30am, drove to the city via the gym, and drove home together at night.

If they didn’t want to drive, they could take a passenger ferry from Bundeena to Cronulla, and a train directly into Sydney’s central business district.

Other Bundeena residents take the ferry to go to shopping in Cronulla, or to go to its ocean beaches.

Cronulla Beach, Sydney

Cronulla Beach, Sydney

The Other Side of Sydney   

Yesterday Bundeena was relatively quiet, but we could imagine busy weekends when Sydneysiders come to enjoy the beach and walk the Art Trail.

In the afternoon, we took the ferry to Cronulla with K., and passed several groups of young men in Cronulla returning from a day at the beach, carrying surfboards to the ferry and train station.

Cronulla-Bundeena Ferry

Cronulla-Bundeena Ferry

Happy Birthday, K.  

Clive’s daughter has significant responsibilities at her job and has had a challenging two years of major personnel changes and transitions.  She’s been responsible, reliable, and mature in the way she’s handled stressful situations.

As for me, I’m learning that even when adult children are in the same geographical region, it’s still difficult to find time to get together when everyone’s working and juggling multiple family connections.  Clive’s children do a great job of seeing both of their parents and extended family while balancing their own busy lives.

The best part of yesterday was spending time with K. and seeing her somewhat relaxed after having a well-deserved holiday break.

Happy birthday, K.  May the actual day next week be as nice for you as yesterday was for us spending time with you.

Bundeena Beach, Sydney

Bundeena Beach, Sydney

Royal National Park
Bundeena, New South Wales
The Art Trail, Bundeena

3 Responses

  1. Certainly a most beautiful area. I find myself wondering if I could do the 90-minute comute in exchange to live there if I worked in the city.

    I drive 35 minutes to my work every day – so that is 70 minutes a day just driving. To go from 70 minutes to 180 minutes a day would be a lot. I suppose we can do most anything if we want to badly enough.

    I think I have heard the average comute in my part of the world (midwest USA) is something like 20 minutes. If that is average, well, you know, a lot of people are driving or riding a lot more. I know in California and New York it is not uncommon for people to have long comutes.

    It is nice they have access to public transportation if they like – that would be a big plus. And they are traveling through what looks like beautiful country much of the way – though I am sure most cities look a lot a like once you are in them.

    Take care and enjoy that great warm weather! At the moment it is snowing here. We got about 6 inches of snow last night and I am getting ready to go out and start moving it before long. It is about 7:20 Saturday morning here…

    I enjoy your blog a great deal.

  2. Looks really lovely. I’d have loved to have made it to Tasmania but just ran out of time. I love the ocean so exploring the coasts of Australia was heaven for me.

  3. Thanks, Russell and Linda. Yes we have great public transportation in Sydney which I appreciate. And Linda, we too want to visit Tasmania — another Aussie combination of ocean, bushland, and great wine districts 🙂

    Hope you are both surviving the snow and frigid temps in Europe and the U.S.

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