It was on my doorstep all along and it is still my favourite place in the world.
The Royal National Park, just an hour south of Sydney's centre, is one of the most diverse, spectacular, accessible, pristine places I have found anywhere on my travels.
Established in 1879, it is the world's second-oldest national park and its scenery covers coastal cliffs, heathland, forest, waterfalls, lagoons, surf beaches, native bush, wildflowers, picnic areas and trails galore. Mother Nature threw away the rule book when she created this park and it is as diverse as they come.
Over the years, it's 16,000 hectare area has been like a huge, natural fun park for me (and thousands of others) to enjoy bushwalking, running, riding, photography, camping and kayaking.
It's the sort of place that makes you feel like you are a million miles away from the world, yet Australia's biggest city is just a stone's throw away. It's the sort of place that, after years of exploring all corners of the park, always manages to surprise me with its beauty. Today, while walking the Coastal Trail, I was left in no doubt that this will always be my favourite place in the world.
There are many incredible national parks across the globe, but there will only ever be one that is truly Royal.