The Royal National Park, or “Nasho” as is referred to in the southern-Sydney dialect, is 16 000 hectares of native bushland stretching southward from Sydney’s southern-most outskirts.
The Royal National Park was opened in 1879, and the causeway across the Hacking River was built soon after in 1883. Construction of the weir transformed the area, with around 2000 residents at the turn of the 20th Century.
Some 60 years later the Audley Dancehall was opened, the social epicentre of the area. The Dancehall is still in operation today and available for bookings.
Nowadays Audley has a reputation as a recreational day-trip, with picnic areas, boating, canoeing and bush walks.
I’ve often wondered about Audley and the weir for a couple of reasons. Firstly it’s often closed following sustained periods of rainfall. Secondly, the Sydney to Wollongong cycle event that takes place in November is on my bucket-list.
I can safely say that having not just driven to Audley today, but also having driven the several-kilometre ascent on the other side of Audley, I’m in no hurry to don the lycra in November 2015.