Young Thais are drawn by the big city lifestyle
Not many people get to stay in Sydney’s Royal National Park, the world's second oldest national park, after 8 pm.
"Remember this moment," announced guide Andy Richards, as we sat in the darkness, lit only by the full moon above and the glow sticks adorning our bodies. The silence was broken only by the wind in the trees and the waves of the bordering sea. "Try to take in your surroundings and remember this experience."
Richards is a guide with Understand Down Under, a company that runs the Moonwalk, a monthly, full moon, sunset to sunrise tour of Royal National Park. After a 45-minute bus ride from the city centre, the mid-sized tour of mostly Sydney locals begins with a photography lesson on Wattamolla beach, two and a half hours before sunset. A professional photographer accompanies each group to instruct on the art of night-time photography and night painting (the act of using flashlights to highlight items in the dark and make them part of the photo).
After a candlelit picnic dinner full of salads, shepherd's pie and a chicken and vegetable medley, the main event of the night, the Moonwalk, begins. Tour goers can choose between two coastal tracks: the 4km hike ends at Curracurrang, where the guides tell aboriginal stories and set up an impressive midnight tea and coffee stop, and the 8km hike ends at Eagle Rock, where you can take a dip in a secluded waterhole by moonlight.
The evening ends with the liberating sensation of sleeping on the sands of the Wattamolla lagoon, with the sounds of a waterfall and the crashing waves of the sea nearby. Upon waking you will have front row seats of the sun rising through Providential Cove, before breakfast and a transfer back to the city.
The whole tour lasts 14 to 18 hours, so rest up beforehand and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Brooke Schoenman is the Sydney Localite for BBC Travel