“The Royal National Park, or Royal Nasho as it’s known to the Aussies, is almost a rite of passage if you’re a car enthusiast. René Vermeer had to check it out — but first, a performance car was needed”

A few years ago now, on one of my favourite YouTube channels, I had heard about the ‘Nasho’. It was displayed as a design similar to that of the Nürburgring, so in my mind, it was a circuit somewhere in Australia. I couldn’t have been further from the truth — it is in fact the Royal National Park, just south of Sydney. Since arriving here, several people I have encountered have spoken of it, and even asked if I had made the trip, to ‘attack the Nasho’. No, I had not, and the fear of missing out was seriously kicking in. However, as you all know, I own a Lexus GS300, which, albeit a beautiful car to drive, is not something I wish to go attacking a mountain road with.

Thankfully, Toyota here in Australia was kind enough to lend me their Toyota GT86 ‘Blackline’, which is arguably one of the best vehicles to attack such a road. GPS coordinates were set, and I was on the road. From where I live in Frenchs Forest, it’s a decent drive. Lucky for me, the 86 is equipped with a kick-ass stereo, and a reasonably comfortable interior. 

When you arrive at the Nasho, it just starts without you noticing. The only signs you’re in the touge holy grail are that the houses around you disappear and the curves get tighter. Oh, and you'll stumble across a couple of vehicles there for the same reason...

Wicked. Clutch in, down three gears with a few cheeky rev matches in-between, and the pace began to quicken.

For what is known as a slow vehicle, the 86 does have a decent NA mid range and growl. I couldn’t help but to notice that the rear end was a touch twitchy, certainly in the damp spots. A quick glance down revealed the traction control was off, so back on she went and the 86 gripped up much nicer in the rear end. 

After winding my way through kilometres of twisty roads, I found myself situated at a scenic lookout. Damn, what a view! There are no words to describe the beauty of these gigantic cliff faces, surf beaches, and blue skies.

Photo: highwaydreams..net

After seeing the Sea Cliff Bridge on Google, that was most certainly my next destination. Essentially, it’s a bridge built next to a cliff. It’s simply amazing, although not that long.

You really do have to make the most of it while you’re on it. I managed to snap a few shots, which I am glad I did. The coastline south of Sydney is phenomenal. 

Uh-oh, my alarm bell rang on my phone — it was time to get the 86 back to home base, and in a hurry. I spun a U-turn at a nearby township and made my way back north through the winding bushy roads of the Nasho. If it had been a week later, this road no doubt would’ve been full of branches and debris from the insane storm we had here in Sydney. It was obviously my lucky day.

What most impressed me about the agile 86 was its fuel economy. There are not many performance cars you can thrash about for most of the day and only use a quarter of a tank of fuel … I think next time I come down to attack the Nasho, I need to do so in an all-wheel drive turbo. The roads are usually damp and dark under the treetops, so I think an Evo or WRX would be the ideal weapon … until then. 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.