Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park information
This spectacular 14,928-hectare park, 24km from the city centre, forms Sydney’s northern boundary. It’s a classic mix of sandstone, bushland and water vistas, taking in over 100km of coastline along the southern edge of Broken Bay, where it heads into the Hawkesbury River.
Ku-ring-gai takes its name from its original inhabitants, the Guringai people, who were all but wiped out just after colonisation through violence at the hands of British settlers and introduced disease. It’s well worth reading Kate Grenville’s Booker-nominated The Secret River for an engrossing but harrowing telling of this story.
Remnants of Aboriginal life are visible today thanks to the preservation of more than 800 sites, including rock paintings, middens and cave art. To learn more, enter the park through the Mt Colah entrance and visit the Kalkari Discovery Centre , which has displays and videos on Australian fauna and Aboriginal culture. There is a self-guided walk on which you can see swamp wallabies, bush turkeys, native ducks and goannas.
From the Resolute picnic area at West Head you can amble 100m to Red Hands Cave, where there are some very faint ochre handprints. About another 500m along Resolute Track (after a short steep section) is an Aboriginal engraving site. You can turn around and head back now, or continue to one more site and make a 3.5km loop that takes in Resolute Beach. The view from the West Head Lookout is truly spectacular – don’t miss it.
Less than 3km west of the picnic area along West Head Rd is the Basin Track, which offers an easy stroll to a good set of engravings. Approximately 2.5km further along the track is the Basin, a shallow round inlet where there is a camping area with barbecues, showers and toilets. Access is via the Basin Track or by ferry or water taxi from Palm Beach. For information about the park, stop at the Bobbin Head Information Centre , operated by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. Also here are a marina, picnic areas, a cafe and a boardwalk leading through mangroves.
Access to the park is by car or the Palm Beach Ferry that is run by Fantasea. This runs hourly from Palm Beach to Mackerel Beach, via the Basin. To get to Palm Beach from the CBD, catch bus L90 from Railway Sq or Bus 156 or 169 from Manly Wharf.
If you are arriving by car, enter Ku-ring-gai Chase Rd off Pacific Hwy, Mt Colah; Bobbin Head Rd, North Turramurra; or McCarrs Creek Rd, Terrey Hills.