Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Top choice national park in Sydney

Image by Manfred Gottschalk Getty Images

This spectacular 14,928-hectare park, 20 to 30km 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. There are two unconnected principal sections, Bobbin Head and the West Head area. The Barrenjoey headland at Palm Beach is also part of the park.

Ku-ring-gai, declared in 1894, 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 settlers and the devastating introduction of smallpox. It’s well worth reading Kate Grenville’s The Secret River for an engrossing but harrowing telling of this story.

Remnants of pre-colonial Aboriginal life are visible today thanks to the preservation of more than 800 sites, including rock paintings, middens and cave art.

Elevated park sections offer glorious water views over Cowan Creek, Broken Bay and Pittwater.

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 – McCarrs Creek Rd (off Mona Vale Rd Terrey Hills) for West Head; Bobbin Head Rd (North Turramurra) or Ku-ring-gai Chase Rd (Mount Colah) for Bobbin Head – the Palm Beach Ferry or water taxi.