Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
HERITAGE-LISTED KU-RING-GAI Chase National Park in Sydney’s north provides a plethora of opportunities for active city dwellers.
Australia’s second-oldest national park contains a rich diversity of flora and fauna, as well as historical secrets and Aboriginal rock art.
Pittwater gently laps its eastern boundary, linking many unspoilt areas that are relatively untouched due to their limited land access.
The clear waters provide a natural playground for water sports and, for those who prefer to stay dry, there are walking tracks, eucalypt forests, mountain biking trails and cliff tops with spectacular views.
Water activities: Pittwater suits almost any water sport that whets your appetite for adventure. Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are great ways to explore golden beaches and access remote areas.
Both are available for hire (www.paddlecraft.com.au). Combine kayaking with bushwalking and take a mixed journey.
Walking: Many tracks dissect the national park, cultural landmarks and historical Aboriginal sites.
Jump on the Great North Walk (11km beginning from Cowan Station) or stroll an 8.5km circuit on the Mackerel Track.
Take the ferry across Pittwater to Palm Beach and walk up the Smugglers track (1km uphill) to the historical Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Sydney’s most northern point.
Fishing: Pittwater is ideal for sheltered fishing. Bream, flathead and whiting are common. Kingfish also fill Pittwater in the summer months while John Dory visit in winter. Boats and gear are available for hire (www.barrenjoeyboathire.com).
Location: Near Hornsby in Sydney’s north, 45 minutes from the CBD. Access by ferry from Palm Beach or by car from Terry Hills, Turramurra or Asquith.
Accommodation: Camping available at the Basin. Walk in or travel by ferry from Palm Beach.
Food/drink: The Basin has picnic tables and barbecues. Cafes and take-away outlets on the other side of Pittwater are accessible via water transport.
Points of interest: See Aboriginal art and scenic lookouts at West Head on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk beginning at Resolute picnic area and accessible by car on West Head Road.
Take your binoculars for whale spotting from Barrenjoey Lighthouse and stroll a mangrove boardwalk at Bobbin Head.
Maps: Available from Kalkari Discovery Centre or Bobbin Inn Visitor Centre.
More info: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/ku-ring-gai-chase-national-park