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Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

“There are lots of great walking tracks, but I think my favourite has to be the Berowra track - it winds around the creek and the views are so pretty.”

Australia’s second-oldest national park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a recreational favourite for locals and visitors alike. This large park, located in Sydney’s north, lets you feel at one with nature without leaving the Sydney metropolitan area. A heritage-listed park, it combines important history with scenic beauty.  

Winding creeks and stretches of ocean meet rainforest and eucalypts, rocky cliffs and mangroves. Camp at The Basin or spend your time exploring walking tracks, mountain biking trails, breathtaking lookouts and significant Aboriginal sites. You’ll still have plenty of time to discover its marinas, cafes, kiosks and well-equipped picnic areas.

Highlights
 

Why you should visit

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a special place, here are just some of the reasons why:

Perfectly located
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is situated within the Sydney Metropolitan Area, 20km north of the Sydney CBD. The park runs from St Ives to the shores of the Hawkesbury River at Brooklyn. The 14,882ha park also includes the stunning Barrenjoey Head, 1km across Pittwater at Palm Beach. Multiple entry points offer easy access – one of the many reasons this park is so popular with locals.

Wonderful waterways
Protecting a major part of northern Sydney’s waterways, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is the ideal place to make a splash. The park includes much of the Hawkesbury River, Pittwater and Cowan Water, plus numerous creeks and coves. You’ll find good facilities at Empire Marina, amazing sea views at Barrenjoey Head and several good spots for a waterfront picnic.

Run, row or ride
With everything from jogging tracks to picnic areas and great places to whalewatch, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is excellent for outdoor activity. Hire paddle boats from Bobbin Inn, walk the Gibberagong track, horse ride the Perimeter trail or cycle from Mt Colah to Pymble station.

A rich Aboriginal heritage
The Guringai Aboriginal people originally inhabited the area, and the park showcases their rich cultural heritage. Take the Aboriginal Heritage walk or visit The Basin Aboriginal art site. See Red Hands Cave, rock engravings on Lambert Peninsula or middens near Bobbin Head or join an Aboriginal Discovery tour for a more in-depth experience.

Brilliant for birdwatchers
Over 160 bird species have been recorded in the park so bring those binoculars to see wood ducks, crimson rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles and pelicans. The Basin campground is home to some confident kookaburras, so keep a tight hold on your lunch.

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Getting there

 Car

From Turramurra: Enter the park from Bobbin Head Road, at North Turramurra. This is a good route to Bobbin Head and Appletree Bay.

From Mt Colah/Asquith: Enter the park from Ku-ring-gai Chase Road, off the Pacific Highway. This gives you easy access to the large parking areas and picnic facilities at Bobbin Head and Appletree Bay.

From Terrey Hills or Church Point: Enter the park from McCarrs Creek Road. This leads to to Liberator General San Martin Drive, where you'll find the picnic areas and facilities of Illawong Bay and Akuna Bay. It also gives access to West Head Road, West Head and The Basin.

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 Opening times

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Gates to Bobbin Head and Appletree Bay are closed from 8pm to 6am during daylight savings periods, and from 5.30pm to 6am at other times of the year.
  • Gates to West Head are closed from 8.30pm to 6am during daylight savings periods, and from 6pm to 6am at other times of the year.

 Fees

Vehicle entry fees

In this park, vehicle entry fees are $11 per vehicle per day. If you're arriving by bus or taxi you'll need to pay daily entry fees of $4.40 adults, $2.20 children; there is no daily entry fee for teachers/educational supervisors (1 adult per 10 children)

 Close to

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is close to:

  • Hornsby (5km)
  • Sydney (25km)
  • Gosford (50km)

 Public transport

For information about public transport options, visit the NSW transport info website.

 Bike

Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

Weather and climate

 Weather

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park offers an exceptional visit all year round. You're sure to find a walk, tour, activity or attraction to appeal, regardless of the season.

 Visiting through the seasons

There are lots of things waiting for you in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Here are some of the highlights:

Spring (Sept, Oct, Nov)

  • If you're interested in wildflower displays, set aside a day in August or September to stroll through the park's blooming heathlands

Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb)

  • Bring your fishing gear and go camping at The Basin

Winter (Jun, Jul, Aug)

  • Barrenjoey Head (on the other side of Pittwater, but still in the park) is an excellent spot for whale watching. Take the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk between May and August or celebrate International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend in August.

 Temperature

Summer

  • The average temperature ranges between 17°C and 31°C
  • The area’s highest recorded temperature is 43.1°C (1994)

Winter

  • The average temperature ranges between 5°C and 20°C
  • The area’s lowest recorded temperature is -3.5°C (1986)

 Rainfall

  • The mean annual rainfall for the area is 1,146.7mm
  • The wettest months on average are February and March
  • The area's highest recorded rainfall is 253mm in one day

Safety

Bobbin Head Information Centre

Phone: 02 9472 8949
Email: bobbin.head@environment.nsw.gov.au
Street address: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Bobbin Head Road, Mount Colah
Opening hours: 10am-4pm daily or 9am-4pm during summer school holidays, closed 12:00pm-12:30pm (closed Christmas Day)


The Basin and Beechwood Cottage (Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park)

Phone: 02 9974 1011


Sydney North (Kalkari Discovery Centre)

Phone: 02 9472 9300 or 02 9472 9301

Email: snr.discovery@environment.nsw.gov.au

Street address: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Ku-ring-gai Chase Road, Mount Colah

Opening hours: Seven days a week 9am to 5pm; closed Christmas Day

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The view from the top of Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Photo:K. McGrath