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The Basin track and Mackerel track

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Overview

The Basin track and Mackerel track offer stunning ocean views, as well as one of Sydney's best Aboriginal Art sites. You can also enjoy a picnic and swim, or catch a ferry to other scenic spots on Pittwater.

Where
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Distance
9.6km return
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade
Grade 3
What to
bring
Sturdy shoes, sunscreen, drinking water, hat
Please note
  • The Basin track is 6.4km return, and Mackerel track is 3.2km return
  • Mackerel Beach can’t be accessed by the walking track, only by ferry or private vessel

Walking the scenic Basin track and Mackerel track is an excellent way of exploring Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

You can start both these tracks from West Head road, 8.5km from the Liberator General San Martin Drive junction. Head along the ridge top and stop to explore the Basin Aboriginal Art site. From here, follow signs to The Basin campground, and enjoy glimpses of Pittwater through the trees before descending to the campground. Spend as much time as you like in this popular area, where you can take a refreshing swim, play games on the grass clearing and enjoy the facilities. When you’re ready, you simply walk back to West Head Road via the Basin trail, or alternatively you can catch a Palm Beach Ferry and enjoy some of the beaches of Pittwater.

To explore the Mackerel track take the left hand turn after the Basin Aboriginal Art site. Head out to the point to enjoy the impressive views across Pittwater, and look down upon Mackerel Beach to the north and Currawong to the south. To return, follow the Mackerel track back to West Head road.

You’ll see more of the park’s stunning scenery on the way, including heathlands, grassy woodlands and dry eucalypt forests.

Take a virtual tour of The Basin track and Mackerel track captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Tours and events at this location

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Edward River canoe and kayak trail, Murray Valley National Park. Photo: David Finnegan.

Conservation program:

Saving our Species conservation program

Saving our Species is a innovative conservation program in NSW. It aims to halt and reverse the growing numbers of Australian animals and plants facing extinction. This program aims to secure as many threatened species that can be secured in the wild as possible, for the next 100 years. 

Mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus). Photo: Cate Aitken

Park info

  • in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • 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.

    • The entrance to Bobbin Head and Appletree Bay is 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.
    • No vehicle access to The Basin campground or to Barrenjoey Headland
  • Park entry fees:

    $12 per vehicle per day. Bus: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day). There is no daily entry fee for teachers/educational supervisors (1 adult per 10 children).

    Buy an annual pass.
    • Sydney North (Bobbin Inn, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park)
      (02) 9472 8949
      Contact hours: 10am-4pm daily. 9am-4pm during summer school holidays (closed 12pm-12:30pm) (closed Christmas Day)
    • Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Bobbin Head Road, Mount Colah
    • Email: bobbin.head@environment.nsw.gov.au
      Fax: (02) 9457 0113
    More
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See more visitor info
The view of the ocean from along the walk. Photo:Andy Richards