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The Basin track and Mackerel track

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Affected by closures, check current alerts 


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.

9.6km return
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade 3
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
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


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A family walk a boardwalk section of Bouddi coastal walk, Bouddi National Park. Photo: John Spencer/OEH.

General enquiries

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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 the rest of the year.
    • Gates to West Head are closed from 8.30pm to 6am during daylight savings periods, and from 6pm to 6am the rest of the year.
  • Park entry fees:

    $12 per vehicle per day. You can also pay for your visit via the Park’nPay app.

    Vehicles over 8 seats: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day). Students on educational programs: $1.10 per student. Teachers/educational supervisors: free (1 adult per 10 students).

    Other fees:

    A $3 per adult, $2 per child landing fee may apply for day visitors to The Basin campground. Please pay at the campground wharf. Landing fees are included in your camping fees.

    Group bookings:

    Under the Plan of Management for this park, prior written approval is required for organised groups of 40 or more people planning to visit this park. Contact the park office before your visit.

    Buy annual pass
See more visitor info