Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

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Overview

Located in Sydney's north, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park combines important history with scenic beauty, making it perfect for school excursions. Bobbin Head is a great place for a family picnic, and parts of the park are ideal for cycling, fishing and bushwalking.

Read more about Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

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.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/kuringgai-chase-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

  • 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.

    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.

    Buy annual pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
    • Bobbin Head Information Centre
      02 9472 8949
      Contact hours: 10am to 4pm daily. 9am to 4pm during summer school holidays, closed 12pm-12:30pm. Closed Christmas Day.
    • 688 Ku-ring-gai Chase Road, Mount Colah, NSW 2079
    • Email: bobbin.head@environment.nsw.gov.au
    More
See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    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 or 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.

    Please note, you cannot reach The Basin campground or Barrenjoey Lighthouse directly by car.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    By bike

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

    By public transport

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

    Best times to visit

    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.

    Spring

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

    Summer

    Bring your fishing gear and go camping at The Basin.

    Winter

    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.

    Facilities

    Boat moorings

    NSW National Parks provides free, courtesy moorings available to all boat users on Cowan Waters in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.  

    There are 54 moorings in 17 locations which can be used by boats up to 14 metres in length. Only one vessel can be attached to each mooring at a time, for up to 24 hours.  

    There's no need to book, just moor your boat at any of the available yellow buoys marked with a NSW National Parks logo. The NPWS mooring locations are shown as a black number inside a yellow circle on this map provided by Department of Roads and Maritime Safety

    Amenities

    Toilets Show more

    Picnic tables Show more

    Barbecue facilities Show more

    Boat ramp

    Cafe/kiosk

    Drinking water Show more

    Public phone

    Showers

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    Park entry fees:

    $12 per vehicle per day.

    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.

    • All Parks Pass - For all parks in NSW (including Kosciuszko NP) $190 (1 year) / $335 (2 years)
    • Multi Parks Pass - For all parks in NSW (except Kosciuszko) $65 (1 year) / $115 (2 years)

    Annual passes and entry fees (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees)

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Permitted

    Fishing

    A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

    Please note that spear guns and hand spears are not permitted in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. They may not be carried through the park and must not be used within 100m of a beach in the national park.

    Prohibited

    Camp fires and solid fuel burners

    Open fires and any form of solid fuel are not allowed.

    Gathering firewood

     

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Nearby towns

    Hornsby (5 km)

    A suburb in Sydney's upper north shore, Hornsby is conveniently located for easy access to Lane Cove National Park, Berowra Valley Regional Park, and the heritage-listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park - Australia's second-oldest national park. Explore walking and cycling tracks and Aboriginal sites, as well as marinas, cafes and picnic areas.

    www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au

    Sydney City Centre (26 km)

    No trip to Sydney is complete without spending some time in the city’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s in central areas like Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens or further out in Centennial Parklands, there’s plenty of green space to go out and enjoy.

    www.sydney.com

    Gosford (50 km)

    Gosford is a great destination for a family day trip or holiday. It's situated on Brisbane Water National Park and surrounded by state forests, lakes and beaches.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

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

    Brilliant for birdwatchers

    Wildflowers in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    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.

    • Pittwater discovery kayak tours with Paddlecraft Escape Sydney’s hustle and bustle for the tranquil world of Pittwater on a guided kayak tour with Paddlecraft. You'll discover beautiful bushland, beaches and even a waterfall.
    • Waratah walking track The long, yet gentle, Waratah walking track takes in wildflowers and scenic water views over Akuna and Yeomens Bay in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • West Head scenic day tours Let Sydney Scenic Trails whisk you away to West Head to soak up panoramic views of rugged coastline and azure waters. You'll also enjoy a short bushwalk and a picnic lunch at beautiful and secluded Flint and Steel Beach.

    A rich Aboriginal heritage

    Aboriginal engravings in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    The park showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Aboriginal people who originally inhabited the area. More than 350 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. They include rock engravings, burial sites, axe grinding grooves and places that show evidence of Aboriginal occupation. For many visitors, these sites and other relics are the most visible reminders of the area's rich, living Aboriginal culture.

    • Aboriginal cultural tours at The Basin Join Guringai Tours for a fascinating day of short walks with Traditional Custodians in beautiful Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It a great way to immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture near Sydney.
    • Aboriginal Heritage walk Take the fascinating Aboriginal Heritage walk highlighting rock art and engravings of the Aboriginal people of West Head in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • Eco cruises at Pittwater and Broken Bay Sail around Pittwater and Broken Bay on an overnight journey with Eco Sailing Cruises. It's a unique way to explore the stunning beaches, walking tracks and lookouts of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • Ku-ring-gai Chase guided bushwalks Explore the highlights of beautiful Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park with the friendly guides of Go Beyond Tours. See wildlife and stunning scenery and discover Aboriginal heritage on this day tour near Sydney.
    • The Basin track and Mackerel track 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.

    Wonderful waterways

    Views from Barrenjoey headland, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    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.

    • Eco cruises at Pittwater and Broken Bay Sail around Pittwater and Broken Bay on an overnight journey with Eco Sailing Cruises. It's a unique way to explore the stunning beaches, walking tracks and lookouts of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • Ku-ring-gai corporate leadership experiences Unlock your team's leadership skills, increase wellbeing and reconnect with nature with Gone Bush Adventures. Your guides will take you on a tour in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park that’s tailor-made to suit your team's requirements.
    • Morning guided kayak tours of Pittwater Soak up the stunning natural beauty of Pittwater estuary on a guided outing with Pittwater Kayak Tours. After paddling, enjoy a swim and short bushwalk in beautiful Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • Pittwater discovery kayak tours with Paddlecraft Escape Sydney’s hustle and bustle for the tranquil world of Pittwater on a guided kayak tour with Paddlecraft. You'll discover beautiful bushland, beaches and even a waterfall.
    • The Basin track and Mackerel track 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.
    • West Head lookout Enjoy incredible views from West Head lookout, regarded as one of Sydney's best in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photograph Pittwater and Barrenjoey Head, or take a short walk from here.
    • West Head scenic day tours Let Sydney Scenic Trails whisk you away to West Head to soak up panoramic views of rugged coastline and azure waters. You'll also enjoy a short bushwalk and a picnic lunch at beautiful and secluded Flint and Steel Beach.
    Show more

    A great location to run, row or ride

    West Head lookout, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    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. 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.

    • Akuna Bay Boating enthusiasts love Akuna Bay. Use the public barbecue and enjoy a picnic at Akuna Bay Marina. It's the ideal spot to recharge after you've been out sailing.
    • Bobbin Head Visit Bobbin Head picnic area in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and enjoy a barbecue or a spot of fishing. Go canoeing or hire a paddle boat for a great daytrip from Sydney.
    • Deluxe camping experience at The Basin Enjoy a hassle-free getaway with help from the EcoTreasures camping set up service. They’ll pitch your tent at The Basin campground and provide all the gear you need for a peaceful and relaxed nature escape.
    • Eco cruises at Pittwater and Broken Bay Sail around Pittwater and Broken Bay on an overnight journey with Eco Sailing Cruises. It's a unique way to explore the stunning beaches, walking tracks and lookouts of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • Hawkesbury farm-to-plate oyster tasting tours If you’re a seafood lover, venture out onto the Hawkesbury’s sparkling waters with Sydney Oyster Tours. You’ll taste delicious seafood and learn all about oyster cultivation.
    • Ku-ring-gai corporate leadership experiences Unlock your team's leadership skills, increase wellbeing and reconnect with nature with Gone Bush Adventures. Your guides will take you on a tour in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park that’s tailor-made to suit your team's requirements.
    Show more

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Long-nosed bandicoot, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: Narelle King

      Long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)

      A nocturnal marsupial and one of the smaller Australian native animals, the long-nosed bandicoot is found across eastern Australia. Populations in the Sydney region have dwindled since European settlement, leaving only endangered colonies in inner western Sydney and at North Head, near Manly. The long-nosed bandicoot has grey-brown fur and a pointed snout which it uses to forage for worms and insects.

    • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

      White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

      White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

    Plants

    • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

      Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

    • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

      An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

    • A red triangle slug on the trunk of a scribbly gum tree in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

      Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

      Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

    •  Grey mangrove, Towra Point Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

      Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

      Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Preserving biodiversity

    NPWS works to monitor and help recover populations of plants and animals in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Ongoing efforts to protect threatened, vulnerable and endangered species include observation, surveys, and distribution and population data collection. The park appreciates the public’s contribution to preserving its biodiversity. Volunteer programs take place in this park, and include seed planting and propagation.

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to ecosystems within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Reduction of these threats, such as foxes, bitou bush and boneseed, as well as ongoing risk assessments for new and emerging weeds, is an important part of the work NPWS does to protect the biodiversity values of this park.

    Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

    Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park features notable historic heritage. Memorial sites within the park receive ongoing conservation work to preserve it for years to come, and the park undertakes routine maintenance and upgrading of all its facilities.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park offers some of the area’s best recreational activities, including kilometres of walking tracks and horse riding and mountain biking trails. NPWS undertakes regular maintenance of such infrastructure and facilities, and considers the addition of new ones where appropriate.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is home to many Aboriginal sites. NPWS continues to monitor the conditions of Aboriginal sites in Ku-ring-gai to ensure that the culture of this park is preserved for years to come.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.