Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is an ideal day trip from Sydney. In just one hour, you are in the middle of a dense forest exploring untouched rivers and creeks. You’ll find many options to wander in the wilderness of the park. If you’re not in the mood for making too many efforts, here’s a leisurely one-day itinerary around Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
If you want to maximise your visit, you may be interested in joining a tour instead of following your own itinerary. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a great place to learn about the Aboriginal culture, and a guide can enhance your experience. Check this one out*.
1. Discover the Aboriginal Red Hands Cave
A few walks start at the Resolute picnic area, including a short one in the forest that will take you to the Red Hands Cave. There, you will see a few ochre hand-prints on the rocks – but don’t expect too much. Although it’s not the most impressive Aboriginal site, it’s an easy one to access close to Sydney. I found it was an excellent opportunity to stop, think and even talk about the First People of Australia, the oldest living culture in the world. Sydney has a fascinating (yet tragic) history, and I highly recommend watching the SBS documentaries if you’re interested in the topic.
At the picnic area, you may spot goannas wandering around for food.
2. West Head Lookout
You can drive to the lookout, or walk down from the Red Hands Cave. If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone to give you a ride back.
The lookout offers stunning views of Palm Beach, Broken Bay and the start of the Hawkesbury River.
You will also spot a few kookaburras waiting for the leftovers of visitors’ snacks.
3. Explore Cowan Creek by boat
We packed a picnic and headed to Cottage Point kiosque to hire a small boat. You don’t need a license to hire a boat, but you will have to allow extra time for briefing if you don’t have any experience. The first two hours are expensive, but the extra hours can make the trip worth it.
In 2.5 hours, we had time to have a lovely break at Jerusalem Bay and a quick visit to Yeomans Bay.
From the water, the views of the sandstone cliffs are stunning. As you go from one small inlet to another, you get a sense of the immensity of the park. You may stop at a secluded beach on the way.
If you’re on a budget or keen for a more active day, you can also hire kayaks there.
Food and drinks in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
If you don’t want to pack a picnic, you can find a few options to have lunch in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park:
- A small restaurant with a view at Cottage Point Kiosque
- A selection of snacks at the kiosque to make a picnic
- A cafe at Akuna Bay
There’s no drinking tap water available in this part of the park.
Where is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park?
The Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is about 30-kilometres north of Sydney. There are two accesses by road, on each side of Cowan Creek.
One is close to the M1, the famous Pacific Motorway that will take you on Australia’s East Coast from Brisbane to Sydney. But that’s not the part I offer to explore in this article. The places listed in this post are on the east side of Cowan Creek. You can also get there on a ferry boat from Palm Beach.
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Eloise lives in Brisbane (Australia), but you won’t find her often in the city. When she is not disconnected underwater or in a national park, she loves sharing her travel tips and inspiring her readers to take care of our beautiful planet. She considers every weekend as a two-day holiday break. Her approach: you don’t always need to go far to travel. Still, she also enjoys exploring the world and discovering new cultures. Eloise is originally from France and, before moving to Brisbane, she lived in Sydney, Istanbul and England.