Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Less than 25km from the centre of Sydney lies Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, protecting most of the land between Pittwater and the Main North railway line north of Hornsby. Ku-ring-gai is the second oldest park in the state, and one of the most popular due to the variety of walking tracks, and availability of picnic areas. The park protects a huge variety of plant and animal life, as well as an extensive display of aboriginal rock art.
Ku-ring-gai Chase NP is easily reached by train, with Mt Colah, Mt Kuring-gai (note different spelling!), Berowra and Cowan all starting points for easy walks or rides in the park. Several roads also run into and through the park. The main ones are Bobbin Head Rd at Turramurra, Ku-ring-gai Chase Rd at Mt Colah, and McCarrs Creek Rd at Terrey Hills. Ferries also run across Pittwater from Church Point and Palm Beach.
The park boasts a great number of walking tracks. Off the West Head Rd there are 17 numbered tracks, many of them leading to lookouts and beaches. In the centre of the park between Smiths Creek and Cowan Creek, tracks start from many of the streets off Booralie Rd in Terrey Hills. In the western part of the park, the Warrimoo Track from Warrimoo Ave, St Ives, the Sphinx and Bobbin Head Tracks from Bobbin Head Rd, the Gibberagong Track from Grosvenor St, Wahroonga, the Mt Kuring-gai Track from Mt Kuring-gai station and the Berowra Track from Berowra station all lead eventually to Bobbin Head. They can be connected to form longer loops.
Kayaking is a popular activity in the park's waterways. Enjoyable flat water paddling can be found in Appletree Ck, Cockle Ck, Cowan Ck, Smiths Ck and Coal & Candle Ck. Sea kayaks are advised for venturing further north on Cowan Ck as the water starts to get choppy. It is possible to visit the bays and beaches off the Lambert Peninsula (West Head), as well beaches on the west of Cowan Ck which are generally inaccessible by foot, such as Eleanor and Gunyah.
Two good road rides through the park are popular, namely the out and back ride to West Head, and from Mt Colah to Turramurra via Bobbin Head. Offroad, the opportunities are more limited, as bikes cannot be ridden on walking only tracks. Despite this there are a number of tracks where bikes and walkers share. These include most of the Bobbin Head Track, the Long Track, Perimeter Track and Centre Track at Terrey Hills, and a number of the tracks off the Lambert Peninsula. For more information on these, ask at a visitor centre or ranger station.
Abseiling is not allowed in the park under the plan of management.
Time: 4 hrs; Distance: 13km; Fitness: EM; Skill: E; Ascent: 200m
A relatively easy and pleasant walk along Cowan Creek, although marred a bit by the motor boats on the creek.
Time: 3 hrs; Distance: 8km; Fitness: E; Skill: E; Ascent: 180m
A good walk in summer with some interesting aboriginal sites and numerous lookouts.
Time: 3 hrs; Distance: 9km; Fitness: E; Skill: E; Ascent: 180m
A pleasant walk along scenic Cowan Creek to Bobbin Head, and then back via the ridge.
Time: 4 hrs; Distance: 11km; Fitness: EM; Skill: M; Ascent: 200m
A good loop walk with some rock-hopping in Ku-ring-gai Chase NP.