I'm a little ashamed to say that after living on the Northern Beaches in Sydney for over 30 years, I have only just discovered that West Head in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park has several interesting and challenging bush walks.
If you are an avid hiker or even if you aren't, you can still enjoy the drive down to West Head lookout and take in the spectacular views out to Palm Beach and up to Broken Bay. There is a picnic area for groups that just want to enjoy the view and explore nearby. Or you can take your choice of 16 walking trails along West Head Road that vary from easy to challenging. Some are a short 20 minutes bushwalk and others can take you the whole day.
I really enjoy a day out hiking through the bush discovering the natural beauty that is our beautiful Australia. I work inside an open plan office with no windows, dealing with challenging people and to me, walking in the great outdoors is my healing process.
The Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is the perfect area to escape to. This National Park is the traditional country of the Guringai people and its easy to see why it was such a treasured land. The area has rich soil, sandstone, beautiful native plants (over 900 plant species have been recorded) wildflowers and birdlife.
When you reach the high points of the walking trails in West Head, you can enjoy magnificent ocean views along Pittwater, up the Hawkesbury River and over to Brisbane Waters. In the distance, you can see Bouddhdi National Parks on the Central Coast and depending on where you are, also the picturesque point of Palm Beach.
As we watched lone Yachts bracing the breeze, it made us dream of owning our own boat one day. How idyllic it would be to be able to anchor in a sunny protected bay and soak up the last few afternoon rays of sunset. One can dream!
This track is approx. 750 metres return and takes around 40 minutes. The entrance starts easy enough weaving a narrow path down past a rock ledge viewpoint and further past high rock walls and bushland.
It is all worth it when you finally reach the beach. The clean stretch of sand and impressive rock boulders piled up to make this a pretty beach. The view, of course, is outstanding, stretching out over the vast ocean and across to the Palm Beach Headland.
The walk back up is challenging. I walk every day with my dog but believe me, the first stretch of steps and path up to the waterfall area is steep. I guarantee the hike back up will make even a younger seemingly fit person puff for air. Expect that your knees and thighs might feel a slight burn from the exertion.
Of course, you can stop and sit on a rock for a rest along the way, which is what I had to do. It was really exhilarating to achieve the walk. After seeing the beauty in the area, I am now determined to revisit West Head earlier in the day and try the longer walking trails.
If you are entering the park by car for the day, you will need to pay a day entry fee of $12. I also suggest asking for a walking trail map which will give you all the information you require so you can find and decide on what trails to take. If you decide you would go back again and again, then I would suggest buying a Multi Parks pass $65 (this option includes entry to all NSW National Parks except Kosciuszko National Park). See all the options on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife app or website