Sydney-based freelance writer who loves finding the words to capture the atmosphere of city events and the experience of the great outdoors.
Published February 25th 2015
Relax, splash and socialise with goannas
Leave the car behind and let the weekday pressures melt into relaxation as you catch the ferry or take the walking track down to The Basin in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
On the western foreshores of Pittwater, the Basin is an easy day-trip from Sydney CBD, but can also accommodate up to 400 campers for longer stays. As you can only take along what you can carry, regulars say it rarely feels over-crowded, even in the popular summer months.
The Basin offers a camp site, grassy recreation, BBQ and picnic area, inland lagoon and sheltered beach with lovely Pittwater views.
Arriving in bright sunshine with a gaggle of excited five year olds, we opted for a spot under one of the many shady pine trees at the edge of the lagoon.
With the tide high, we splashed, swam and chased shoals of fish in the shallow waters, enjoying the silky soft sand between our toes. As the water retreated, a current developed flowing from the lagoon towards the ocean - fantastic fun for swimmers to float in and ending in the relative safety of the shark net. Low tide then revealed the hidden world of crabs, yabbies, sea stars and other sand dwellers, much to the curiosity and delight of the little ones in our group.
Sand dwellers revealed at low tide. Copyright 2015 ScribblyGum.
The more adventurous had brought along paddle-boards and inflatable kayaks to enjoy the calm waters and explore the distant corners of the lagoon; others simply enjoyed a long leisurely swim.
There are several BBQs, an amenities block (no hot water) and fresh drinking water available. Just beware the wallabies and goannas that roam freely around the site. The goannas are very persistent in their attempts to snatch a snack and both young and old in our group were caught out by well-camouflaged wallaby dung under the pines.
Persistent goanna, The Basin. Copyright 2015 ScribblyGum.
As we packed up to catch the last ferry, couples hung back in the gentle evening sun and an older generation of yacht owners, pulled up in a flotilla of motor launches to socialise over an evening BBQ.
If you return to Palm Beach by ferry and are in the mood to linger, take-out fish and chips on the beach wall near the jetty is a great way to extend the holiday feeling until sundown.
If however, you are staying longer or took the bush track down, try a short detour to the aboriginal paintings just off the Basin track near West Head Road – they have been recommended to us several times.
Staying longer is our plan for next time!
Although almost $50 return for a family of four plus $10 landing fees, the ferry (or a private boat) has to be the most fun way to arrive for first time visitors. National Park vehicle fees, the walking track plus Basin entry fees would be more cost-effective for repeat visits.