Hear that? It’s the call of your couch. As a hectic working week comes to an end, it’s way too easy to succumb to the same pattern of trackies, the regular cafes and staying local. But we can do you one better. A weekend away with mates is entirely possible without much prep or even a car. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a quick 90 minute escape from the city and the perfect place for a simple weekend away. Here’s how to do it.
Saturday morning – America Bay
Jump in the car and set off. It’s about an hour (one favourite album) from the CBD to West Head Road, the portal to all the spots worth visiting along West Head. Park there to begin the first walk of the weekend, the easy trek to America Bay.
This spot is secluded and gorgeous: a great photo op. The walk there is 1.8km return, and as you meander along the sandstone outcrop shaded by blue gums, you’ll pass ancient Aboriginal art and carvings on rock walls by the Guringai People (it goes without saying, keep your hands to yourself).
Be on the lookout for watering holes filled with yabbies and tadpoles as the scenery turns from brushy woodlands to a trickling creek as you inch closer to the ocean. At the end of the track, a glorious vista will open up over Cowan Waters. An obvious choice for a picnic. The ground here does lead down to the water, but it’s both unsafe and illegal. It’s steep, unmarked, and dangerous if you slip.
There’s limited mobile reception – perfect for a weekend off the feed – just be sure to let your loved ones know where you’re at.
Saturday arvo – Resolute Beach
The most life-affirming name on the list, Resolute Beach is another walk that’s around 2.5km one way. Drive over to Resolute picnic area, then follow the signs down the path to a secluded strip of sand. You’ll pass the Red Hands Cave, a rock overhang with ochre clay blown over handprints.
If you’re feeling exhausted, take a shortcut here and skip a section. The rest of the way down is a slow descent through bushland straight to the beach.
Glimpses of Resolute Track and views over Pittwater will flicker through the trees as you walk down. The beach is a proper sun-soaker, but you might have to share the sand with boat owners and picnickers from the mainland – it’s well-known among the locals.
Saturday night – The Basin campground
The Basin is the only campground in the national park, and is accessible by a 20 min ferry ride from Palm Beach or a 30 min steep walk from The Basin trailhead. Book ahead so you’re guaranteed a spot. Once you’re there it’s heaven: soft grassland surrounded by calm swimmable water, swamp wallabies, kookaburras, and goannas for the wildlife lovers, fire pits and BBQs for the foodies, and more than enough room for a cricket pitch. Idyllic, right? This is the chilled weekend away you needed so badly. There’s limited food (just vending machines for emergency snacking), so just make sure you’ve brought supplies.
Sunday morning – the pack up and West Head
Ah, the joy of waking up with the sun through the tent and the kookaburras cackling. Grab a quick breakfast on the BBQ (sunny side up is a no-brainer) before the inevitable scrambling pack-up. You’ll need to be out by 10am, and remember the rule when driving here: what goes down the hill must come back up – #LeaveNoTrace
After the clean-up, tackle the final stop of your trip, West Head lookout. Hop in the car and continue along West Head Road. There’s two options here: either drive to the carpark or take one last hike from West Head Road. You won’t regret it, the views are breathtaking – a panorama of deep blue with Lion Island ahead and the Central Coast to the north. Palm Beach and Pittwater to the East. The best bit? The view is one of the least-known in Sydney.
It’s time to slowly cruise back feeling chilled out as ever. Until next time.