Visiting the National Parks is a great way to enhance your holiday, or even take a long weekend getaway. You definitely have one nearby wherever you are in New South Wales, or even on the border of the adjacent states because there are over 850 national parks in NSW. Explore as many as you can and choose your favourite. Let us know which one it is and why. We will be highlighting some of the most popular ones, make sure we include your favourite! We originally journeyed through many of the National Park in Queensland  and now we are making our way through New South Wales.

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The view from West Head Lookout over to Barrenjoey in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Photo Credit: “Panoramic View from West Head” by John Dalton at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

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Here are some of the previous New South Wales National Parks we have featured:

Barrington Tops National Park

Hiking in Barrington Tops National Park

Camping in Barrington Tops National Park

Lane Cove National Park

Tapin Tops National Park

Blue Mountains National Park

Royal National Park

Blue Mountains National Park

The Oldest National Park in Australia, Royal National Park

Wollemi Pine National Park

Warrumbungle National Park

Washpool National Park

The Rainforest Way  highlighted Wollumbin National Park and Nightcap National Park

Our post about some of the Best Nature Walks in New South Wales  included Dorrigo National Park and Eurobodalla National Park

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park was covered in our blog post about Wandering the Waterfall Way

We started out our recent journey through more NSW parks in the vast wilderness of Barrington Tops National Park. It is so vast, in fact, that it took 4 blog posts to cover it all including: Hiking in Barrington Tops National Park, Looking Out Over Nature in Barrington Tops National Park,  and Camping in Barrington Tops National Park. Next, we took a look at Lane Cove National Park, then we travelled to Tapin Tops National Park. Our last post covered a lot of ground in

Capertee National Park and Gardens of Stone National Park. Today’s post is all about Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

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Cowan Creek Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Photo Credit: “Cowan Creek Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park” by The original uploader was XLerate at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Berichard using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

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Boat hires on the Hawkesbury River Photo Credit: Environment.gov.au

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a great place to spend an extended holiday because you can also visit the adjacent island nature reserves. The National Park is very large by itself at almost 15,000 hectares. There are 3 villages located within the boundaries of the National Park and the park also encompasses the Barrenjoey Headland on the north side, and then plenty of beaches, the Hawkesbury River, Aboriginal sites, and close to 50 different walks. For someplace that is so close to the busiest metropolitan hub in New South Wales, it is impressive to see the extreme biodiversity that is prevalent here just 30 minutes north of Sydney. Perhaps the abundance of the variety of plant and animal life because it has been a conservation area since 1894. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park along with Lion Island, Long Island, and Spectacle Island Nature Reserves gained National Heritage listing in 2006.

Getting to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

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Sydney Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

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Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is located just about a 30 minute drive north of Sydney. There are many different Budget car rental locations in Sydney  where you can rent a car and make your way north to the park. Not only do we have the best car rental deal in Sydney, our incredible staff can help you choose the right car and offer up local travel tips. Be sure to let them know where you are going so that they can deliver the best experience for your holiday. Here are some other blogs we have covered that include holiday ideas for Sydney and surrounds:

Amazing Outdoor Wedding Destinations near Sydney

Road Trip: Sydney to Melbourne

Things to Do on Holiday in Sydney

Free Things to Do in Sydney

Sydney Holiday Ideas for Families with Kids

New Year’s Eve in Sydney

Places to see in and Around Sydney

5 Day Trips from Sydney

Sydney’s Famous and Secret Beaches

The Amazing Pacific Coast Drive: Sydney to Brisbane

Things to Do at Taronga Zoo in Sydney

Visit Australia’s Oldest National Park: Royal National Park

Quirky Places to Stay in NSW near Sydney

Best Scenic Drives: Greater Blue Mountains Drive

Flora and Fauna of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

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Resolute Beach Photo Credit: Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

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Banksia Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

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Bushtail Possum Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

You will be amazed at the differing amount of vegetation you will see here. There are over 1,000 native species of plants documented in the National Park. Part of the reason for such a massive amount of diversity is the landscape which includes open forest, woodland, swamps, and rainforest. There are also plenty of animals to see while exploring the national park including the bushtail possum, the spotted-tailed quoll, the southern brown bandicoot, koalas, and the eastern bent-wing bat. In addition to that list there are 100 moths and butterflies fluttering about. Neighboring Lion Island which is adjacent to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is home to the largest colony of little penguins in the Sydney region. The colony thrives due to the diversity and is more stable than larger populations in other areas of Australia. A great place for the kids to learn about and explore the wildlife diversity is at WIlderQuest at the Kalkari Discovery Centre in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. One of the important attractions here is learning to search for bush friendly bugs and discovering the secret lives of bees and how they play a very important role in the ecosystem.

Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse

 

Barrenjoey Head Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

 

Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse Photo Credit: “BarrenjoeyLighthouse” by Mark Horsnell – Own work (Own Photo). Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

 

1902 Picture of the Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse Photo Credit: “Barrenjoey Light, 1902 cropped” by Barrenjoey_Light,_1902.jpg: Searcy, Alfredderivative work: Muhandes (talk) – Barrenjoey_Light,_1902.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

 

The Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse has been a fixture at the point of Barrenjoey Head. It has been a fixture there since 1881. The lighthouse and this isolated part of the park have a rich history as a beacon for boats. The lighthouse is 113 metres high and is visible as far out as 19 nautical miles.

Aboriginal History

 

Aboriginal Rock Painting in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Photo credit: “Ku-ring-gai Chase – petroglyph” by Poyt448 Peter Woodard – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

 

The Basin Aboriginal Art Site Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

 

Red Hands Cave Aboriginal Art Site Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

 

Red Hands Cave Painting Aboriginal Art Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

We just explained to you about the rich history of the lighthouse here in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, but it doesn’t hold a candle (pun intended) to the Aboriginal history and culture that is here. When you visit here, you can see and learn about the evidence from the Indigenous people here that dates back over 7,400 years. This region is home to two clans: the Garrigal people who lived around Broken Bay and the Terramerragal people who lived around the Turramurra area. You can see some of the rock engravings, paintings, grinding grooves, and stone arrangements that date back over 600 years. All of the Aboriginal art and the 800+ documented burial grounds are very important to the Indigenous heritage of the people. There is a walking track that takes you to the Basin Aboriginal Art site which is best early morning or late afternoon when the shadows help the faint engravings show up better. The Basin houses some of the best examples of rock engravings by the Garrigal people of the Gurringai Nation.

Camping at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

 

Basin Campgrounds Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

 

Basin Campgrounds Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

 

Basin Campgrounds Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au

 

Basin Campgrounds Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
Tent camping, remote camping and backpack camping are all available here at one of the most popular beach camping spots in Sydney.. Other amenities include picnic tables, barbecues, drinking water, showers, toilets, and a public phone. There is room for 400 campers but you can still make reservations up to 12 months in advance. The large grassy campground area overlooks Pittwater, which means beautiful views and surroundings. Swimming and biking are popular activities near the campgrounds. Keep an eye out for the local swamp wallabies and listen for the kookaburras.