‘We do live in an amazingly beautiful city, don’t we?’ says my friend and hiking companion Duncan.
How could I not agree? We’re sitting on rocks by a beautiful beach with spotless sand, surrounded by spectacular forest. We’ve just been admiring millennia-old Aboriginal rock carvings. It’s the peak summer holiday period and we’re less than an hour’s drive from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, technically still inside the city limits. Yet we have it all to ourselves.
It’s been a few years since I last visited Kuringai National Park, north of the centre of Sydney. In the past I’ve often driven visitors out to West Head to admire the view across Pittwater.
I’ve ridden the loop out here on the bike – a superb, almost car-free road with an excellent surface and some challenging hills.
But this is the first time I’ve ever walked here. That’s a ridiculous state of affairs, because Kuringai boasts many kilometres of walking trails, connecting secluded harbours and beaches.
Entry to Kuringai National Park costs $12 per car for a day pass. Our loop from the picnic area to Mackerel Beach and back via West Head took us an easy three hours to walk.
There are no shops or cafes along the way, and only private houses at Mackerel Beach. It was over 35 degrees, so thanks very much for the kind lady who filled our water bottles – with iced water from her fridge. Much appreciated!