Have you ever wondered what you can do to escape the bustling city life in Sydney? Here is my answer: Go hiking in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park! This national park is not far from Sydney and can be accessed by public transport. I’ve planned to go there for so long and finally, at the end of my stay, I was able to do the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Resolute Beach is probably the most beautiful beach around Sydney which also makes this the best walk around Sydney that I have done. The only regret I have is that I didn’t go there more often to do the other walks or even go camping.
Once you leave the ferry and set foot on the beach, you’ll feel stranded on a deserted island. From the beach you’ll make your way into the bush, listening to cascades of water running down the hills into the ocean and spotting white sandy beaches with crystal clear emerald water looking like in paradise. I made some adjustments to the original route, which doesn’t include Mackerel Beach, so you can access the Resolute Loop Walk by public transport.
This walk offers beautiful scenery, secluded dream beaches, Aboriginal rock art and engravings, adventurous trails and incredible views of Barrenjoey Head and Palm Beach. The walk is perfect for a day trip from Sydney and it only takes about 3 hours. It’s also great to connect with a visit to the lighthouse in Palm Beach. In this guide to the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, you can find everything you need to know, how to get there, what to bring, and a detailed route to experience the best the walk has to offer!
Quick Tips Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
How to get to the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Getting to the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is quite an adventure when travelling by public transport. The national park is accessible by ferry which leaves from Palm Beach. From the city, you can take the B1 line from Wynyard to Dee Why and then change to line 199 to Palm Beach Wharf. The trip takes about 2 hours. You can take the ferry to Mackerel Beach from 9 am once every hour. It only takes 30 minutes to get to your destination. You can purchase the tickets onboard of the wooden ferries. The ferry timetable can be found on the website.
From the wharf in Palm Beach, you can already spot Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The journey is stunning as you pass lots of beautiful coves and can soak in spectacular views. As I love a little adventure, the journey already makes this one the best walk around Sydney to me!
When travelling by public transport, Mackerel Beach is where you can start the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. From there, the walk is a little longer but you get to see Mackerel Beach which is very pretty.
The easiest way to get to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is by car. It takes a bit over 1 hour to get there and you have to pay a 12 dollar fee per vehicle to enter the national park. Drive to the Resolute Picnic Area where you can park your car as this is where the walk usually starts.
When starting at Mackerel Beach, you will walk a different route than when starting from Resolute Picnic Area. In this guide, I will show you how to walk from Mackerel Beach but you can do the Resolute Loop Walk from the picnic area and just leave out the part to and from Mackerel Beach.
The Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park route – Route to the best walk around Sydney
You can walk the Resolute Loop Walk either way. There are lots of stairs, steep sections and scrambling over rocks, so make sure to wear proper shoes and have a reasonable level of fitness. Obviously, the best walk around Sydney is not located in the middle of the city, so make sure to bring enough water!
Once you get off the ferry at Mackerel Beach, also known as Great Mackerel Beach, you’ll feel like in a different world, far away from civilisation. There are no shops, no cafes, only a few houses where you can find the people living in the national park. Mackerel Beach is a 600m strip of white sand with a lagoon and the most beautiful water. It makes you feel like on a tropical island. I was the only person at the beach, so I feel like Mackerel Beach is the perfect place to escape the busy Sydney beaches in summer.
To find the trail to the Resolute Loop Walk, you have to walk to the right when arriving at the wharf. You’ll soon get to a lagoon that you have to cross. On my way back the water was almost gone, so I guess I went at high tide but you still had to walk through some water.
On the other side, you have to walk towards the bush. Look for a palm tree and some big rocks, this is where you find the trail. The trail is marked, so you can’t miss it.
You might wonder if that’s actually the trail and yes, it is. Climb up the rocks and you’ll be on a small path leading you to Resolute Beach.
The path is very narrow and a bit overgrown. You’ll also have to scramble over some rocks or trees but it’s so worth it! However, be careful when walking because there are no fences on the path.
After a while you’ll get a glimpse of a beautiful beach on your right.
On your right, you’ll see Resolute Beach, my favourite beach in Sydney. It’s a 60m sandy beach with the most beautiful water. It’s very calm, so perfect for a swim. There will most likely be a few boats, as it’s a popular spot for people coming from Palm Beach. Even though it was still very serene and my highlight on the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. On your right, you’ll find the stairs to access the beach. There is a cascade of water flowing down the hill, building a little waterfall at the beach. I love how natural and secluded this beach is.
You get stunning views of the Barrenjoey’s headland and lighthouse from Resolute Beach. To continue the Resolute Loop Walk take the stairs back up and turn right.
West Head Beach
West Head Beach is another stunning beach on the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Again, you have to climb down stairs to access the beach. West Head Beach is covered with rocks and just as stunning as Resolute Beach. You also get the best views of Barrenjoey’s headland and lighthouse from there. This is also a good spot for swimming, although Resolute Beach is better. After exploring West Head Beach, head back up the stairs to soak in some great views at West Head Lookout.
West Head Lookout
To get to West Head Lookout, continue on the trail. You’ll get to a sandstone viewing area offering views across Pittwater, the Hawkesbury River, Broken Bay, Lion Island, and the Barrenjoey Headland. There are a few benches, so it’s a good place for a break while soaking in the panoramic views. The water looks absolutely stunning from above and reminded me of the Mediterranean. If you’re interested, you can read the information boards. The lookout has an interesting history as it was once served for protection in WWII.
Red Hands Track
Follow the Red Hands Track for about 800m to get to the Red Hands Cave. The cave is one of the most famous Aboriginal heritage sites in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. You can find handprints, painted with ochre. Please don’t touch the art as it’s very delicate and a lot of handprints are already washed away. There are only a few left, so you can try to find them all!
Resolute Picnic Area
Not far from the Red Hands Cave, there is the Resolute Picnic Area with tables, barbecues and a toilet. This is a great place for a break. If you’re driving, you can start the walk there and bring some things for lunch.
To continue the walk, turn left from the picnic area. When walking to Mackerel Beach, you’ll be on the Resolute trail, a fire trail, passing Aboriginal engravings. They may be a few thousand years old! You can walk around and try to find all the engravings from the information board. The trail is also known as Aboriginal Heritage Walk, as there are so many interesting Aboriginal sites. This also makes it one of the best walks in Sydney.
Aboriginal Occupation Site
You’ll keep walking on this track until you get back to the coast. Not far from the stairs to Resolute Beach, you’ll find an Aboriginal Occupation site. The indigenous people used it as a shelter during the colder months where they put on fire for their families to warm up.
Even though you want to get back to Mackerel Beach, don’t take the North Mackerel Trail on the way as it is closed. From the occupation site, you can turn right on the trail that you took from Mackerel Beach to Resolute Beach and finish the Resolute Loop Walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
Back at Mackarel Beach, you can either spend some time at the beach or walk back to the wharf. I recommend planning in advance when you want to return as the ferries only depart once an hour and often before 6 pm.
What makes the Resolute Beach Loop Walk one of the best hikes around Sydney
- Resolute Beach – One of the most serene beaches around Sydney
- West Head Beach – looking like a tropical paradise
- Lots of history and Aboriginal Heritage sites along the walk
- Not far from the city but insanely beautiful and tranquil
- Opportunity to camp at the Basin in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
- A fun bush walk giving you an adventure feeling
- beautiful views from West Head Lookout
What to bring to the Resolute Loop Walk
- Hiking Shoes
- bank card for the ferry tickets
- first aid kit
I hope you’ll enjoy the Resolute Loop Walk as much as I did! It’s honestly my favourite walk around Sydney and a must in my opinion. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments 🙂