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Home arrow Hiking near Sydney arrow Ku-Ring-Gai Chase arrow The Basin Track and Mackerel Track     

Bushwalking track notes, photographs, maps and more for The Basin Track and Mackerel Track are found in each of the tabs below
The Basin Track and Mackerel Track
Time: 3 hrs Walking time
Please allow extra time to rest and to explore
11.3 km NNE of Terrey Hills
Length: 5.9 km Walk Length
As this is a Circuit style walk, the 5.9 km includes the walking distance from the start around the loop and back to the start again
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Climb: 226 m Total Climbing
This walk has a total cumulative climb of 226 m, this is the total of the elevation gains made in each of the walks uphill sections
There is car access and parking near the start and end of this walk
Style: Circuit
Track: Hard

This walk is a great way to see some popular areas in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The walk from West Head Rd travels to The Basin campsite, and the ferry takes you over to Mackerel Beach. Before returning to West Head Rd, the walk also gives the option to head down to Currawong Beach. There is plenty to do at the beach, with swimming and picnic areas, and clearings for other games. (open in app)


Today's Fire rating
LOW MODERATE (No fire ban)
  Bushwalking track notes photographs, maps and camping spots for The Basin Track and Mackerel Track

Map of Walk

Location

                Sponsor of The Basin Track and Mackerel Track bushwalking tracknotes
Map of The Basin Track and Mackerel Track
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Map Controls - Show Contours | Hide Path | Hide Distances | Hide Names
Map Scale 1 km
Int. Basin Trk and West Head Rd
Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Entry
Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Entry
Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Exit
Int. Basin Trk and Mackerel Trk
Int. Basin Trk and Euro Trk
Int. Basin Trk and Euro Trk
The Basin Campsite
The Basin Wharf
Mackerel Beach Wharf
Mackerel North Gate
Mackerel South Gate
Mackerel South Gate
Mackerel Trk Clearing
Int. Basin Trk and Mackerel Trk
Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Exit
Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Entry
Starting point for this hiking track: Int. Basin Trk and West Head Rd

Base maps are used under licence and is © Department of lands   Panorama Avenue Bathurst 2795   www.lands.nsw.gov.au

Maps that cover the walk area (please always carry maps of the area)

Print a map and track notes here
 Broken Bay 1:25 000 Map Series NSW-91301N 
 Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Tourist Map 1:40 000 Map Series CMA Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Tourist Map 
 Sydney 1:100 000 Map Series 9130 

Photo Gallery

 
The Basin Track Carpark
 
The Basin Track Carpark +
 
The Basin Track to Aboriginal Engravings
 
The Basin Track to Aboriginal Engravings +
 
The service trail to the Basin
 
The service trail to the Basin +

 
Seed pod
 
Seed pod +
 
Steep signpost on The Basin service trail
 
Steep signpost on The Basin service trail +
 
View over Pittwater from The Basin Track
 
View over Pittwater from The Basin Track +

 
Signpost down the hill
 
Signpost down the hill +
 
Service trail concrete
 
Service trail concrete +
 
Information sign at the Basin
 
Information sign at the Basin +

 
Beechwood Function Centre
 
Beechwood Function Centre +
 
The Basin Campground Dumpsters. White posts to wharf
 
The Basin Campground Dumpsters. White posts to wharf +
 
The Basin wharf
 
The Basin wharf +

 
Mackerel Beach Wharf
 
Mackerel Beach Wharf +
 
Mackerel Beach
 
Mackerel Beach +
 
Stairs on south end of Mackerel Beach
 
Stairs on south end of Mackerel Beach +

 
Track south of Mackerel Beach
 
Track south of Mackerel Beach +
 
Track under house
 
Track under house +
 
House next to track
 
House next to track +

 
South gate of Mackerel Beach
 
South gate of Mackerel Beach +
 
Track above Mackerel houses
 
Track above Mackerel houses +
 
View over Pittwater
 
View over Pittwater +

 
Water tanks beside track
 
Water tanks beside track +
 
Track down to Mackerel Beach
 
Track down to Mackerel Beach +
 
Track through ferns to Mackerel Beach
 
Track through ferns to Mackerel Beach +

 
Service trail away from caldasac
 
Service trail away from caldasac +
 
Mackerel Beach from the clearing
 
Mackerel Beach from the clearing +
 
Mackerel Beach service trail
 
Mackerel Beach service trail +

 
Mackerel Beach service trail
 
Mackerel Beach service trail +
 
The Basin service trail
 
The Basin service trail +
 
The Basin Track to Aboriginal Engravings
 
The Basin Track to Aboriginal Engravings +

Terrain

Cross sectional view of the The Basin Track and Mackerel Track bushwalking track

Cross Section of the The Basin Track and Mackerel Track bushwalking track



Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the The Basin Track and Mackerel Track bushwalking track

Summary of the gradients over the the lenght of the The Basin Track and Mackerel Track bushwalking track

Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.

Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
Length 6km
Time 3 hrs
.


Grade 4/6

Track: Hard
AS 2156.1 Gradient Short steep hills (3/6)
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Signs Minimal directional signs (4/6)
Experience Required Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing

Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk.
Gradient
2.8km of this walk is flat with no steps and another 2.6km has short steep hills. The remaining (2.5km) has gentle hills with occasional steps.

Quality of track
7km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 610m follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely. The remaining (130m) follows a smooth and hardened path.

Signs
3.7km of this walk is clearly signposted and another 3.6km has directional signs at most intersection. The remaining (610m) has minimal directional signs.

Experience Required
Around 8km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 180m requires some bushwalking experience.

Weather
This whole walk, 8km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).

Infrastructure
Around 4.5km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced), whilst the remaining 3.5km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats).

Track Notes


Drive to Int. Basin Trk and West Head Rd
You can drive or ride to this start of this Bushwalk A park entry fee is required for driving into the park.
You can drive or ride to the start of this walk
Use these links to plan your trip to the start of this walk.
Plan your trip from --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|

(0 km) Int. Basin Trk and West Head Rd to Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Entry
Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 363 m Time = 7 mins
Climb = 13 m Descent = -3 m
From the car park, this walk follows the management trail around the green gate, keeping West Head Rd on the right. The walk continues along the trail, which tends to the left, and soon comes to a signposted intersection with the 'Aboriginal Engravings' track on the right.

(0.36 km) Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Entry to Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Exit
Alternate Route: Walk: Easy - bushtrack ( Show detail)
Length = 105 m Time = 2 mins
Climb = 3 m Descent = -1 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Aboriginal Engravings' sign into the heath and away from the management trail. The track tends left, to a ramp after approximately 10m. The track follows the wooden edging over the rock surface, between the engravings, heading to the signposted intersection on the management trail again.
Turn sharp left to rejoin the main walk, following the notes from 7.51km 'Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Exit'.

The Basin Track Aboriginal Engravings Alt = 163 m
The Basin Track Aboriginal Engravings, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a large rock surface scattered with Aboriginal engravings. The engravings depict men, fish, hopping wallabies and a club. The engravings are marked with interpretive signs which outline where on the rocks the engravings are and how they were made.

(0.36 km) Int. Basin Trk and Aboriginal Engraving Trk Entry to Int. Basin Trk and Euro Trk
Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 1.53 km Time = 27 mins
Climb = 14 m Descent = -62 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads south up the hill (keeping the engravings on the right) to the next signposted intersection with the 'Aboriginal Engravings' track on the right.
Continue straight: From the intersection, the walk winds gently uphill along the management trail, keeping the engravings track initially on the right. The management trail then comes to the intersection with the signposted 'Mackerel service trail'[1] on the left.
Continue straight: From the intersection, the walk follows the wide management trail up the hill, not following the 'Mackarel Service Trail' signs arrow. The track winds left up the hill and leads up to a high point on a hill with views of the sea. The track then undulates across a saddle and up another hill. The track then leads down the hill for a little while to the sign marked intersection on the right.

(1.89 km) Int. Basin Trk and Euro Trk to Dam
Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 871 m Time = 18 mins
Climb = 25 m Descent = -42 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the flat, wide Euro track (un-signposted) that heads off the main management trail. The track winds along the hillside as it contours around the hill to the right. After passing a rocky platform, the track comes to the dam and a view into the valley.
(Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn right to continue along this walk.)

The Basin Dam Alt = 94 m
The Basin Dam, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a large pool of water dammed by a wall, well above The Basin's lagoon. The dam is reasonably deep, however it is used as a water supply. This is a nice spot to enjoy the views into the valley.

(1.89 km) Int. Basin Trk and Euro Trk to The Basin Campsite
Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 782 m Time = 18 mins
Climb = 8 m Descent = -115 m
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads down the hill following the sign to 'The Basin .7km'. The walk winds sharply and steeply down a trail that becomes cement partway along. The walk continues down to the open grass of the large camping area.

Beechwood Function and Convention Centre Alt = 1 m
Beechwood Function and Convention Centre, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a historic building situated next to The Basin camping area. The cottage was built in 1882 by convicts, pirates and sailors living in the area at the time. The cottage is now a venue for hire, with space and equipment to cater for 60 people.
More info

The Basin campground Alt = m
The Basin Campsite, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a large grassed campsite overlooking Pittwater. The Basin is the only place you can camp in the National Park. However, it has capacity to sleep 400 people and many facilities to adequately cope. The Basin is accessible by has ferry and management trail, but there is no car access. There are numerous facilities such as drinking water, flush toilets, picnic tables, electric and wood barbecues, in addition to cold showers, an amenities block and a soft drink vending machine. There is a large lagoon for swimming, and some nice walks to explore.

(2.67 km) The Basin Campsite to The Basin Wharf
Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 132 m Time = 2 mins
Climb = 0 m Descent = -3 m
Continue straight: From the start of the cement road, this walk heads through the campsite, leading past the large dumpster bins on the left. The track heads past the white poles to the wooden shelter near the water - the Basin Wharf.

(2.81 km) The Basin Wharf to Mackerel Beach Wharf
Walk: Easy - transport
Length = 2.09 km Time = 32 mins
Climb = 2 m Descent = 0 m
Continue straight: From The Basin Wharf, this walk takes the ferry across Pittwater to Mackerel Beach Wharf. The Palm Beach Ferry service operates hourly from 9am to about 8pm - check their timetable for more info. The ferry starts from Palm Beach and goes via Bennett's, Bonnie Doon, The Basin, Currawong then Mackerel. PH: 9974 2411. (There is no EFTPOS on board, please carry cash) More info
Note: The distance and altitude change for this ride is not included in the total for this walk.

Mackerel Beach Alt = 2 m
Mackerel Beach, also known as Great Mackerel Beach, is a 600m stretch of sand facing east over Pittwater. The beach is backed by a lagoon and a small community of houses. Mackerel Beach has a wharf with public ferry access. Mackerel Beach and its southern neighbour, Little Mackerel or Currawong Beach, were originally purchased for farming in 1823 by John Clarke. The land was then subdivided and more than a hundred houses were built, many of which still stand today.

(4.9 km) Mackerel Beach Wharf to Mackerel North Gate
Walk: Easy - beach
Length = 291 m Time = 6 mins
Climb = 17 m Descent = -3 m
Turn left : From the wharf, this walk heads south along the beach, keeping the water on the left, for approximately 300m to the gate just behind a boulder and timber stairs on the beach. (one of the last obvious staircases)

(5.19 km) Mackerel North Gate to Mackerel South Gate
Track: Hard - footpath
Length = 176 m Time = 4 mins
Climb = 18 m Descent = -5 m
Veer right: From the gate, this walk heads up the sandstone path through the line of houses. The footpath continues through and under some houses for approximately 200m, contouring with the hillside to a gate which opens onto the bush.

(5.37 km) Mackerel South Gate to Currawong Beach
Optional sidetrip: Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 265 m Time = 7 mins
Climb = 17 m Descent = -26 m
Continue straight: From the gate, this walk heads down the headland away from the house. The track drops down some small rock slopes to continues down the hill side for approximately 200m to Currawong Beach.
(Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn left to continue along this walk.)

Currawong Beach Alt = 3 m
Currawong Beach, Ku-ring-gai National Park, is a 400m stretch of sand looking east over Pittwater. The beach is situated between The Basin and Mackerel Beach. Currawong Beach has a wharf which allows for access via the water. Backing the beach is Currawong Beach Cottages and some steep hills. 'Little Mackerel Beach' was purchased in 1949 by the NSW Labour Council for their members. The resort was called Currawong, which is now the common name for the beach.

(5.37 km) Mackerel South Gate to Mackerel Trk Clearing
Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 437 m Time = 10 mins
Climb = 59 m Descent = -4 m
Turn right: From the gate, this walk heads steeply up the hill. The track climbs up the hillside to the right of a large cube-like boulder (which, itself, makes a great viewpoint). The track then continues up the spur for approximately 50m, passing numerous large, green water tanks on the right of the track. Then the walk leads up the ridge through a ferny area to a clearing at the end of a service track, the intersection.

(5.8 km) Mackerel Trk Clearing to Int. Basin Trk and West Head Rd
Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 2.15 km Time = 40 mins
Climb = 97 m Descent = -27 m
Veer left: From the clearing with views of Mackerel Beach, this walk heads away from the views of the water, down into a saddle to rise up the widening ridge. The track meanders up the wide ridge for a while before meeting a signposted intersection.
Veer right: From the intersection, the walk heads downhill along the wide basin management trail, to the signposted intersection with a track on the left, which heads to the 'Aboriginal Engravings'[2].
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads north down the hill (keeping the engravings on the left) to the next signposted intersection with the 'Aboriginal Engravings' track on the left.
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads down the slight hill away from the 'Aboriginal Engravings' (initially with the engravings on the left). (If you pass a second 'Aboriginal Engravings' sign you have gone the wrong way). The track tends right then heads around a gate, just before coming to the Basin Track car park on West Head Road.

Drive from Int. Basin Trk and West Head Rd
You can drive or ride from this end of this Bushwalk A park entry fee is required for driving into the park.
You can drive or ride from the end of this walk
Use these links to plan your trip from the end of this walk.
Plan your trip to --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|

Getting there

Plan your trip to the start of the walk and back from the end of the walk

Public Transport links currently not working, sorry

Driving Directions
To the start of the walk

Drive from:
From the end of the walk

Drive to:


Near by


Campsites in the park
The Basin campground


Nearest know Outdoor Stores near the start of this walk
Store Address Phone Distance (straight line)
Paddlecraft 3B / 1714 Pittwater Road, Bayview 02 9997 8015 7.9 km
Outdoor Shack 1131 Pittwater Rd , Collaroy (02) 9981 6933 15.8 km
Kellys Camping & Outdoors 826 Pittwater Rd , Dee Why (02) 9972 0061 18.4 km
Larry Adler Ski & Outdoor 1024 Pittwater Rd , Collaroy (02) 9971 8711 16.5 km
Mannings Sports 172 Mann St , Gosford (02) 4325 1617 19.2 km


A list of the nearest UHF CB repeaters I found to The Basin Track and Mackerel Track.
Channel Call sign
(more info)
Site Distance and dir from The Basin Track and Mackerel Track
Click to re-center search
6 VMB7 CB Repeater Site 16 Alan Rd BEROWRA HEIGHTS 13 km (to the WSW)
8 MDC08 Gencom Site Lot 6 Wakefield Close KARIONG 17 km (to the N)
5 SYD05 Sydney Adventist Hospital 185 Fox Valley Rd WAHROONGA
Emergency use only
23 km (to the SW)
3 VMB2 Tower Street BATEAU BAY 29 km (to the NE)
7 SYD07 7 Glamorgan St BLACKTOWN 41 km (to the WSW)

Weather and Park info

Fire Danger
This walk passes Greater Sydney Region fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place.
(Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 3 years ago)
Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.

Weather and Climate
Weather and Climate summary detailed weather and climate information here
°C (feels like °)
km/h from the
% humidity     (as at )
Wed      29°Showers. Likely storm developing.
Thu19°|25°Possible shower.
Fri18°|30°Partly cloudy.
Sat16°|24°Possible late shower.
A graph displaying the average daily temperature range for the year

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Link to official closures and fire bans page
A largely untouched wilderness on the northern boundary of Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase NP is one of Australia's oldest national parks. Here at the head of the Hawkesbury River, you'll find Aboriginal engravings and sites, as well as sandstone escarpments,
Region: Sydney & Surrounds
Park fees Camping Facilities I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.

Walker Feedback

Comments
Add NewSearch
2 adults 2 kids (5 and 9) - The steep bits SUCK IP:121.213.166.xxx | 2011-09-18 10:23:08
We were unprepared for the last descent into the basin and climbing back out again. If theres a next time we will know better then to carry so much and wear thongs lol.
admin - re: The steep bits (are unplea Super Administrator | 2011-09-18 21:22:54
2 adults 2 kids (5 and 9) wrote:
We were unprepared for the last descent into the basin and climbing back out again. If theres a next time we will know better then to carry so much and wear thongs lol.

Shame, it is steep hey. Sorry the notes were not clear enough for you as to how steep it is. Maybe next time you could walk in (with shoes) and catch the ferry out.
Matt :)
Jessica Catherine - Spectacular views IP:60.242.17.xxx | 2012-07-08 11:25:03
Thanks for the info on this walk.

We took the 1km diversion to the dam on the way down. We found this to be the most enjoyable as we saw 2 wallabies in the bush and 1 kangaroo.

Just to add you will need loose change to catch the ferry. They dont take EFTPOS; we managed to scramble enough to catch it to Mackarel Beach (always forget about the $11 entrance fees to the Park).

Finding the trail from Mackarel Beach to the track was the most challenging. There are a lot of boulders and staircases! There were a few other walkers we teamed up with to find the right one - it was one of the last staircases visible on the beach and it was wooden.

In all a great days walk.
admin - re: Spectacular views Super Administrator | 2012-07-08 23:52:50
Jessica Catherine wrote:
..Just to add you will need loose change to catch the ferry. They dont take EFTPOS; we managed to scramble enough to catch it to Mackarel Beach...

Finding the trail from Mackarel Beach to the track was the most challenging. There are a lot of boulders and staircases! There were a few other walkers we teamed up with to find the right one - it was one of the last staircases visible on the beach and it was wooden.


Hi Jessica
Thanks for the feedback - glad you had a good time, seeing the 'jumpy creatures' would have been very exciting. Thanks for the hints I will add them to the notes.
Matt :)
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