Day Trip : Sydney To The Northern BeachesSydney's beautiful northern beaches and the spectacular Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park each offer enough attractions to warrant a full day trip on their own. However, as they are in reasonably close proximity it is possible for travellers with limited time to visit both in the one day trip.
The Northern Beaches are just 42 km from the Sydney CBD via Military Road and Pittwater Road (both Route 10) and Barrenjoey Road (Route 14).
Stretching north from Manly, this stretch of coastline encompasses Sydney's most scenic beaches that extend to the tip of the Palm Beach peninsula. This spit of land is flanked on the east by the rolling swells of the Pacific Ocean and by Pittwater on the western side. The northern tip of the peninsula juts into the waters of Broken Bay which is the estuary of the Hawkesbury River.
Your trip starts at the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and follows Military Road until you cross The Spit Bridge. Then follow Pittwater Road to Barrenjoey Road, which runs the length of the Palm Beach peninsula. There will be views of the calm waters of Pittwater on your left.
Alternatively, follow Whale Beach Road, just past Avalon, for a short scenic drive towards the coastline with superb views of the cliff-encased Whale Beach and some of Sydney's most spectacular homes.
Palm Beach offers great swimming at the ocean beach and at the protected beaches of Pittwater. Have lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants and stroll the streets for a look at the holiday homes of Australia's wealthiest. Take an hour-long walk to Barrenjoey Lighthouse at the very tip of the peninsula.
The Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park is just 31 km from the Sydney CBD to Kalkari Visitor Centre via Warringah Freeway and Pacific Hwy (both Route 1) and Bobbin Head Road.
The southern shoreline of Broken Bay is a maze of bush-clad cliffs and tiny coves, all enclosed by the magnificent Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, one of the state's most popular parks. While the northern beaches on the Palm Beach peninsula and the park are adjacent on the map, the complex terrain means that travel between them requires a considerable amount of back-tracking.
Start this trip from the northern side of Sydney Harbour Bridge and take the Warringah Freeway, then the Pacific Highway before turning right into Bobbin Head Road which leads into the park. From Bobbin Head, a quiet waterside village on Cowan Creek, follow the road into Ku-ring-gai Chase Road.
At the Kalkari Visitor Centre you can pick up a variety of brochures about the many walking trails through the park, the best scenic look-out spots as well as a geological and ecological introduction to the area.
To return to the city, turn left at the end of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase Road onto the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway.