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The Ultimate Guide to fly your drone in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, NSW, Australia

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all you need to know about Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, New South Wales, Australia. Give a 👍 at the end of this post & feel free to share your experience or any updates you might have in the Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.

Palm Beach Lighhouse viewed from Ku-ring-gai National Park
Palm Beach Lighhouse viewed from Ku-ring-gai National Park


How to get to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park?

🚗 By car: the National Park is located about an hour north drive from Sydney CBD. You can access it via W Head & Ku Ring Gai Chase Roads depending on which part of the National Park you want to access.

🚲 By bike: free to entry, you can cycle on the main road or head to the Centre Trail.

🚄 By train: the Central Coast & Newcastle train lines runs all along the West side of the National Park. You can stop at the stations of Mount Kuring-gai, Berowra, Cowan & Hawkesbury River Station. 💡 If taking the train on a Sunday with an Opal Card (payment method for public transport in Sydney), it will cost you only $2.70 return (only Sundays).

⛵ By ferry: the boat runs from Palm Beach Wharf and does a loop servicing several other wharf on the national park side including: Bennets, Bonnie Doon, The Basin, Currawong & Mackerel Beach. On Sundays, it will be capped at $2.70 as well.

Be aware that if you go there by car, it will cost you $12 for the day to park it there. 💡 If you intend to visit several parks in NSW, you might be better off buying an annual pass for $65.

Akuna Bay
Akuna Bay


What to do in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park?

This is one of the largest national parks near Sydney so there is heaps to do.

Go Hiking: The park features several trails featuring waterfalls and aboriginal sites. You will have the choice between loop, one way and overnight (2+ days) walks.

One Way walks:

  • Aboriginal Heritage Walk: a challenging grade 4 loop walk (4/5) of 4.4 km that will bring you though engravings of the Guringai people. It starts from West Head Lookout

  • American Bay Walking Track Walk: a short grade 3 walk of 45 mins featuring stunning scenery and waterfalls along your way.

  • Bairne Walking Track: a grade 3 3 and half hours walk.

  • Gibberagong Walking Track: a medium difficulty track of 8.5 kms

  • Mount Ku-ring-gi track to Berowra Train Station: probably the most convenient loop track if you do not own a car. This grade 5 walk is about 10 km length but offers stunning views. 💡 After a hot summer day, you might be lucky to spot phosphorescent plankton.

  • Waratah Walking Track: a 10 km return grade 4 walk.

  • Wallaroo Walking Track: a 9 km return walk that will use some of the Salvation Loop Trail track so you can combine them to make it a little longer (about 11 km if combined).

Loop Walks:

  • Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head Loop Track: a 10km grade 3 walk

  • Salvation Loop Trail: a 4 km grade 3 walk

Overnight Walks:

  • The Great North Walk: the hike goes up 250 km all the way to New Castle. In Kuring-gai-ring National Park, it starts from Cowan train station down to Hawkesbury River Station (11 km) which make it perfect for a day hike or more if you decide to carry on.

  • The Basin Track: this very steep hike bring you down to the only campsite of the National Park. If you only intend to pass a day there, it will cost you $3 to use the beach and campground facilities. 💡 If low tide, you can climb the rocks along the coast to make your way to Great Mackerel Beach and create your own loop track.

Go Cycling: There is 1 main cycling path in the National Park

  • Centre Trail: an easy 3km one way track that will take you less than one hour to complete. You can also cycle on the main road but beware of the many cars driving there over the weekends.

Go Kayaking, fishing, sailing , snorkelling: most of the national park will allow you to do water activities all around it.


Can I fly a drone in Ku-ring-gai National Park?

Ku-ring-gai National Park is located in New South Wales (NSW) which follows the common rules of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). If you're looking for the unmanned aerial vehicle rules of Australia then click here.

As for a shortcut, no matter where in New South Wales (NSW), you should fly:

  • at a maximum altitude of 120 m above the ground.

  • away from private property, vehicles in movement, people or large crowds (including over beaches, stadiums or parks) & respect individuals' privacy.

  • at least 5.5 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.

  • only during permitting weather & within your sight at all times.

  • away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders.

  • avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.

Warning drone fly zone at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Recreational drone use: flying your unmanned aerial vehicle in a national park comes under the competence of NSW Office of Environment & Heritage. You will need to ask to the park's manager if its alright before flying above any national park in NSW. The park manager may grant consent for the recreational use of a drone if:

  1. it will not annoy or cause risk to visitors, or invade their privacy

  2. it will not be a nuisance or cause risk to wildlife

  3. it will not interfere with park-management operations

Commercial drone use: it is possible for you to fly there for commercial purposes (movie, aerial photography, etc.) but you must apply for a permit and have an Australian license to obtain it. More information available here.

The closest NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is located in Garigal National Park (about 20 mins drive from Ku-ring-gai).

  • 🕔 Opening Times: 9.30am to 4pm - Mon-Fri

  • Location: End of, Ferguson St, Forestville NSW 2087

  • Phone: (+61) (0) 2 9451 3479

Once you get the consent from the park manager, before flying, make sure to check the alerts for NSW National Parks in case of bush fires 🔥 for example as you should never fly next to rescue operation sites.

Where can I camp in Ku-ring-gai National Park?

✅ There is one camping site called The Basin. Here you will find toilets, showers, electric bbq, a beach and some recreational activities. Note that over busy weekends such as Easter for example, you might want to book a long time in advance. If you push your luck and get caught, it will cost a minimum on the spot fine of $110.

💡 Note that if you only intend to spend the day there, you will be asked $3 to enjoy the campground's facilities.

✅ There is a picnic area for daytime only. The Resolute Picnic Area is located at the tip of the Ku-ring-gai, next to West Head Lookout and features picnic tables, electric barbecues (free to use) and tap water to clean behind you.

Resolute Picnic Area - Ku-ring-gai National Park
Resolute Picnic Area - Ku-ring-gai National Park

✅ Please leave a comment or update the Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park! Have fun and safe flight!


Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.

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