Exploring West Head Lookout and Walks

West Head Lookout

The beauty of West Head Lookout never fails to please

West Head Lookout is an absolutely amazing place for both visitors and locals to explore. The lookout is located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and it is a great spot to spend a little while or a whole day.

The Lookout is located around 45 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD and is most easily accessed by car. The Lookout area is wheelchair and pram friendly. Kids will love spotting boats and kayaks and looking for Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

I love coming to West Head Lookout, it really does never get old. And with so much to do in the surrounding area it always makes for a great day out.

Here are my favourite things to do in and around West Head Lookout.  

1. Admire the view

West Head Lookout

See all the way across to Palm Beach

The first thing you have to do when visiting West Head is of course go to the Lookout. The drive in (along West Head Road) is a bit windy, but just take it slow and enjoy the scenery.

To get to the Lookout just follow the road signs which you will find dotted along the way. You will need to pay $12.00 entry fee at the gate or once at the Lookout.

When you get to the Lookout be prepared to be awed. The Lookout is a amazing!! Everywhere you look are views views views! See straight across to Barrenjoey Headland and Lighthouse, left across to Broken Bay and right to Pittwater.

The Lookout is beautiful

You will also enjoy amazing views across the Hawkesbury River to Lion Island Nature Reserve and the Central Coast, including Patonga and Umina.

Other than the views the Lookout also includes some seating, information boards and it is also the spot to start some of the parks most popular walks. 

Which brings me to the next best thing to do at West Head…..

2. Go bushwalking (and perhaps even a swim!)

West Head Lookout walk

The walks are terrific

One of the most popular activities to do around West Head is to bushwalk. There are more than 16 different walks throughout the area of varying difficulty.

A great place to find out about all the walks is at the Resolute Picnic Area (see below for more detail), where you will find an information board that provides great information on all walks.

Also, on your way along West Head Road you will also come to an information bay – there is a detailed West Head Map here (which I include below), which may be helpful to find and navigate walks.

West Head Map

Use the map to help you find and navigate walks

West Head Lookout itself is the site of some of the areas most popular walks including West Head Beach Walk, Resolute Beach Walk and Great Mackeral Beach Walk. These beaches all have great swimming spots if you have your togs handy! 

There are some kid friendly walks as well, including the West Head Beach walk which departs from near the Lookout. If you have very small children you can do a short 100m walk from Resolute Picnic Area to Red Hands Cave (follow the trail past the information board). Kids will love to find the ‘red hands’ in the cave and it’s a great way to teach children about our Aboriginal culture. The art is suggested to be around 2,000 years old and is in remarkable condition.

West Head Lookout Red Hand Cave

It’s fantastic seeing the ancient red hands in the cave

3. Scrub up on your history

West Head Lookout Army Trail

The West Head Army Tracks leads to an army battery used in WWII

Many of us probably don’t know that West Head was the site of a defence complex that was used in World War II. Today it is known as West Head Battery, and if you are brave enough there is a fairly challenging walking track that will take you down to the remains. The track is steep in parts and you will need to scale ladders so be prepared before heading off.

For those of us who prefer to stay on solid ground, there is also a great information board at West Head Lookout which details the history of the site.

4. Discover West Head Picnic Spots

West Head Lookout Resolute Picnic Area

Resolute Picnic Area is a nice place for a picnic

The nearest picnic ground to West Head Lookout is Resolute Picnic Area. The area is equipped with BBQ’s, seating, toilets and information boards. Several walks also leave or end from here including Red Hands Track and Aboriginal Heritage walk.

Another option to enjoy a picnic is Illawong Bay Picnic Area (which you will find on General San Martin Drive). This picnic ground is rustic but has lovely views across the water.

West Head Illawong Point

Illawong Point is another picnic option

5. Soak up the view with a coffee

Cottage Point General Store

Enjoy the serenity at Cottage Point

If you haven’t had enough of the views yet then why not end the day with a coffee and more views! Two great spots to head to are Cottage Point Kiosk and Boat Hire and Church Point Waterfront Store and Cafe. Getting into Cottage Point can be a bit tricky (stairs and steep) so head to Church Point if you have any mobility concerns.

More free things to do 

If you are after more adventure in your day why not head to Palm Beach and walk to Barenjoey Lighthouse. It’s a Sydney must-do!

Freedays summary

  • Entry: Free
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Wheelchair friendly: Yes (in parts)
  • Free carparking: No, car parking is $12.00 per day
  • Free BBQ facilities: Yes
  • Time to spend here: 1 hour to all day
  • Food available: No (head to Church or Cottage Point)
  • Address: West Head Road, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NSW 2084
  • Further details: Visit Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park directory listing



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