Ku-ring-gai Chase: Discover a living museum
POSTED BY John Ireland ON 18 Dec 2020
Framing Pittwater to the west is majestic Ku-ring-Gai Chase. This massive National Park is a treasure trove of ancient history and natural beauty.
It is surprising how many Peninsula residents have never taken the time to properly explore the bush land and beaches of this World Heritage listed site. Even if you visit regularly, there is always so much to learn.
I am fascinated by Ku-ring-gai and the stories hidden within the dense bushland.
Ku-ring-gai’s Aboriginal History
The park itself is punctuated with the marks and carvings of the traditional owners of Pittwater and The Hawkesbury. These were created by the Guringai people, original dwellers who nurtured and lived off the rich natural environment. They fished from the area’s river systems, swamps and ocean and gathered native fruit and vegetables, including the Long / Pencil Yam (dioscorea transversa) which can still be found growing locally today.
It is amazing to see handprints that are thousands of years old and to picture the people who carved whales and kangaroo into the rocks of Ku-ring-gai as they looked over the water to Barrenjoey Head and beyond.
To gain insights into the history of the area and see just a few of the 350 Aboriginal sites, you can book a tour with Aboriginal owned and operated Guringai Tours. Your host, a traditional custodian and caretaker, will take you on a journey of discovery, showing you how the parklands were once used as a classroom and sharing stories of the strong relationship with the land.
Get to know more about the Aboriginal history that still weaves its way from our beaches to our headland at the annual Guringai Festival. Starting in late May, the festival brings together numerous reconciliation and community groups, incorporating workshops, displays from locally based Aboriginal artists, performances, films and talks.
Many a bush turkey, long nosed bandicoot and monitor lizard dwell within the rugged surroundings of Ku-ring-gai Chase.
The park has over 160 species of bird so if you’re a keen ornithologist, pack your binoculars and see if you can pick out wood ducks, crimson rosellas, white bellied sea eagles or pelicans.
Visit The Basin and you will definitely spot the local wallaby population. If you plan to camp overnight, make sure your food is packed away – they love a midnight feast!
Look, listen and learn
At 14,882 hectares, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is massive. This incredible playground offers so many different ways to spend an afternoon or a whole day.
Visit the Ku-ring-gai National Park website to discover over 40 different things to do, and find information about camping and guided tours. The recreational activities on offer include paddle boat hire over at Bobbin Head, horse riding along the Perimeter trail and cycle tracks from Mt Colah to Pymble station.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own boat, why not explore the many water based entry points to the park? Pull up on your own private beach and enjoy a picnic as well as a refreshing swim. Take a short walk and you may come across on of the secret military bunkers which served as lookout points during the Second World War.
Should you decide to drive to Ku-ring-gai and take a walk, don’t forget that the park gates are closed at sunset! This is to ensure the area is kept safe after dark.
Ku-ring-gai Chase offers Pittwater residents an adventure through nature, culture and history. As a local real estate agent and long-term community member, I have a deep appreciation for our stunning natural lands and original inhabitants of Peninsula, Ku-ring-gai and the greater Hawkesbury. If you’re ever after advice about this location, I’d be happy to recommend my favourite spots for a walk, swim or picnic.
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