One of the best in places in Sydney for a day trip is The Basin. Beyond Sydney’s northern beaches, The Basin is a little secret spot tucked away in the meanders of Pittwater. If you are looking for Sydney hidden beaches, this is an isolated gem on the edge of Ku-Ring-Gai National Park, sheltered in quiet waters but ready to escape into the South Pacific Ocean. Shaded by gum trees and populated by diverse wildlife, The Basin is Sydney’s Best Kept Secret.
Day Trip to The Basin: Sydney’s Best Kept Secret
Palm Beach, Sydney is only an hour’s drive north of the CBD, more on the bus. With its perfect cove, regular surf and frolicking dolphins, it’s considered one of the best beaches in Sydney. I love the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk for some stunning views of the isthmus and NSW Central Coast.
On your way, you can stop at the Newport Arms Hotel for a casual meal. I like going to The Basin for a day trip so I always pack a picnic to have there.
Palm Beach, Northern Beaches
Palm Beach is one of the best beaches in Sydney. Make sure you get there early, especially in summer or on the weekend, as Palm Beach is incredibly popular. There are some nice restaurants along the road where locals and visitors enjoy lattes and seafood platters.
How to Get to Palm Beach, NSW
The drive from Sydney to Palm Beach takes an hour and parking can be quite competitive, especially in summer and on weekends. There is a carpark just near the Palm Beach ferry wharf and it gets busy fairly early in the day. If you are on the bus, the L90 will take an hour and a half from Wynyard, but it’s a good option if you don’t want to worry about parking.
Even though Palm Beach is considered as part of Metropolitan Sydney and is one of the Sydney northern beaches, it always feels to me as a holiday destination. I’m pretty sure some Sydneysiders have holiday homes there, as you would on the Central Coast or the NSW South Coast.
From the ferry wharf, an adorable ferry departs to Mackerel Beach and The Basin. I would go to The Basin just to ride on that adorable boat… Check out the timetable and don’t forget to buy your return ticket! If you do forget, you can still buy them onboard the ferry.
The Basin Camping
Not many beaches north of Sydney have camping facilities. The Basin campground is not very big but it’s great for a night or two. I love the idea of camping near Sydney in such a secret spot!
The camping facilities are quite comprehensive:
- Electric and gas BBQ
- Picnic tables
- Toilet and (cold) shower block
- Public phone
- Vending machine
- Ice is sometimes available
- In case of emergency, there is a Ranger on site
The charm of The Basin is the presence of wildlife. Normally, the Northern Beaches of Sydney are patrolled by anxious magpies but this is different…
The giant lizard has been there for years and is really after some leftover food but it’s impressive watching it climb trees… It’s not aggressive but I wouldn’t get too close either… An Australian bush scene wouldn’t be complete without some sort of marsupial… And this wallaby hangs around the lawn quite happily…
Now, this is Australia, and let’s not forget about the very toxic and lethal types… This blue-ringed octopus was spotted near the ferry wharf and its sting is deadly. Therefore, I would recommend swimming in the lagoon.
Apart from the Palm Beach lighthouse walk, you can combine the Basin Track and Mackerel Track. This is a Grade 3 hike with beautiful ocean views. The distance is 9.6km and you should allow 2-3 hours.
If you are looking for more hikes, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase is one of the national parks near Sydney where you can spend a day in the wilderness without really leaving the metropolitan area.
Palm Beach Accommodation
If camping at The Basin is not for you, or if you prefer to look at some Northern Beaches accommodation, I recommend looking around Palm Beach or Avalon.
Coming from West Head
The first time we visited The Basin, we really had no idea what to expect and thought we would get there from West Head Road through the Basin Trail Walking Track. The track is wide and kind of sealed but vehicles are not allowed.
I understood why towards the end. It is very steep and getting a car to do the climb back up could be an issue. However, the walk down is beautiful and you can catch glimpses of the water between the trees.
My father and I left The Basin on the ferry and my husband had to do the climb back up to the car… This way of accessing The Basin in Sydney is a little more demanding and would require someone to drop you off at the track turnoff but it does offer beautiful views.
Beautiful Sydney Beaches
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Bushwalking in NSW
Have you been to The Basin: Sydney’s Best Kept Secret? Please share any tips and stories in the comments below.
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