Sydney Spotlight- West Head Army Track

West Head Army Track- Why Go?

This challenging walking trail, officially opened in 2016, offers beautiful views, a glimpse into Sydney’s history, and a steep (but not too unbearable) cardio challenge.

Located in Ku-ring-gai National Park, north of Sydney, West Head Army Track is a short walk, at .45km each way, but still packs a punch through a steep descent (and ascent!) up and down ladders, well-worn paths, and rock face. Part of the track is original, from its first construction during World War II. Walkers are rewarded with a strong reminder of Australian sentiments during the war, when defense was a priority for this young island nation, in the middle of the Pacific, through the concrete army defense structures that remain along the harbor.

inside the barracks 2inside the barracks ku ring gai

Along the trail, walkers can explore army batteries that one held guns and defensive positions, as well as former observation posts and storage facilities for ammunition. The battery was originally built to protect Broken Bay from an invasion during WW II, and the structures are still in great share, unfortunately some graffiti damage though.

How to Get There

Located within Ku-ring-gai, the walk’s starting point is easy to find, as it is just to the left of the most popular lookout point in the park, West Head Lookout. It is sign-posted, or park staff can provide a map or directions when you enter. Parking is available, and is free- although paid admission is required into the park. It is currently $12.00 per car, but if you visit NSW National Parks often, consider purchasing a yearly pass. At $65 for a year (excluding Kosciuszko), the pass is an awesome value, compared to the one-off daily entry fees. More details can be found here.

ladders west head army track
The ladders that make up part of the trail…don’t look down.

A car is the easiest way to get there, although the park’s hills and winding roads are also very popular with cyclists, so drive with caution.  However, parts of the park can be reached by public transportation, via a train on Sydney’s North Shore line to Turramurra station, followed by bus #577, which takes you near the Bobbin Head entrance to the park.

Top Tips

In addition to the West Head Army Track, the entire park is stunning, and there are swimming beaches nearby, so bring your swimsuit on hot days. Many other walking trails, of various lengths, can be found throughout the park.

The track is a challenging one, so moderate fitness is required, as trekkers must climb up and down a series of ladders and platforms. There’s no rush though, so take your time and enjoy the views! There are also no food options within the park, so bring snacks and a refillable water bottle, and make a day out of it.

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Part of the original walkway.
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Nearby West Head Lookout.

(Thanks to Merran D. for providing some of the photos!)

9 Comments

  1. It’s fascinating how the people in the past could explore these challenging terrain and lay out the paths for us today. Great hike and it’s always rewarding to look at the beautiful view once you get to the top. Nice to know that there are historic points of WWII to visit on the way, too! @ knycx.journeying

  2. Thanks for the heads up on West Head Army Track – I haven’t yet visited Ku-ring-gai National Park, although we love taking in as much of Sydney’s surrounds as possible everytime we visit (my family lives in Canberra). How fascinating that part of the track is original, from its first construction during World War II! My father has strong family connections to the war, so he would probably take this as almost a pilgrimage. Even though it’s only a 4 km walk! It does look like a challenging trek, but seems to be a rewarding one – thanks for the tips 🙂

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