Time:3 hrs
Distance:8km
Fitness:E
Skill:E
Ascent:180m
Maps: LPI Broken Bay 9130-1N 1:25000
Sketch maps: Sketch map 1 PDF
Notes:Print-friendly notes (opens in new window)
Please note that while the maps on this web site are useful and generally contain more, and more accurate, information on trails, the relevant topographic maps should be carried on most walks. These are available from the Lands Information Centre, map shops, and most outdoor stores.

Introduction

Aboriginal hand painting in Red Hands Cave

The Resolute Track lies at the far end of West Head. There are a number of interesting aboriginal sites in the area, as well as numerous lookouts. This is a good walk in summer as you can stop for a swim at Resolute Beach or Great Mackerel Beach.

Access

Park your car at the Resolute Picnic Ground, near the end of West Head Rd, and 11.2km after you turn on to West Head Road.

The walk could also be done in reverse by catching a ferry from Palm Beach to Great Mackerel Beach.

Track notes

From 06 Jul 2004, last checked 06 Jul 2004

From the car park at the Resolute Picnic Ground, pick up a track starting from the left hand side of the toilets. After about 50m there is a sign to the right to Red Hands Cave. This is a short detour and is worth taking to look at the aboriginal rock art. Return to the main track, and take the other branch. After about 250m you pass a large cave with a bench below it, up to your left. A further 200m brings you to a track junction, at a creek crossing, with a sign board next to it.

Looking across to Palm Beach and Barrenjoey from Resolute Beach

[At this point, if you don't want to visit West Head, it is possible to cross the (usually dry) creek and follow a vague, rough track downstream. For about 200m it is on the right bank, past a cave, and then crosses back to the left hand side at a waterfall. A further 100m brings you back to the main Resolute Track]

To visit West Head, continue along the track for a further 400m. West Head has a number of vantage points with good views to Lion Island, the Central Coast, Barrenjoey and upper Pittwater. Backtrack about 50m to find a track leading south from the lookouts. This winds steeply down into a gully and crosses the creek at a small waterfall. Shortly after this you reach another track junction. Straight ahead leads down to West Head Beach, a small beach dotted with large boulders. Head down to the beach and have a break on top of one of the boulders. It is possible at low tide, although somewhat tricky, to scramble around the rocks to the south to Resolute Beach.

From West Head Beach, return up the stairs to the track junction and head left on a good track. After about 200m look for a small bunker just below the track to the left. This may have been used in WWII as a lookout post or gun emplacement?

Great Mackeral Beach

A further 300m brings you to another track junction. Head left down to Resolute Beach, a nice sandy beach, good for swimming in summer. It also has excellent views across Pittwater, and is less busy than West Head Beach. After lunch return to the main track and turn left, continuing around the headland. Note a track off to your right after 50m for the return journey, but continue straight ahead. 600m or so of walking brings you to Great Mackerel Beach. Note the two large cabbage tree palms flanking a large eucalypt where you emerge onto the beach. You will need to remember where to pick up the track on your return trip.

Cross the intermittent creek at the north end of the beach and walk along to the southern end. After a break, retrace your steps along the beach and back to the cabbage tree palms.

[Alternatively, about 100m past the jetty, you can turn right and wander around the back of the settlement, crossing a small creek at a bridge. At the north end, head past the Fire Brigade shed on the left and pick up a vague track that eventually brings you back out near the north end of the beach.]

Aboriginal cave and midden

Locate the track you walked in on and head back to the track junction near Resolute Beach noted earlier. Turn left onto the track, which climbs steeply up the hill with a number of stairs. Just below the top, look out for a large cave to the right of the track which contains a midden and was used by aborigines.

The track emerges onto a 4wd trail at the top. The trail continues left for about 150m, but the lookout at the end is mostly obscured by bush, so head right. Keep an eye out for a small track to your right after about 700m. This heads north through the bush for about 180m to a rocky outcrop with a number of aboriginal engravings on it. Don't worry if you miss this track. Continue along the 4wd track for a further 300m, turn right at the intersection with the North Mackerel Track, and a further 550m of walking brings you to the engravings on your right. If you turn left at the North Mackerel Track you come out to a lookout over Great Mackerel Beach and south over Pittwater.

From here continue along the fire trail for about 400m to the car park where you left your car.

If you have time and have not had enough lookouts, head across the road to the Koolewong Track, and do the short loop walk as well.

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