Time:3 hrs
Distance:8 km
Ascent:180 m
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.


Aboriginal hand painting in Red Hands Cave

The Resolute Track lies at the far end of West Head, and passes through gorgeous coastal bushland. 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.


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

The walk could also be done starting and finishing at Great Mackerel Beach by catching a ferry from Palm Beach to Great Mackerel Beach.

Track notes

From 06 Jul 2004, last checked 06 Jan 2019

From the information board at the Resolute Picnic Ground, head to the wide track to the south-west. The signs may be confusing, as they indicate different directions for Resolute Beach and West Head, but they are both down this track! After 50m turn off to the left, signposted to Red Hands Cave and West Head. This takes you past the large overhang of Red Hands Cave with its aboriginal hand stencils. A further 50m along, keep right at a junction - the left branch returns to the Resolute Picnic Ground.

The track winds through beautiful open forest for 800m to West Head, noting a track junction just before West Head itself. West Head has a number of vantage points with good views to Lion Island, the Central Coast, Barrenjoey and upper Pittwater.

Looking across to Palm Beach and Barrenjoey from Resolute Beach

Backtrack about 50m to the track junction, and take the track leading south from the lookouts. This passes a large rock outcrop, which is an unmarked lookout - worth the detour - and then winds steeply down into a gully, crossing 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.

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.

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.

A a break - or possibly 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 on a rougher track brings you to Great Mackerel Beach. Note the two large cabbage tree palms flanking a large eucalypt where you emerge onto the beach. There is also a small NPWS sign. 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 point at the southern end. After a break, retrace your steps along the beach and back to the cabbage tree palms.

Great Mackeral Beach

Locate the track you walked in on and return 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 (signposted) to the right of the track which contains a midden and was used by aborigines.

The track shortly 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.

As you walk along the fire trail, 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 to the junction with the West Head Track and North Mackerel Tracks. If you turn left at the North Mackerel Track you come out to a lookout over Great Mackerel Beach and south over Pittwater. Otherwise, turn right, and a further 550m of walking brings you to the engravings on your right.

From the engravings 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 (approx 1km) as well. The Koolewong Track starts opposite the entrance to the Resolute Picnic Ground, and returns to the West Head Road about 200m further down. To return to the car park, cross the road, and climb the steps opposite. Follow the faint track around the ridge until it meets the larger Resolute Track. Turn right and climb the steps to the car park.

Aboriginal cave and midden

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