The Basin campground in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is one of Sydney’s most popular beach camping spots. It is located on the Northern Beaches of Pittwater. It’s a fantastic spot for camping or you can even come for a day trip. Note that entry fees and landing fees do apply for access to the beach and park for day visitors and the park is open from sunrise to sunset. Day use fees is $3 for Adults and $2 for Children under 15. Under 5’s and Pensioners are free.
How to get to the Basin
Keep in mind that car access to the basin is not permitted so be prepared to only pack what you can carry. There are two ways that you can come to the Basin:
1. By Ferry – board the ferry at Palm Beach Wharf. The ferry comes every 1 hour on the hour every day between 9am and 5pm. You will need to arrive at least half an hour if not more to allow plenty of time to unload luggage and find parking. Parking can be an issue as it can be hard to find especially if you go on a weekend or public holiday like we did. There is a paid parking right next to the wharf that costs $20 per day but even that gets full and you only pay for one day so if you are camping for 2 or more nights you will have to come back the next day to top-up the parking. You can also look for street parking, be prepared as this is hard to find as well, we took this route and came via ferry. We managed to find street parking on one of the side streets about half a km from the ferry terminal. Try to come early as even street parking will be a mission. The Ferry ride costed us $43 Return for 2 Adults and 2 Children and under 4’s are free. We enjoyed the ride, it was scenic and nice and took 20 minutes.
2. Catch a water taxi from Palm beach wharf. They can be expensive but quicker and might be ok if you are a small group.
3. Drive to West End and do a track of 2.8km but keep in mind that the track is very steep and I would not recommend for camping.
The Basin Campground
As soon as you come out of the ferry the Camping ground is right in front of you so its not a long walk. The rangers are very friendly and helpful on arrival. They allowed us to keep our luggage at the port so we could go and find a good camping spot. It saved us having to carry such a heavy load around.
Landing fees to the National Park are included in your camp site booking.
The Basin has very nice beaches and it is an inlet so there are no waves just nice sandy beach and very calm. The waters are beautiful, turquoise and clear. The Basin is the perfect spot for kids to play even for adults as well. The water is clean and great for swimming and snorkeling. There were quite a lot of people out in the water with their boats, kayaks and water rafts.
Facilities are average. They have cold showers and changing room. They have three vending machines, one for ice-creams, one for hot drinks and one for candy bars, chips and necessities like milk, Panadol, sunscreen etc. Tea/Coffee vending machine costs $3 and $2 for hot water.
You are allowed to bring a portable gas stove. Coal bbq is not permitted. We didn’t have one and we used a pan and filled it with water and heated it up on the BBQ for our coffee. This took forever (30 mins) and the water eventually boiled. Gas BBQs are better than electric ones, they get heated quick and can rise to lot higher temperature. I don’t think we could have managed that in an electric BBQ. We saw others using a kettle on the BBQ and doing the same thing.
There are two Gas BBQ sheds each with 4 BBQ’s. The BBQ’s are cleaned in the morning but that’s the only time we found them to be clean. We were annoyed that people used them and didn’t bother cleaning up.
Fire Pits (Wood BBQ) are available but need to be booked onsite. These fire pits are only at designated spots and you have to pay for the firewood which you can buy at the campground.
Picnic tables are available at the Basin picnic area and also at the BBQ Shed nearest to the entrance.
Drinking water is also available at the campsite and can be found at several spots.
Check in time is after 2pm and check out is 10am.
There is no power at the site although there are power sockets in the changing wash rooms and a lot of people were charging their phones in there. The Phone reception is very poor at the campsite, you might have to roam around to get some signal. There is however a public phone near the vending machines.
Laundry Room is available for your convenience and is located next to the vending machines.
There is a ranger on site at night to keep watch and they are medically trained in case of emergency.
Things to do at The Basin
The beaches here are clean and nice. Its shallow so kids can enjoy the water. Our girls had loads of fun digging a small pool and then filling it with ocean water carried over by buckets.
There is even plenty of shelter to spread out a picnic mat and enjoy a picnic while watching the kids play and lots of open space to play group games like volleyball or Frisbee. The camp site was full to the capacity when we went being a long weekend, however it didn’t feel crowded. The camping crowd was mostly young families and kids.
The one thing I did love about the national park was the nature and wildlife. We saw lots of wallabies roaming around and very friendly. We even saw a couple of Goanna’s and even a diamond Python curled up on a rock which was a bit scary.
Explore the Bain trail walking track (2.8km) This trail takes you to West Head Road (2.8km) It is mostly level but very steep towards the end. On this trail you can discover ancient Aboriginal engravings (2.5km) and there is a scenic lookout to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. If you are doing the tracks take plenty of water with you to drink.
What does it cost to camp at the Basin
For 2 Adults and 2 Children it costs $41.00 per night. This includes the landing fees to the park. You can make a reservation online and booking requests are confirmed within 24 hours. Daily park entry fees are not included in your camping fees. Visit the website to book online.
The Basin Campground
Kuring-Gai Chase National Park, New South Wales
If you haven’t visited the Basin I would highly recommend it for camping or even a day trip, you wont be disappointed.