Even the notoriously busy Sydneysider needs to take a break sometimes. Soaking in the views at America Bay and Akuna Bay is one of the easiest ways to get to know Ku-ring-gai National Park just an hour out of the city, when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.


  • Secret swimming holes under a waterfall
  • Epic cliff lookouts
  • Serene river contemplations

The Lowdown

Can you really have it all? Spectacular ocean views? Beautiful cliff sides? Lush forest set on a glistening river?

You can conquer it all, less than an hour north of Sydney in Ku-ring-gai National Park! Here’s how my friends and I got the most out of Ku-ring-gai’s West Head in less than two hours:

We started the day at America Bay. The start of the track can’t be missed with the wooden sign along West Head Road. It’s an easy 1.8km walk but make sure you are prepared to get your toes wet at the small creek crossing (700m). That is, if you aren’t already prepared to go for a dip under America Bay waterfall found through a small, well worn side track on the right.

Dalena Pangna America Bay Akuna Bay West Head Lookout Sydney NSW

Trace back to the main path  and continue for another 200m to find a cliff warning sign. Find another small side track on the right to emerge on a white, rocky platform overlooking the spectacular emerald-turquoise America Bay. We stayed here for lunch to soak in the amazing views and hunt for tadpoles.

Retracing our steps and only a 15 minute drive down the road is Akuna Bay. Taking a stroll down the boardwalk at the wharf takes you right out to the middle of the river, another winning spot for lunch and good chats. There are also two great restaurants floating on the river and a shop where you can rent out kayaks and boats for a full-day adventure.

Dalena Pangna America Bay Akuna Bay West Head Lookout Sydney NSW lookout

A fantastic, speedy microadventure you can squeeze in when you feel like you don’t have time but you’re desperately yearning for the call of the wild.

Bonus tip: Also check out West Head Lookout for gorgeous ocean views (perhaps…another spot for lunch!)

Essential Gear

  • Swim gear
  • Sunscreen


America Bay

  • Bushwalking
  • Wild swimming
  • Birdwatching
  • Tadpole hunting
  • Photography

Akuna Bay

Skill Level


How To Get There

America Bay Walking Track is located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It is clearly signposted along the left hand side of the West Head Road.

Distance Covered / Duration

America Bay Track

1.8km or 30 mins return, mostly flat with one easy river crossing

West Head Lookout & Akuna Bay

Both locations can be reached within 15 mins of America Bay and you can drive right to the location and enjoy the spectacular ocean views with Barrenjoey lighthouse in the distance for as long as you like.