The Resolute Loop bushwalk starts at the West Head lookout (at the very end of West Head Road), following the well-marked Red Hands Cave walking track towards the Red Hands Cave. The track descends a little, then climbs about 60m along a long section of well-made steps. At dawn or dusk there’s a good chance of seeing wildlife – wallabies, kookaburras, lyrebirds and a green tree-snake are some of my sightings.
The track meets the Red Hands Cave after 1km – the natural cave with ochre hand-prints is one of the most famous Aboriginal heritage sites in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. (The traditional Guringai people of West Head were decimated by smallpox within a year of the arrival of the First Fleet. Hundreds of Aboriginal rock art sites around West Head are hidden in the bush, a small reminder of the indigenous culture.)
Shortly after the cave, the narrow bush track meets the Resolute Track, which is a wide fire trail. Turn left (going right takes you to the Resolute Picnic Ground, which is an alternate starting point) and follow the sandy fire trail, which descends gradually. Shortly after the turn-off, there’s a sign on the left marking a site of Aboriginal rock engravings. This is the Resolute Track Aboriginal Site (fomerly known as the Garigal Site), which includes a man and two eels. The man has a gnullagnulla (club) across his waist.
From the edge of the rock platform, there are some great over Pittwater, to Barrenjoey Head.
About 80m further along the track is another, unmarked, Aboriginal engraving site. These includes a shark, more eels and a fish. One of these is on right on the edge of the track.
There are more views along this section of the trail over Pittwater, Avalon and the Barrenjoey Peninsula .
After about 900m the fire trail forks; keep to the left (there is a big sign at this junction) to continue along the Resolute Loop. Another kilometre of downhill walking, and you’re at the end of the fire trail. A small sign marks a narrow bushwalking track that continues steeply down, through tall casuarina trees. Soon you reach the North Mackerel Trail which goes to Great Mackerel Beach; turn left and then take the track down to the beach.
Resolute Beach is always fairly quiet, even on weekends. Directly opposite Barrenjoey Beach, it’s a sheltered swimming spot with views across Pittwater, and plenty of shaded areas if you’re spending the day there. It’s been described by Best Sydney Walks as “one of those secluded beaches in Sydney that you should visit at least once in your life”.
You’ve now done most of the walking… from Resolute Beach, head back up the steep track and turn right when you reach the main track. This follows the coastline around “Second Head”, initially crossing a stream. After about 500m the track passes a concrete observation post that was built in WWII to protect Sydney from enemy boats. It’s not sign-posted, but is visible and accessible from the track via a short scramble.
It’s about 600m until the turn-off to West Head Beach, which is down another short but steep track. This secluded beach is the last one on the Resolute Loop. It’s very similar to Resolute Beach, but a bit more rocky – and it generally has a few more people (although it too is never busy) as it’s a shorter walk to access.
You’ve just about finished the Resolute Loop… there’s just the final 300m ascent back to the car park at West Head.
Enjoy the view from West Head Lookout before you leave… directly in front is Barrenjoey Peninsula and the lighthouse, and to the left across the Hawkesbury River is Lion Island Nature Reserve and the beaches of the Central Coast, including Patonga and Umina Beach.