Introduction from the Owner/Operators

Sydney Outback Tours - day trips from Sydney

Paul and Kaje Pickering, Owner Operators & Founders – Sydney OutBack

Welcome to Sydney!

We hope your time “out back” of Sydney is the highlight of your visit to NSW and possibly, Australia. Our goal is to turn our precious childhood recollections – and current knowledge and passion – into your priceless travel memories.

Our unique adventure through Australia’s second oldest National Park, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and along Sydney’s Northern Beaches, all happens within an hour radius from the city – ideal for day trips from Sydney city/CBD and you don’t spend most of the day just getting there!

Our Family History

Day Trips from Sydney with Sydney Out Back tours - Lion Island

Sydney OutBack is a wholly Australian owned and operated family company with deep connections to the region, and history dating back to the First Fleet. We consider ourselves as ridgy-didge Aussies.

Paul descends from convict John Munro, of Edinburgh, one of 286 convicts transported to Australia on board the Lady Nugent in 1835.

Kaje descends from Englishman Frederick Meredith, one of Australia’s first free settlers and a steward/cook on board First Fleet ships the Scarborough and HMS Sirius (he is famous as Australia’s first white graffiti artist, carving his initials “F.M 1788” in a stone on Garden Island which, today, every sailor inducted into the Royal Australian Navy visits. Ironically, Frederick also became one of Australia’s first police officers!); convict Mary Kirk (Royal Admiral, 1794), who drowned in Broken Bay when The Argument sank in a gale in March 1809 – she was, by then, an ex-convict; free settlers, the Farrell family (Irish civilians arriving in 1823); and Private James O’Hara-Judge (a guard on board convict transport, the Recovery, 1836).

Since 1973 as a child, Paul has enjoyed cruising on the waterways of Broken Bay with his family. An authentic convict descendant, he will even point out his own “naughty” rock where he spent quite a lot of time. After 30 years working in the Financial Markets, Paul felt now was the time to bring his childhood dream to life and can’t believe he is the first to offer the combination of cruises and tours in the region.

For Kaje, who never had a “naughty rock”, Pittwater and the Northern Beaches is home to her family for over five generations and has a connection with the region since 1809. Her great grandfather owned one of the region’s ice-mills at Narrabeen pre-electricity, and her grandparents first met at a boat ramp on Pittwater through a shared love of boating. Her enthusiasm for the natural environment and the bush, including bushwalking, married well with Paul’s passion for the National Park’s waterways as the Sydney OutBack concept evolved.

Our team also share personal connections with the region and, as locals with their own experiences, have their own yarns to tell about growing up and/or living in and around the region.

Why the name, Sydney OutBack?

“Out the back” or “out back” is somewhere remote, inaccessible and unpopulated. Despite Ku-ring-gai Chase and the Northern Beaches being within 30 minutes of Sydney CBD, the name plays on this irony. In good humour, some Aussies might describe their backyard (garden) or storage room this way, especially if it’s become over-grown or they can’t find what they’re looking for there! It is also a fitting description for the remote, inaccessible waterways and many bushwalking trails of the National Park! If you think that the Northern Beaches isn’t “out back”, just jokingly ask a resident from the southern suburbs of our great city what they think! (Sydney is a vast city.)

However, you have probably seen images of the red Australian interior described as “The Outback” – an interior that is most likely dry with dusty red soil; not the lush bush, golden sands and shimmering bays of Ku-ring-gai Chase or the Northern Beaches.

So, we hope you’ll forgive us for any confusion as we strive to offer a unique experience in the more remote, inaccessible and unpopulated parts “out back” of the greater Sydney Harbour region. In good humour, we welcome you to the “out back” of Sydney: thus, Sydney OutBack!

Why the Platypus?

Solitary and semi-aquatic, the platypus was first sighted and documented by Europeans here in 1797, in the Hawkesbury Region. While it does live in the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park’s fresh waterways, it is rarely sighted and, while it’s unlikely to be seen in the flesh during a tour, it beautifully represents “All things Australian” and something unexpected – “Out of the Ordinary”.


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