The walk to Peats Bight is one one the longest you can do in the Muogamarra Nature Reserve, which is situated opposite the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Located in the north of Sydney overlooking Berowra Creek and the Hawkesbury River, Muogamarra is open to the public for just six weekends every year. While the reserve is relatively small, it’s known for its wildflowers, Aboriginal culture (there are multiple rock engraving sites) and native animals.
The bushwalk we’re doing today heads off from the gravel access road to Deerubbin Lookover, along the old Peats Ferry convict road – which is is a short but worthwhile detour.
The track descends to the edge of the cliffs, where there are sandstone formations, rock shelters and huge caves above the Hawkesbury River.
Almost 180m below is the Hawkesbury River, and there are spectacular views over Peats Ferry Bridge (M1 motorway), Mooney Mooney Point and Peat Island. A bit further up the river you can see Milson Island, and to the right is Spectacle Island. (Deerubbin Lookover is the best lookout in the Muogamarra Nature Reserve!)
After admiring the view, we (I’m doing this bushwalk with my father) backtrack until the Peats Ferry Firetrail joins the Peats Bight Firetrail. The firetrail descends, initially steeply, towards Berowra Creek. About halfway along the firetrail is the abandoned farm of George Peat, at Peats Crater. Formed by volcanic activity, the crater (or diatreme) resulted from a maar that occurs when groundwater comes into contact with hot lava. A bit furher is the remains of the Peats Bight Guest House, originally the home of Joseph Izard in the nineteenth century. The last part of the walk follows the edge of Berowra Creek, past the mangroves and mudflats at the water’s edge.
There’s a good view of the oyster “farms”, where oysters are grown to maturity on horizontal racks in the inter-tidal zone.
The trail ends at Peats Bight, with the settlement of Sunny Corner to the west and a view over the Hawkesbury River to the north.
On the way back we make a very slight detour to the J.D. Tipper Lookout, which offers panoramic views over Brooklyn, Long Island Nature Reserve (in the foreground) and Dangar Island.
The lookout is named after John Duncan Tipper, an early environmentalist who leased 240ha of the land in 1934 to protect the flora, fauna and Aboriginal sites. He called it “Muogamarra”, believed to mean “preserve for the future” in the local Awabakal language.
From here we’re almost back at the car, which we’ve left on the entrance road opposite the start of the Peats Ferry Firetrail.
Information on Muogamarra and Peats Bight
- National Parks (NPWS) – Muogamarra Nature Reserve and Muogamarra Peats Bight walk
- Daily Telegraph – Rare chance to step inside a natural treasure when Muogamarra Nature Reserve opens to public