My last walk for the weekend, on another clear and sunny day… I’m doing the Salvation Loop track, as well as the Yeomans Track and Wallaroo Track, at West Head. The Salvation Loop Track is pretty flat as it passes through low heath. There is – from time to time – a view over West Head and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It’s about as “easy walking” as you can get! Although it’s not the most exciting trail, the Salvation Loop goes through a hanging swamp or “coastal upland swamp”. This is an endangered vegetation type that’s confined to drainage headwaters on Hawkesbury Sandstone plateaus and benches.
Although mid-July is a bit early for flowers, there are a few plants in bloom: I see a few Australian native fuchsia (I think!) and Red Spider Flowers (a type of grevillea).
It doesn’t take long to reach the (unsigned) turn-off to the Wallaroo Track, which heads toward the coast, and then the junction with the Yeomans Track. I turn left down the Yeomans Track, sometimes also known as the South Wallaroo Track. It’s an old firetrail but very overgrown, especially near the end. The track stops at a rock platform, with some glimpses of Cowan Creek though the trees. It’s really not worth a visit.
I retrace my steps, back up to the junction with the Wallaroo Track. I’ve got enough time before the gates are locked to head down to the end of the Wallaroo Track – which I know from a previous visit has a slightly better outlook. I arrive at the end of the Wallaroo Track about half an hour before sunset: to my surprise there’s a couple enjoying the view (I rarely see anyone on the trails after about 4pm). Although it’s not obvious, the sandstone ledge continues a fair way along, beyond the first rock platform. So I find myself a secluded spot further along the platform, and wait for the sun to set.
Although it’s not the best lookout at West Head, I can think of a lot worse places I could be, as the sun slips behind the ridge on the other side of Cowan Creek.
I’d love to linger as the sky changes colour – but I also need to get back to the car and through the West Head gate before it’s locked at 6pm (although the couple I talk to at the lookout tell me it’s never actually locked, which make me a little less nervous)! I stop a few times to take photos on the walk back, as the sky turns a magnificent orange.
Even with the sun fully set, there’s enough light from the full moon I don’t need my head-torch, as I reach the Salvation Loop and complete the circuit back to the car.
DAY ONE 0.0km Start at southern (first) Salvation Loop gate 0.8km Walk along West Head Road to northern gate 2.3km Junction with Wallaroo Track 3.9km Junction with Yeomans Track 5.6km Reach end of Yeomans Track (rock platform) 7.2km Back at Yeomans Track / Wallaroo Track junction 8.7km Reach end of Wallaroo Track 11.9km Junction with Salvation Loop Track 13.6km Return to southern (first) Salvation Loop gate/trackhead
More information on the Wallaroo Track
- NPWS Salvation Loop and Wallaroo Track
- Wildwalks track notes for Salvation Loop Track and Wallaroo Track
Guide to West Head