Middle Harbour Creek, Garigal NP

Two short loop walks in the Garigal National Park in the northern suburbs of Sydney, which also provide access to the Two Creeks track.

It’s not only a fine and sunny weekend (despite earlier forecasts of rain), but the skies are finally clear after many months of bushfire smoke. So while not the most exciting walk to do around Sydney, I’m looking forward to my first local bushwalk in over three months. I’m also exploring the area to find some new bushwalking trips for our local Cub pack.

Barrie Street Loop

Today’s bushwalk takes the wide service trail from the end of Barrie Street (East Killara) down to Gordon Creek. There used to be a timber bridge over Gordon Creek, built in the 1920s as part of a sewage system that transported waste from the northern suburbs to North Head. Like many timber bridges built for bushwalkers, it was not maintained and eventually after becoming unsafe in 1998, it was demolished in 2008.

Before heading down the last few hundred metres to Gordon Creek, I take an unmarked track that continues along the valley. It’s a fairly distinct trail, even though it’s not on any of my maps – the only challenge being a number of trees across the track from recent storms that needs to negotiated.

Before the track eventually peters out, about one kilometre further, there’s some nice pools in the creek and moss-covered rocks. If it wasn’t for the plastic bottles washed down by the recent rain and an occasional whiff of sewage, you would think you’re in a remote valley in the Blue Mountains.

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Returning the same way the junction, I then take the Gordon Creek Track down to the creek crossing and toward the Two Creeks Track.

Despite very heavy rain and local flooding a week ago, the creek level is fairly low and the stepping stones provide a safe path across Gordon Creek, and up to the Two Creeks Track just a little further up the hill.

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It’s back the same way from Gordon Creek up to the site of the old bridge, but then rather than returning the same way I take the Lockley Track that heads toward Middle Harbour. Although fallen trees make the going a bit tough in places, it’s a fairly decent track that follows Middle Harbour Creek all the way up The Cascades in St Ives. There’s some nice views down the creek as I get closer.

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I’m not going very far along this track, however. Just as a the track is about to descend to Middle Harbour Creek, there’s an indistinct track (more of a route) that goes up the spur back to the end of Barrie Street. There’s not too much undergrowth and often there’s a faint trail to follow, making this a fairly easy ascent back up through the casuarina trees to the car (finishing right next to the “Garigal National Park” sign.

Koola Avenue Loop

I’m back the following day, mainly to see if some caves marked on my topographical map might be a suitable shelter or location for investing our new Cubs…  This time I’m starting at the end of Koola Avenue, and doing a similar loop to yesterday’s walk that heads down to Middle Harbour Creek. The track is marked on my map as an “old road formation”, but it’s hard to image the narrow bushwalking trail was ever a road. 

The trail reaches Middle Harbour Creek and the Lockley Track near Lockley Point, where there’s a nice view in both directions along the creek and of the sandy beach on the opposite side. 

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A bit further along the Lockley Track, which follows Middle Harbour Creek, is the waterfall and grotto formed by the Northern Creek. It’s a small but picturesque cascade.

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Near the waterfall are some rock overhangs, which are quite long and would provide a bit of shelter from the rain – although they may not quite fit 30 Cubs!

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I continue a bit further along the Lockley Track, to the Southern Creek, where’s another small stream cascades into Middle Harbour Creek.

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Just past Southern Creek there’s a large tidal mudflat, which is easy to cross at low tide, and another small cave. A few hundred metres further along Middle Harbour Creek and I reach the junction with the route up to Barrie Street, which was as far as I went yesterday. I re-trace my steps for a short distance, taking an indistinct track up a spur to reach the Koola Track, which takes me back to the end of Koola Avenue and completes another short loop. And another potential Cub hike for later in the year!

Location Start/end at the end of Barrie Street or Koola Avenue (East Killara).
Distance Barrie St loop 2km / Koola Avenue loop 3km
Grade Moderate. Total ascent is 360m. Some off-track sections.
Season/s All year. Total ascent for each walk approx 120m.
Map/s Interactive topographical map [AllTrails]
Download topographical map (A4, 1:18K) [PDF]
STEP Walking Tracks of Middle Harbour (North) Buy
9130-3N Parramatta River (1:25K)  Buy / Download
GPS Route PlotaRoute map with option to download GPX / KML file:
Barrie Street Loop / Koola Avenue Loop

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