The Sphinx to Bobbin Head loop is one of my favourite local bushwalks… today I’m doing it with a couple of Scouting friends, who I haven’t seen since our Around Ruapehu tramp in New Zealand nearly two months ago. It’s nice to have company after mostly solo hiking, and I’ve missed Jeffrey’s witty repartee and funny stories… (Thought I’d better put this in just in case he actually reads my blog!)
Bobbin Head Trail
We’re doing the Sphinx to Bobbin Head loop late on a Friday afternoon bushwalk in a clockwise direction, setting off down the Bobbin Head Trail from Bobbin Head Road.
Close to the start of the Bobbin Head Trail, Jacomb Trail (a firetrail), veers off to the east. Its primary purpose is to service the electricity transmission pylons, but it also provides access to the Jacomb Trig (TS2581 JACOMB). Located just off the track near the base of a pylon, the old trig station is now mostly demolished.
It’s initially very flat (actually a slight ascent) and easy walking; after 1.6km there’s a short side-track to the marked Bobbin Head Track Aboriginal engraving site.
Most of the engravings at the main site need the right lighting to see them, but a little bit further along there’s a clearer engraving of a goanna. Across three rock platforms there are a goanna, greater glider, two birds, two emus, a wallaby or large tiger quoll and some figures.
The trail continues to ascend for another kilometre after the engraving site, through tall eucalpyt and casuarina forest. Just off the track is another trig station – the Bobbin Trig (TS1013 BOBBIN) is also partly dismantled, with about half of its stone cairn remaining.
A second Aboriginal engraving site is located further down the track. One rock platform includes a fish, a flying fox, two wombats, an eel, a human-like figure, a wallaby and boomerang, two porcupines, a fishing-line, an emu with another line, two fish, two shields, a “mooting” or fishing-spear, and a large snake-like figure with twelve transverse lines opposite these. A few metres away on an adjacent rock there is a male and female figure (the female having a series of elaborate markings over the body).
The descent quickly starts to get steeper as the track zig-zags down the end of the ridge. This was the original road down to Bobbin Head. There are occasional views of Cowan Creek below.
Just before the bottom, the service trail loops back to the north but is blocked with a tall fence; the walking track continues straight ahead. It’s pretty steep with a bit of easy rock scrambling at the top, before it reaches the Warrimoo Track at the bottom.
We’re now on the Warrimoo Track, which follows Cowan Creek all the way up to St Ives. This is also the furthest point on the Sphinx to Bobbin Head buswalk. is A short distance to the left (north-west) is the Bobbin Head marina, where during the day you could stop and buy a drink or some food. We turn right, heading upstream. This section of the Sphinx to Bobbin Head loop is pretty easy walking, with the track fairly level and never far from the creek.
It’s also much easier walking when it’s dry. Last time I did the Sphinx to Bobbin Head loop, with the kids, it had been raining for a few days and the track was a bit more challenging!
The landscape is quite varied – while the water is a constant, there are sections with ferns that are almost like rainforest, towering rock formation and some enormous eucalypt trees.
At one point a tall sandstone cliff forces the track quite close to the water; it’s a nice photo spot looking up Cowan Creek.
There’s one creek crossing not long before reaching the junction with the Sphinx Track.
There’s not much water flowing today, but after heavy rain there are some nice cascades above the track.
Before we head back up to Bobbin Head Road, the Warrimoo Track traverses a nice sea of ferns.
The Sphinx Track is the shortest “leg” of the Sphinx to Bobbin Head loop, ascending (initially steeply) up from the Warrimoo Track.
There’s another creek crossing on the way up, with a lot less water flowing this time compared to three years ago…
…and it’s a much less complicated creek crossing than after heavy rain!
After the creek, there’s just a sansdstone cave or overhang, and a few more timber steps, before the Spinx Track meets the Sphinx Trail.
The last few hundred metres is back on a wide service trail to complete the Sphinx to Bobbin Head loop. We continue up the Bobbin Head Trail and back to our cars at Bobbin Head Road.
0.0km Start of Bobbin Head Trail on Bobbin Head Road 1.6km Side-track to Aboriginal engravings 4.3km Walking track starts 4.5km Warrimoo Track 8.3km Junction with Sphinx Track 9.5km Sphinx Track meets Sphinx Trail 9.7km Sphinx Trail meets Bobbin Head Trail 9.8km Bobbin Head Road
More information on Sphinx to Bobbin Head Loop
- Wildwalks track notes for Sphinx, Warrimoo and Bobbin Head tracks
- Aboriginal engravings sites – Main (upper) site and Lower site
- Trig stations – Bobbin and Jacomb
For more bushwalking suggestions in the area, have a look at the Guide to Ku-ring-gai Chase, which lists all the official and informal routes in the park.