The Girrakool Loop Track is a very short walk that passes an Aboriginal engraving site, the picturesque Piles Creek and a couple of lookouts.
Last time I was here, I completed the longer Piles Creek Loop – and suggested in my blog post that the much shorter Girrakool Loop Track wasn’t really worth doing. Pehaps I was wrong… I’ve only got time for a quick visit today on way north today, so I’m doing the very short Girrakool Loop walk. After descending a short distance from the carpark on the well-formed track, I reach the marked Aboriginal engraving site.
The small engraving site has one figure, which is fairly easy to make out (it was a very overcast day, so the photo is nor great).
The track then drops between two large boulders, as it continues descending to the bottom of the valley.
An informal side-track goes down to Piles Creek, which is surrounded by ferns.
The rough track goes up a small (unnamed) tributary of Piles Creek, as well as Piles Creek, which is flowing nicely after recent rain.
It’s the back onto the main loop track, which follows the valley for a while, above Piles Creek, before another rough track descends to the water.
At the bottom of the track is Piles Creek Cascades, a set of cascades that flows over a wide rock platfom.
Just below the cascades is a small waterfall that drops into a wide pool, which would make a nice swimming hole in summer (take care at the top of the falls – the rocks are fairly slippery).
Once back on the main track again, I soon reach the Broula Lookout, which provides a view across the valley (and you can just make out Piles Creek).
Just after this lookout is a junction with a track going back up to the Girrakool carpark and picnic area; I take this option as I don’t have much time. This makes the loop about 1km.
You can also continue straight ahead to complete the full Girrakool Loop. This goes past the Illoura Lookout (meaning “creek in a gully”) which is much better than the previous lookout as you can see a nice pool formed by Piles Creek.
The track follows Leek Creek in a northerly direction, to reach Boondi Lookout, before returning to the carpark. There’s not much of a view from the lookout, but you can scramble down to an almost semi-circular cliff covered with ferns.
The full loop is about 400m longer (1.4km total), and is worth doing (I had walked this part of the loop last time I was here). Although I’d still highly recommend the much longer Piles Creek Loop if you have time, the Girrakool Loop is a great alternative – especially in summer when you can take advantage of the swimming holes!
|Location||Start at Girakool Picnic Area at the end of Girakool Road, off the old Pacific Highway|
|Distance||1km / 1.4km circuit.|
|Grade||Easy. Total elevation gain 55m.|
|Maps||9131-2S Gosford (1:25K) Buy / Download. Track is well sign-posted.|