Slippery Dip Loop (Garigal NP)

An interesting circuit in Garigal Land and Garigal National Park that combines the Slippery Dip service trail with the XC Track, Road to Nowhere and Deep Creek bushwalking tracks.  

It’s been a couple of years since completing the shorter “Moon Rock Loop”; I’m back today to complete a longer loop and explore more of the area between Five Mile Creek and Middle Creek. Although some maps show the entire area as Garigal National Park, Slippery Dip Loop starts on Garigal Land (owned and managed by the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council) before it enters Garigal National Park.

It’s easy walking along the mixed-use Slippery Dip Trail, which also has a very occasional vehicle as it serves as the access road to the Warringah Radio Control Society (WRCS), a not-for-profit flying club. This area has some interesting (modern) history, with the construction company Boral stripping away the vegetation to create a huge sand quarry in the 1960s before the Warringah Radio Control Society acquired a lease and rehabilitated the area in the mid 1970s. In the mid 1980s, three series of Five Mile Creek were filmed in the area, a drama series set in the American gold rush of the 1850s. Three  outdoor sets were constructed (a “harbour” off the Slippery Dip Trail and a “homestead” and “mining village”).

In 2011, the creek near these sets was officially recognised as Five Mile Creek by the Geographical Names Board (previously it had been named Narrabeen Creek). A few rock outcrops to the east of the Slippery Dip Trail provide a view over the bushland and out to Narrabeen Lake and the ocean.

I veer left (west) off the Slippery Dip Trail just before the WRCS, and then left again soon after onto the XC Trail, a narrow bushwalking (also used illegally by mountain bikes). I only see a handful of other people on this trail, and it’s pleasant walking on the fairly level trail that follows the top of the ridge.

The track passes the junction with the Moab Trail, which makes a loop around an adjacent ridge (I ignore this side-track). After 1.2km, the XC Trail veers to the right (east), and I continue straight ahead on what is now called Road to Nowhere, which follows the ridge. Not far off the track is an Aboriginal engraving site, on a large rock platform that has sweeping views in all directions.

The quite distinct carving of a whale is the only engraving at this location, and was described back in 1899 by W.D. Campbell: “This figure is probably a whale, and has an oblong figure at its snout.”

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After a short break here to admire the views and the engraving, I continue along the Road to Nowhere. A predicted afternoon storm is heading, so I push on… when the Road Nowhere Track splits into two, I figure I’ll quickly check out the left-hand fork, which according to both my maps (the 1:25K topo map and AllTrails) only goes a short distance before stopping at the end end of the ridge.

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The trail descends fairly gently at first, down the end of the ridge.

However, the trail doesn’t stop where it’s supposed to! It continues descending, getting increasingly steep. I’m interested to see how far it goes, so I continue heading down…

…as it gets closer to the bottom of the valley, it gets increasingly “ferny” and is a very pleasant section of track.

The track goes all the way down to Deep Creek, where it stops.

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So, now I need to walk all the way back up to where Road to Nowhere splits into two. Or, continue “off track” along Deep Creek to where it meets the Deep Creek Track. At the risk of getting very wet and/or muddy, I push on through sometimes head-high palms. [To avoid having to walk off-track, continue along the right-hand fork of the Road to Nowhere which descends to the Deep Creek Trail.]

Surprisingly and much to my (pleasant!) surprise, I manage to reach Deep Creek Trail, which ironically is much muddier than the off-track walk along the creek.

This area is popular with mountain bikes (although none of the narrow tracks are legal MTB tracks), which has contributed to the erosion. I take it very carefully through this section, which follows Deep Creek for a while before crossing it on a fallen log.

The track gradually gets less muddy and more pleasant as it ascends, still following Deep Creek at first, and then a tributary of Deep Creek.

There are some small cascades near an enormous overhang where I consider taking shelter from the imminent storm. But as it’s also getting dark I figure it’s probably best to push on and get wet, then to be dry but walking back in the dark!

Just after the small cascades is a small waterfall.

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Soon after the waterfall and cascades, the Deep Creek Track meets the Slippery Dip Trail, and with the rain starting to get heavier I’m not too unhappy to be back on a wide service trail again!

After 1.2km along the Slippery Dip Trail, there’s a junction with the Power Lines Trail (another wide service trail). Either option will get me back to the car, but keeping on the Slippery Dip Trail is the shorter and less steep option. Soon after this junction, there’s a narrow and unnmarked track that heads up to the ridge from the main track, which I take figuring it’s probably a short-cut. It leads up to a long, rocky ridge which I soon discover is the Moon Rock Aboriginal Engraving Site. [Caution: there is no signage at the start of the track, but at the western end of the Moon Rock track where I re-join the Slippery Dip trail is a sign stating that this track is now closed to walkers.] 

There are over 50 rock carvings across the western end of the rocky ridge, with the most significant ones depicting a lunar year and showing a series of twelve moon carvings. The biggest moon is above the head of a large figure (below right).

It’s a shame that this incredible and significant rock engraving site is now closed to the public, probably due to idiots riding bikes across the top of the broad rock platform.

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With the rain starting to ease, I re-join the Slippery Dip Trail back to the locked gate, where my car is waiting.

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 0.0km Locked gate on Slippery Dip Trail (off Morgan Road, Belrose)
 1.2km Left onto WRCS access road
 1.3km Left onto XC Track
 1.8km Junction with Moab Track (MTB trail)
 2.6km Continue on Road to Nowhere (XC Track descends to the east)
 3.5km Road to Nowhere splits into two
 4.4km Deep Creek (end of Road to Nowhere Track)
 4.9km Start of Deep Creek Trail 
 5.8km Junction with Deep Creek Trail section to Wakehurst Parkway
 6.8km Deep Creek meets Slippery Dip Trail
 8.0km Junction with Power Lines Trail (stay on Slippery Dip Trail) 
10.2km End of Slippery Dip Trail
Location Locked gate on Slippery Dip Trail, off Morgan Road (Belrose)
Distance 10.2km loop
Grade Moderate/Hard. 210m total elevation gain. Short off-track section
Season/s All year.
Map/s Interactive topographical map [AllTrails]
9130-4S Hornsby (1:25K)  Buy / Download
9130-1S Mona Vale (1:25K) Buy / Download
GPS Route PlotARoute map with option to download GPX / KML file

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