Rocky Creek Loop (Garigal NP)

A partial loop along both sides of Rocky Creek in East Killara (Sydney north), combining two service trails with a short off-track section.

I’m not expecing this to be a very exciting bushwalk, but it has the dubious honour of being the the only track I haven’t yet completed in Garigal NP. (Which is not quite true, as I did do part of this track a couple of years ago, but didn’t take any photos.) Starting at a locked gate on Eastern Arterial Road, the initial part of the track is not particularly enticing. It’s first rocky and then a bit swampy (and gets quite muddy after rain), as it passes the junction with a side-track that goes up to Koola Park.

It gets a bit more pleasant as the service trail heads away from the main road, following the valley above Rocky Creek (which is well below the track). It’s a combination of eucalypt and casuarina forest, with an ocassional patch of ferns. 

After about a kilometre, there’s a junction with another service trail down to Rocky Creek, which is the way I’ll return. I continue along the Rocky Creek Trail, which narrows to a bushwalking trail after another 500m. 

The narrow track soon makes a sharp turn to the right and heads steeply uphill to meet a wide service trail. If you continue straight ahead, through some tall grass, you reach a very long rock overhang. It’s a nice spot, which feels remote despite being only about 50m away from the backyards of a row of properties. 

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From the cave, I head up the rough track, which meets another wide service trail. Last time I continued along this trail to the end of Koola Avenue – but that means a long road-walk back to the car.  

This time I head west along the service trail for a short distance (about 200m) before bush-bashing back down to the Rocky Creek Trail below. I could just have returned the same way I came… I’m basically coming back the same way along Rocky Creek Trail, until I reach the junction with the  service trail that descends to the creek that I passed earlier.

Although, the service trail it doesn’t quite reach the creek. After passing a manhole cover that serves as reminder that I am on the “Old Sewerage Maintenance Road”, the service trail terminates at a wastewater vent price. From here it’s a steep but short scramble down to Rocky Creek. It looks like quite a nice spot, although there’s faint whiff of sewage and the water doesn’t look particularly clean.

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I find a spot to safely cross the cfreek, and start bush-bashing up the other side, towards the end of the service trail on the opposite side of the creek. I’m surprised to see someone wandering around in the bush… I establish he’s coming from the opposite direction to me, and looking for the trail that I’ve come from. He explains that Google Maps shows a trail across Rocky Creek, which is incorrect – for about 100m there is no trail. I point him in the direction of the trail on the other side of the creek, and soon pick up the very overgrown trail that I need. 

It doesn’t take long to reach another Sydney Water manhole, and from here I’m back onto a wide service trail on the opposite side of the creek.

The service trail ascends, branching to the left (just before reaching the road) to an electricity pylon. I hope there may be walking access though the national park, past the pylon, but the service trail narrows and soon peters out. It would be very hard and slow work continuing this way. So I retrace my steps, finishing where the service trail meets Burraneer Avenue.    

There’s about 600m of road walking to get back to the starting point, mostly along the busy Eastern Arterial Road. It’s definitely not a walk I’d really recommend, although even on a weekend you’ll have this walk mostly to yourself!

0.0km Locked gate at Eastern Arterial Road
0.1km Junction with track up to Koola Park
0.9km Junction with track down to Rocky Creek
1.5km Junction with track up to Koola Ave service trail
2.4km Turn right onto service trail down to Rocky Creek
2.6km Rocky Creek (service trail stops about 10m above the creek)
3.7km Service trail reaches Burraneer Ave
4.3km Start of Rocky Creek Track
Location Locked gate on Eastern Arterial Road 
Distance 4.3km partial loop. 600m on-road.
Grade Moderate. 90m total elevation gain. Some sections off-track
Season/s All year. Parts of track boggy after rain and creek may be impassable.
Map/s Interactive topographical map [AllTrails]
9130-4S Hornsby (1:25K)  Buy / Download
GPS Route GaiaGPS map with option to download GPX / KML file

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