If you enjoy being eaten by mosquitoes or deafened by cicadas… this is the walk for you! I’m exploring a section of Bouddi National Park that I haven’t been to before, with the Daleys Ridge Circuit from Daleys Point. Leaving the car at the Wards Hill Carpark, at the top of Wards Hill Road, the official signboard shows both Daleys Point Fire Trail and Rocky Point Trail on the map. But they are shown as separate trails; I am hoping I can join them up to form a loop.
Rocky Point Fire Trail
I set off down the wide Rocky Point Fire Trail, which descends gently through tall eucalpyt forest. It’s an enjoyable start to my bushwalk – except as soon as I stop to take a photo, I’m instantly covered in swarms of hungry mosquitoes.
After about 800m I ignore an unmarked track to the left, which descends to Fraser Road. After another 100m there’s a sign marking a bushwalking track to the Allen Strom Lookout.
The Allen Strom Lookout was named after Allen Axel Strom, a teacher and conservationist who was instrumental in the development of the national park and nature reserve system in New South Wales in the 1950s and 1960s. From the fenced lookout, there’s a view over Brisbane Water to Wagstaffe and Ettalong.
Informal bushwalking trail
Returning up the bushwalking track, I continue along the Rocky Point Fire Trail for a short distance, until it ends at a small clearing. I spot a narrow bushwalking track, which initially seems to head in the wrong direction, but soon swings to the north and follows the route shown on my AllTrails map.
The path descends quite steeply, with a cacophony of cicadas in the background – at one point they are so so loud that my ears start ringing.
The landscape changes from eucalypts at the top, to ferns and coachwood, and finally to casuarina forest as it reaches the bottom of the hill.
I pass a junction with a trail that continues to Hardys Bay Road, which would provide an alternate start/end point for the walk. The track continues along the shoreline of what is Cockle Bay, passing the ruins of a house and crossing a few boggy sections with the help of makeshift timber bridges and logs. (I later learn that the ruins are from a house built by John Murray at Rileys Bay in the 1830s – Murray was one of four early settlers in the area, who survived on subsistence farming, cutting logs and shingles, and gathering shells for lime manufacture.)
After about 500m, the trail starts to ascend again, and there are some views through the trees over Cockle Bay and Brisbane Water. A trail heads straight down to the water, with the aid of a rope as the track is quite slippery. I’m not sure where this goes, but on checking my map I realise I’ve gone missed a junction. I’m about enter private property at the end of Fishermans Parade.
I backtrack about 100m, and find the almost invisible junction with a track that heads steeply up the hill. Fortunately, the track soon becomes more distinct, as it climbs through beautiful forest and past some spectacular rock formations.
This the steepest part of the Daleys Ridge Circuit, although the ascent is only about 100m before the track reaches Rileys Trail, another wide firetrail.
I turn left onto Rileys Trail; you could also turn right which would make the walk a bit shorter by cutting out a small loop. After a couple of hundred metres Rileys Trail ends in a clearing, and a rough bushwalking continues down the ridge. It’s a bit indistinct and I almost lose the track a few times, before reaching Fishermans Trail. Fishermans Trail follows the ridge from Daleys Avenue (roughly parallel to Rileys Trail) up to Daleys Point Trail.
Daleys Point Trail (Daleys Ridge)
Once on Daleys Point Trail, it’s only about 300m to the impressive Daleys Point Aboriginal Site (also known as Milligans Cave or Fish Hook Shelter). There are a large amount of engravings on the first rock platform, mostly consisting of aquatic animals.
The engravings include an orca, shark, stingray and some fish – as well as a kangaroo. One of the whales has two large figures wearing headdresses carved over it, with another figure located nearby.
Near the engravings is a small water hole, with three axe grinding grooves.
Below the rock engravings, and a bit tricky to reach (some scrambling is required), is more rock art located inside some sandstone caves.
While the track officially finishes at the Aboriginal engraving site, it actually continues along the ridge. There’s views through the trees over Booker Bay, and – a little incongruously – a swing hanging from a red gum.
The track continues for about 600m, reaching a rock platform at the end of the ridge. From this rocky outcrop there are views through the trees over the Rip Bridge (which is almost directly below) and across Brisbane Water to Wagstaffe.
Heading back down Daleys Point Trail, I head down Daleys Point North Trail which (funnily) heads north along a different ridge. There more views from along the trail, over St Huberts Island and the ridges of Brisbane Water National Park in the distance.
At the end of the firetrail is an interesting rock outcrop and sandstone overhang. A narrow walking track continues beyond the end of the firetrail, and potentially provides access from Empire Bay Drive, but looking at my map is seems to traverse private property so I don’t continue any further.
From here, it’s an easy walk back along the Daleys Point North Trail, and then up the Daleys Point Trail to the Wards Hill Carpark.
If you just want to see the Daleys Point Aboriginal Site and/or the Allen Strom Lookout, then it’s much easier to do these separately via the two separate firetrails. Joining them via a few different bushwalking tracks to create the Daleys Ridge Circuit makes it a more challenging, but varied, loop walk that traverses quite different flora and provides a few different vantage points over the area.
0.0km Rocky Point Fire Trail (from Wards Hill Carpark) 0.8km Junction with trail to Fraser Road 0.9km Track down to Allen Strom Lookout (signposted) 1.0km Allen Strom Lookout 1.2km End of Rocky Point Fire Trail / start of walking trail 2.1km Junction with track to Hardys Bay Parade [250m to the road] 2.8km Take steep track which heads straight up the hill 3.4km Rileys Trail (turn left) 3.8km Fishermans Trail [200m to Daley Ave] 4.5km Daleys Point Trail 4.6km Junction with Daleys Point North Trail 4.8km Daleys Point Aboriginal Site +1.2km return to end of the ridge 5.1km Junction with Daleys Point North Trail +1.2km return to end of Daleys Point North Trail 6.8km Wards Hill Carpark
More information on Daleys Ridge Circuit
- National Parks (NPWS) – Bouddi Visitor Guide [PDF]
- National Parks (NPWS) – Rocky Point trail and Daleys Point walking track
- Sydney Rock Art Daleys Point information on engravings
For more information on Bouddi National Park including all the bushwalks, picnic areas, beaches and the best lookouts, have a look at the Guide to Bouddi National Park.