I thought I knew pretty much all the track and trails in Ku-ring-gai Chase… until a friend (thanks Yvonne from Coff Trails) mentioned a little known trail that starts near Apple Tree Bay, at Bobbin Head. Climbing up to the ridge, a rough and unmarked track follows an old waterpipe up to the ridge. Alongside the track are many caves and overhangs, which necessitate a few off-track forays to investigate further.
One of the overhangs is inscribed with a name that seems to date back to 1933.
There’s more sandstone outcrops and fern-filled gullies as the narrow track ascends.
After about 0.5km the track crosses a small creek, surrounded by ferns, which cascades over a small ledge.
The track ascends more steeply from the creek, passing more rock formations. The water pipe is always nearby – while the track is fairly distinct, it also becomes oddly reassuring to see the metal pipe.
As the trail nears the top of the ridge, it reaches an old structure, which is fenced off. It must be some sort of water reservoir, although the water pipeline is clearly no longer in use.
The water reservoir was most likely built to service Woodnutt’s boatshed and cottages at Apple Tree Bay, located near the bottom of the Mt Ku-ring-gai track. The boatshed was built in 1910, almost 20 years after boating was popularised by Edward Windybanks (whose boatshed was further north at Waratah Bay).
A last scramble up through a break in a small cliff line brings me to the end of a short firetrail, which is off the Mt Ku-ring-gai Track.
The Mt Ku-ring-gai Track (and Berowra Track) will take me back to Apple Tree Bay; but first I make a short detour to Firefighters Rest. Dedicated to four fire fighters who lose their lives in 2000, a plaque and bench are located at this this fenced lookout. The short track to the lookout is not signposted or even shown on most maps.
As well as some nice views over the national park, there are more impressive rock formations around the lookout.
Resembling a penguin looking out over the valley from the back (you may need to squint a bit and use some imagination), from the front the rock has an incredibly honeycombed and windswept appearance.
Continuing down the Mt Ku-ring-gai Track, there some more enormous overhangs just below the Firefighters Rest lookout.
Although there are no views from the Mt Ku-ring-gai Track, as it nears the top of the spur, a short off-track detour to the north provides a nice view over Cowan Creek.
The track descends more steeply down the spur, past another line of caves and overhangs, before reaching the Berowra Track.
Running alongside Cowan Creek, it’s a nice and easy walk along the Berowra Track back to Apple Tree Bay.
A very pleasant late afternoon walk, exploring a new trail and taking time to explore some of the rock formations along the various tracks.