I’m back up to the Central Coast for another bushwalk with Carolyn and Michael to Narara Dam, this time in a relatively small and less-frequented patch of bushland adjacent to the Strickland State Forest. The walk starts on Reeves Street in Somersby, and follows a wide service trail past a Darkinjung Land sign. It’s been raining the last few days, so there are a few puddles along the track that need negotiating, otherwise it’s easy walking.
After about 700m the track reaches the confluence of Fountain Creek with another (unnamed) creek, which forms a deep pool. It looks like a fairly inviting waterhole, and a nice spot for a swim on a warmer day!
A short distance upstream is a small waterfall. where the creek tumbles over a wide rock platform.
The track continues though the bush, and so far is very easy and pleasant walking.
Further along the track is are two Narara Dam Aboriginal sites, which includes rock engravings and cave art in impressively weathered cave.
Although the track stops at the end of a ridge, Michael mentions there is a rough trail down to some old railway dams (upper and lower Narara Dam) I’m keen to check them out, so Michael leads the way down a rather steep path. The occasional rock cairn give us hope we’re going the right way… until about half-way down, when the rock cairns stop and we can only see thick scrub in front of us. We backtrack, and find a more obvious route down that’s marked with red tape.
It’s more of a route than a track, as it descends quite steeply. We squeeze through a crack in a large rock platform, and past some impressive sandstone overhangs.
Finally we reach the “Lower Gosford Railway Dam” (also known as the lower Narara Railway Dam), one of two wide and deep pools formed by the damming of Fountain Creek. The word “narara” is an Aboriginal word with two possible meanings: “rib” or “rib bones” is the probable meaning, and “black snake” which is thin and rib-like is another understanding. Surveyor General, Sir Thomas Mitchell, who conducted the main survey works in the Brisbane Water area, directed that wherever possible, the local indigenous names should be identified and used. (Source: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment)
The lower Narara dam was built in 1901 to supply water for steam trains after the railway line to Gosford opened in 1887. A pipeline down the valley connected the dams to the Gosford railway station. Once a popular recreation facility for those in the district, the dams are now heritage-listed.
A walking track follows Fountain Creek upsttream towards the second (or upper) Narara dam.
The second dam was built in 1925 using an arch type wall, as the water source feeding the first dam was unreliable, particularly in drought.
From the second dam, the walking track continues a bit further along the dam. The ground’s a bit muddy in spots, and there’s a bit of a jungle feel. (This track follows a new-ish route that avoids crossing private property due to a new residental development at Lot 1, Reeves Street.)
It doesn’t take long before the trail climbs steeply up the ridge, with some rock scrambling required at times.
The climb is steep but short, soon meeting Reeves Street. The last bit of the loop is a “road bash” back to the car along the road. It’s been a great little walk with some Aboriginal and European history!