I’ve walked down the Smiths Creek Trail (technically the Smiths Creek West Trail) a year ago, which I found to be a surprisingly enjoyable walk. (Surprising because the entire walk is along a firetrail). This time I’m hoping a Smiths Creek Loop is possible, by combining the Smiths Creek West Trail and the Nerang Trail.
Nerang Track down to Smiths Creek
Joined by fellow bushwalker Katrina, we’re taking the Nerang Track, which starts at the end of Nerang Avenue in Terrey Hills. The Nerang Track is a wide firetrail, which descends gently through tall eucalypt forest.
After about a kilometre we reach the Nerang Lookout, which has a number of large boulders scattered around. While the rock formations are interesting, there’s not much of a view from this informal lookout.
The Nerang Lookout marks the end of the firetrail; from here a narrow bushwalking trail continues through the boulders and past a nice sandstone overhang.
The bushwalking track starts to descends much more steeply towards Smiths Creek. Pink ribbons marke the route, although the track is always fairly obvious.
Along Smiths Creek
The track reaches Smiths Creek near a small pool. Now that we are at the bottom of the valley, the vegetation is completely different and the temperature has dropped a few degrees. It’s an almost rainforest landscape, with no sun reaching us through the trees.
A track follows the creek for a short distance, to a junction with the Smiths Creek East Track (which heads up to McCarrs Creek Road). For the Smiths Creek Loop we are doing, we need to continue down the creek… There’s no obvious track, and we cross the creek a few times to find the easiest route. [Update – I’ve been advised that there is an informal route on the other side of the creek – so where the Smiths Creek East Track heads up the hill, cross Smiths Creek!]
Although it’s occasionally hard going, it’s mostly pleasant walking along the creek as we continue downstream. We’re lucky that it’s close to low tide, although it’s hard to tell where the tidal limit is.
As the water gets deeper and the creek bed gets less sandy and more muddy, we head up onto the grassy plain next to the creek. It’s nice walking through a forest of swamp oak (Casuarina glauca).
The last section is through the mudflats near the tidal limit of Smiths Creek, where weave around the mangroves (Aegiceras corniculatum and Avicennia marina). We finally hit a dead-end, where we’re faced with a wall of dense mangroves.
We backtrack a short distance, crossing a broad saltmarsh to find a bushwalking track that runs parallel to the creek. (In hindsight, there may have been a rough track to the west of the creek that we missed.)
Back up the Smiths Creek West Track
Once we reach the Smiths Creek West Track, it’s easy walking again… the firetrail ascends consistently but not steeply for the first 1.5km.
The last part of Smiths Creek West Track is fairly level, finishing at the Perimeter Trail at a locked gate.
We continue along the Perimeter Trail to complete the Smiths Creek Loop. While this is not the most exciting end to the bushwalk, it’s been an enjoyable loop walk overall. Just be prepared for a bit of an off-track adventure along Smiths Creek, where there isn’t really a track.
0.0km Start of Nerang Track (end of Nerang Avenue) 0.9km Nerang Lookout 1.7km Smiths Creek 1.8km Junction with Smiths Creek East Track 3.1km Smith Creek West Track 5.6km Perimetre Trail 7.3km Nerang Avenue
More information on Smiths Creek Loop
Off-track section between the end of Nerang Track and Smiths Creek West
For more bushwalks (as well as swimming spots and other activities) visit the Guide to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.