In search of Aboriginal rock art – and maybe a few waterfalls after many weeks of rain – I’m exploring the area around the Corrumbine Creek Fire Trail in Brisbane Water National Park. Coming up from Sydney, the first challenge is to find the start of the firetrail, with Google Maps helpfully suggesting I do a right-hand turn from the Central Coast Highway through a concrete barrier… after a convoluted U-turn via a Coles carpark, I manage to get onto the correct side of the highway, and park near the start of the trail.
The trail soon crosses Coorumbine Creek via a concrete causeway, bordered by lots of ferns. (The firetrail is called Corrumbine Creek, but the creek is called Coorumbine Creek… I haven’t figured out why the two are spelt differently on the topographic map).
Just above the firetrail, Coorumbine Creek forms a small waterfall as it cascades over a rock platform.
Nearby is the first Aboriginal rock engraving site we are looking for – although one of the figures (a man with pointed penis) is half buried by fallen branches.
We leave the track near the Coorumbine Creek cascade, roughly following the trail, but higher up the ridge. A large rock platform well above the trail make progress quicker and is a nice break fom the thick scrub, once we clamber on top.
There’s some “filtered views” (as they say in the real estate business) from the platform, with parts of Gosford visible through the trees.
There’s also a nice set of axe grinding grooves; normally found in or near creeks, these are on top of a boulder and not near any permanent water.
A bit further on and after much frustrated searching, I find one of two eels, which were first documented by Ian Sim in the 1960s. Partly covered by leaves, I spot one of the eel’s fins sticking out; the second eel I don’t manage to locate.
A bit further on is another large rock platform, with a large tessellated section (I believe this was formed by formed by shrinking and swelling of the clay as it hardened into stone many years ago…)
Nearby are some axe grinding grooves, a few circles in the rock and some water channels. The channels have been eroded by water and are natural; the circles I’m not sure about. They are probably natural, but I always wonder if the very symmetrical circles in the sandstone have been deliberately carved.
As we approach the Milyerra Trail (which intersects the Corrumbine Creek Fire Trail) we swing west, taking a route roughly parallel to the Milyerra Road Firetrail and staying off-track. There are many Aboriginal engraving sites along the Milyerra Trail, some of which I’ve visited on a previous bushwalk with Michael and Carolyn from Sydney Rock Art (Tassie Tigers & River Monsters on the Milyerra Trail). So I’m re-visiting a few sites, including one of my favourite carvings – a bird next to a waterhole…
…and also finding a few of the sites documented by Ian Sim in the 1960s, which I missed on my last bushwalk. Although this area of the Central Coast has a very high density of Aboriginal rock art sites, many are very weathered and hard to make out, especially when the lighting conditions are not optimal.
One of the last sites we visit is a kangaroo. On my last visit, it was almost impossible to see the grooves. This time, while the day was overcast, water on the rock from recent rain made the engraving very easy to see.
After about three kilometres of off-track walking, we emerge onto the Milyerra Trail, and return via this firetrail and the Corrumbine Creek Fire Trail.
Getting to Corrumbine Creek Fire Trail
The Corrumbine Creek Fire Trail starts from the Central Coast Highway (there is very limited parking available near the locked gate). The trail eventually meets the Koolewong Fire Trail, which continues to Brisbane Water Drive in Woy Woy. The topographic map below shows the approximate route, which is mostly off-track on the way out, before returning via the Milyerra Road Firetrail and Corrumbine Creek Fire Trail.