This is my second trip out to Shark Rock Ridge; last time I went as far as the large, tesselated rock platform. This time I’m accompanied by Matt Niven, expert bush guide and route finder, as we aim to continue further along the ridge to Want Trig. Numerous Aboriginal engraving sites are found along the ridge, so I’m also keen to re-visit some of these.
There’s the occasional cairns to mark the route, but the track along this section of the route is pretty obvious.
The trail crosses another rock platform which has a Aboriginal engraving of a whale… you’d think a ten metre whale is not something you could easily overlook… but on my last visit I managed to miss this site completely.
Although I read somewhere that the Shark Rock Ridge was named after this engraving, this is incorrect… although the figure could be mistaken for a shark, it was documented as a whale back in 1899. The second edition Parish of Cowan map (1898) has a “Shark Rock Point” near the of the ridge, which would have been the origin of the name.
We’re soon at the large tesselated rock platform, which has more Aboriginal engravings (Koalas and Shields site).
Most of the figures here are hard to miss as they’ve been “protected” by well-meaning people placing rocks around them.
We continue beyond the tesselated rock platform, with the track still fairly obvious as it follows ridge. Another 500m or so and the track ends at a small rock platform, below which is thick scrub. This is a far as got two years ago, where I turned back…
This time I’m determined to get further along the ridge, and we’re both mentally prepared for a long bush-bash. Well, Matt is ready. I’m starting to think of a few excuses why I need to head back… but before we confront the wall of scrub in front of us, a check of the topo map shows that the ridge doesn’t continue straight ahead, but swings to the south. So what looked like a formidable challenge turns out – at least for now – to be a relatively easy walk. There’s no track, but it’s pretty light scrub.
We do our best to continue along the top of Shark Rock Ridge, and soon pick up a faint pad. Neatly cut branches indicate that someone’s been through here, with a pair of secateurs. There’s the occasional view over the vast expanse of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
As we continue, a few cairns and orange tape indicate the informal path along the ridge.
The pad reaches the southern edge of the ridge, where there’s a steep cliff and some interesting overhangs below us.
We follow the edge of the cliff: the rock platform has more sculpted sandstone formations and nice views over Cowan Creek.
It’s quite a stunning view – and a little unexpected, as there hasn’t really been any views until now.
We continue a bit further along Shark Rock Ridge, with a bit more of Cowan Creek coming into view.
Reluctantly, we push back into the scrub, in our quest to find the Want Trig. Ironically, having just enjoyed some stunning views, the old trig point is surrounded by scrub and doesn’t have any views – other than lots of prickly bushes and trees!
We’re bush-bash our way back to the rock platform at the top of the Shark Rock Ridge, which we follow a bit further east, where it ends.
The views keep getting better, with more of Cowan Creek coming into view, as well as Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River.
To the south is Cottage Point, Cowan Creek and the start of Coal and Candle Creek.
To the east is Lion Island, where the Hawkesbury River flows into Broken Bay.
We could sit for hours enjoying the view, but being a relatively short winter day, after a short break we re-shoulder packs and head back. We encounter a few remnants of an old telegraph line, which followed the ridge before dropping to Looking Glass Bay and crossing Cowan Creek to service Cottage Point. I’m surprised how close to the ground the line was installed, with the ceramic insulators often bolted to rocks at ground level.
It’s a fairly quick return journey, now that know the route. Although I’m glad to have made it to Want Trig and discovered the majestic views from the Shark Rock Ridge. I’m keen for a third trip to see what else lies ever further along the ridge…
Getting to Shark Rock Ridge
This bushwalk starts near Berowra Railway station, so it can be done very easily by train. The track to Shark Rock Ridge starts from the edge of the M1 Pacific Motorway; to reach it you need to follow the edge of the freeway from the start of the Berowra Track, just after the pedestrian footbridge over the freeway. There is a rough trail that partly follows the edge of the freeway (behind the steel barrier), and sometimes climbs the rock embankments.