Most of this bushwalk in Marramarra National Park is along the Duckponds Ridge Trail, a firetrail that starts on the Old Northern Road in Canoelands. You can drive a short distance along the firetrail, which passes a signposted Aboriginal rock art site on the left.
You’ll soon reach a locked gate; you’ll need to park a bit further up the firetrail as there is no space to park near the gate.
The Duckponds Ridge Trail is initially fairly level and even ascends a little as it follows the ridge. After passing a clearing with an abandoned vehicle, we reach a NPWS sign. It seems a odd spot for it, as we’ve been walking along the Duckponds Ridge Trail for almost a kilometre – but we’ve been on Crown land, and this is the start of Marramarra National Park.
The firetrail so far has been mostly in the shade; at the 2.7km we cross an open section where trees have been cleared on both side of the trail for the powerlines above.
At the end of this section, the Duckponds Ridge Trail starts to descend, with increasing steepness. Despite lots of loose rocks underfoot it’s not too hard going down – but I’m not looking forward to the hike back up!
The trail continues a little further than indicated on the topo map, before it abruptly stops at a small clearing, surrounded by bush and about 30-40m (vertical elevation) above the creek.
There’s no obvious track or pad from here, so we follow a bearing that takes us directly down towards the creek. The bush isn’t too thick and we’re soon above a tributary of Marramarra Creek.
Despite being off-track, this short section along the creek is much more pleasant than the firetrail. We pass a small, shaded pool along the unnamed creek.
We’re soon at Marramarra Creek, which we cross just below some small cascades.
The Duckpond, a large and deep pool, is just below the junction of the Unnamed Creek and Marramarra Creek. A sandy bank makes it easy (and irressisible on a hot day) to wade in for a quick swim in the cool water.
Unfortunately, the only way back is up, so after a rest (and a swim) we drag ourselves up the steep fire trail and return the same way to the car.
Getting to The Duckpond
The Duckponds Ridge Trail starts on the Old Northern Road in Canoelands, 1.5km south of Canoelands Road and about half an hour north of Hornsby. You can drive about 500m along the Duckponds Ridge Trail before reaching the locked gate. About 90% of the bushwalk is on a firetrail, but the last 600m is off-track and requires some basic navigation skills and bush-bashing.
As well as bushwalking you can mountain bike most of the way, leaving you with just the last 800m return on foot.
Find more bushwalking trails in and and around Marramarra in the Guide to Marramarra National Park.