Garigal National Park

Garigal National Park, in Sydney’s north, is the fifth largest park in Sydney metropolitan area. While it’s one seventh of the size of Ku-ring- gai Chase National Park, it punches above its weight in terms of supporting outdoor activities. Within the park are over 35 recognised bushwalking trails covering over 120km and at least another 35 “unofficial” tracks. Many of these are shared bushwalking and mountain-biking trails – and there are two dedicated single-track MTB trails. However, with the national park being split into three sections, most tracks are relatively short (you can combine a few trails for a longer walk) and generally less challenging than those in the nearby Ku-ring-gai National Park.

Mostly consisting of dry sclerophyll forest, Garigal National Park supports a large number of animals and plants, including the threatened southern brown bandicoot. Within the national park is the site where Governor Philip camped at Bungaroo for two nights on his first expedition in 1788. Well before European occupation, Garigal National Park was home to the Guringai people and over 100 Aboriginal sites recorded to date are evidence of Aboriginal activity. (The park is named after the word Carigal or Caregal, which was used to describe the indigenous people who lived in this area.) The Aboriginal sites within Garigal include the significant Moon Rock and Bantry Bay sites.

  • Bushwalking – 35 tracks across the north-east, south-west (middle) and south-east sections
  • Swimming spots – creeks and estuarine beaches where you can swim
  • Mountain Biking – mountain-biking (MTB) trails grouped as Easy, Moderate, and Hard/Experienced
  • Kayaking – places to launch a kayak and some suggested routes
  • Maps – topographical maps and bushwalking resources

Best bushwalks in Garigal National Park

There’s really no “bad” walks in Garigal National Park – just some that are more interesting than others… the selections below are my recommendations; they generally avoid walking only on firetrails (which I find a bit dreary) and provide some varied scenery. Some of the suggested routes take advantage of “unofficial” tracks to form a loop, and may not be signposted – it’s always recommended to have topographical map (eg. Avenza or AllTrails – see Maps section below) with you.

Carroll Trig to The Cascades

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There are a few different ways to get to The Cascades, where multiple pools and cascades are formed by the confluence of Middle Harbour Creek and Frenchs Creek. One of the nicest routes is from Davidson via the Carroll Trig, using two informal (unofficial) walking tracks to descend to Middle Harbour Creek, and then following the delightful Middle Harbour Creek Track. Most of this loop walk is along Middle Harbour Creek. where you’ll pass more swimming holes, cascades and rock overhangs. 
Distance: 6.3km loop (3 hours)
Grade: Moderate
More info: Carrol Trig to The Cascades

Flat Rock Beach circuit

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By combining the Flat Rock Beach Track and Magazine Track, you get a fairly long loop walk that mostly follows the Killarney Heights shoreline along Middle Harbour with many sections through ferns and tall forest. It’s easy walking, with the trails passing a small beach and offering some nice views over MIddle Harbour. (It’s a shame that technically the Flat Rock Beach Track is closed due to a land access issue; most locals seem to ignore the “track closed” sign, and there is a legal right-of-way along the foreshore.)
Distance: 8.2km loop with 1.5km on-road (3 hours)
Grade: Easy
More info: Flat Rock Beach circuit

Bluff Track

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One of the more interesting tracks in Garigal NP is the Bluff Track (also called the Bay Track), which starts at Ararat Reserve in French Forest. It passes a spectacular lookout from which there are views over Bantry Bay and Middle Harbour, and all the way to the city. The track then descends towards Bantry Bay, eventually reaching the Bantry Bay Picnic Area. There’s a good view of the Bantry Bay Explosives Magazine complex on the opposite side of the bay. Return the same way, or continue on the (not as pleasant) Timber Getters and Engravings Tracks to form a loop.
Distance: 7.4km loop / 4.8km return (2-3 hours)
Grade: Easy
More info: Bantry Bay Loop

Casuarina & Lyrebird Loop

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The star of this loop walk is the Carroll Creek Track, which closely follows Carroll Creek through ferns and past swimming holes, rock overhangs and a small cascade. Combine it with the Lyrebird Trail (which closely follows Middle Harbour) and the Casuarina Trail to form a loop. This bushwalk offers a fairly varied landscape with the occasional view. Note that while the Casuarina Trail is a well maintained track, it’s not well-marked and you can easily take a wrong turn.
Distance: 9.1km loop (3 hours)
Grade: Easy

More info: Casuarina and Lyrebird Loop

Slippery Dip Loop

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The northern section of Garigal National Park seems to have more unofficial tracks than sanctioned trails… the Slippery Dip Loop combines a few of these bushwalking trails. Starting on the Slippery Dip Trail at the end of Morgan Road (Belrose), the route then takes the XC and Road to Nowhere trails. You can take an interesting and slightly challenging off-track option down to the Caleyi Trail, or continue to the end of the Road to Nowhere Track. Return via the Caleyi Trail and Power Lines Trail.
Distance: 10.2km loop (2-3 hours)
Grade: Easy/Moderate
More info: Slippery Dip Loop

Middle Harbour Loop

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A relatively long circuit of Middle Harbour, down one side of Middle Harbour from St Ives to Roseville Bridge, and back on the opposite side. A perhaps more apt name I’ve seen for this bushwalk is the “Seven Creeks Loop”, as it follows (or crosses) seven creeks along the route! Combining multiple trails through Garigal NP, the most challenging section is between Gordon Creek and the Pipeline Track on the western side of Middle Harbour.
Distance: 19km circuit (4-6 hours)
Grade: Moderate/Hard
More info: Middle Harbour Loop

North-east section

Between Mona Vale Road, Forest Way and the Wakehurst Parkway and surrounding Deep Creek, this section of the national park includes Elanora Heights, Ingleside and Narrabeen Lake. It’s the largest of the three sections, and as a result has the longer and often more interesting tracks, with a few off-track routes. There also a number informal/illegal but popular mountain-bikes routes in this section.

Summary of Trails

  • Moon Rock Trail0.9km. Easy. Narrow bushwalking track up and along a rocky ridge to a significant Aboriginal site **TRACK CLOSED**
  • Kamber Road Trail1.2km/1.7km. Easy/Moderate. Service trail to end of a ridge, and then steep walking route down to Five Mile Creek
  • Road to Nowhere 1.6km one-way. Easy. An unofficial bushwalking / single-track MTB track that continues from XC Trail.
  • Power Lines Trail1.9km one-way. Easy. Part service trail and part bushwalking track near Slippery Dip Trail
  • XC Trail3km loop. Easy. An unofficial bushwalking / single-track MTB track off the Slippery Dip Trail
  • Caleyi Trail (aka Deep Creek Trail)- 5km one-way. Easy. Part firetrail and part walking track from Ingleside to Narrabeen) 
  • Little Moab Trail4.6km loop. Easy. Bushwalking & unofficial MTB trak that follows a long ridge off XC Trail, with by wide rock platforms
  • Slippery Dip Trail5.2km one-way. Easy. Mostly a mixed-use fire trail, between Morgan Road (Belrose) & Caleyi Trail (Narrabeen)
  • Five Mile Creek Trail5.8km one-way. Mixed firetrail & bushwalking track, which mostly follows File Mile Creek. Pleasant walking.

Moon Rock Trail (0.9km one-way) Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK® ** TRACK CLOSED **

This bushwalking track accesses the culturally significant Moon Rock Aboriginal Engraving site, with the narrow track ascending from the Slippery Dip Track up to a long and wide rock platform that runs along the top of a low ridge.There are more than 50 engravings, mostly at the western end of the ridge, which include depictions of spirit figures, wallabies, shields, fish, sharks, whales, eels and mundoes (footprints). This site has been closed for the last few years to protect the engravings.

Suggested walk:
– Moon Rock Loop traverses the engraving site [Moon Rock section currently closed] – Map / Description

– Combine with part of Five Mile Creek Trail to create a loop (Moderate, 4.7km) – Map / Description

LocationBetween Slippery Dip Trail and Power Lines Trail
DistanceApprox 900m
GradeEasy
More InfoWalk description of Moon Rock Loop

Kamber Road Trail (1.2km/1.7km one-way) Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK®

Starting at the end of Kamber Road (Terrey Hills), the Kamber Road Trail descends a ridge, officially ending below a set of electrical pylons. It’s mostly a wide service, except for a narrow section at the start. Like many trails in Garigal NP, it’s not signposted (although the start of the trail is fairly obvious). From where the trail seems to end under the pylons, a series of pink ribbons marks a steep route down to the bottom of the valley. This bushwalking route crosses Five Mile Creek to meet the Five Mile Creek.

Suggested walk:
– Combine with part of Five Mile Creek Trail to create a loop (Moderate, 4.7km) – Map / Description

LocationTrail starts at the end of Kamber Road, Terrey Hills
Distance1.2km one-way to end of service trail (20min). 1.6km to bottom of valley
GradeEasy to end of service trail / Moderate to bottom of valley (Five Mile Creek)
More InfoWalk description of Down to Five Mile Creek

Road to Nowhere – unofficial (1.6km one-way) Scenic View Icon Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK®

An informal / unofficial bushwalking track that continues along the ridge from the XC Trail, before descending to the Caleyi Trail. A side-track to the left (north) about half-way along the trail descends steeply to Deep Creek; unless you return the same way you’ll need to do some off-track walking along Deep Creek to join up with the Caleyi Trail. There are some ocean glimpses from the Road to Nowhere, and an Aboriginal engraving site just off the trail.

Suggested walks:
– Combine with XC & Slippery Dip Trail to form interesting loop from Belrose (Easy/Moderate, 9km) – Map / Description
– Forms part of a long loop using the Slippery Dip Trail to cross the entire section of the park (Moderate, 12km) – Map

LocationContinues from XC Track to meet Caleyi Track 
Distance1.6km one-way. 30min.
GradeEasy.  40m / 110m ascent (depending on direction)
More InfoWalk description of Slippery Dip Loop

Power Lines Trail (1.9km one-way) 

This is a bit of an odd trail… the Power Lines Trail veers off the Slippery Dip Trail near the western end, skirting around the bottom of the Moon Rock Aboriginal site. It’s a wide service trail that’s shown on most topographical maps. About half-way along it ends at an electricity pylon, and a narrow bushwalking/MTB track coninuues part some interesting rock formatioms, before climbing quite steeply up to the Slippery Dip Track. (It’s a popular as an unauthorised and very technical mountain biking track.)

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Slippery Dip Trail to form loop walk around Moon Rock site (Easy, 5km) – Map

LocationStarts and finishes off the Slippery Dip Track at its western end 
Distance1.9km one-way (45min)
GradeEasy.  60m / 180m ascent (depending on direction)
More InfoWalk description of Moon Rock Loop

XC Trail – unofficial (3km loop) 

An informal / unofficial track that veers left (west) off the Slippery Dip Trail just before Warringah Radio Control Society (WRCS) that’s used by bushwalkers (and illegally by mountain bikers). After about 600m there’s a junction with the Little Moab walking/MTG track to the left/east, and after 1.3km the track continues straight ahead as the “Road to Nowhere Trail” or you can descend via the WRCS to complete the loop. It’s a nice track that can be combined with other trail to form various loop walks.

Suggested walks:
– Combine /w Road to Nowhere & Slippery Dip Trail. Interesting loop from Belrose (Easy/Moderate, 9km) – Map / Description
– Forms part of a long loop using the Slippery Dip Trail to cross the entire section of the park (Moderate, 12km) – Map

LocationStarts on Slippery Dip Track 1.3km after locked gate and just before Warringah Radio Control Society
Distance3km loop. 1 hour
GradeEasy.  110m total ascent.
More InfoWalk description of Slippery Dip Loop

Little Moab Trail – unofficial (4.6km loop) Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK®

Little Moab derives its name from the fact that the trail follows a series of broad rock platforms along the the top of the ridge. Not that at any point in time you are going to think you are in Utah! An unofficial track, probably created as a mountain-biking trail, it makes a pleasant bushwalk with an occasional view. It’s accessed via the XC Track off the Slippery Dip Trail, and there is a very rough route (marked by ribbons) down to Five Mile Creek Trail. One of the rock platforms has a very faint Aboriginal engraving. 

Suggested walks:
– Part of Little Moab Trail is utilised in the Five Mile Creek Loop (Moderate, 11km) – Map / Description

LocationBranches off XC Trail
Distance4.6km loop. 1-2 hours
GradeEasy.  5m total ascent.
More InfoWalk description of Slippery Dip Loop

Caleyi Trail / Deep Creek Trail (5km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ... Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK®

Named after Caley’s Grevillea, a medium to tall shrub that is only found in an 8km square area around Belrose, Ingleside and Terrey Hills/Duffys Forest, the Caleyi Trail crosses the northernmost part of Garigal National Park. The trail descends from Mona Vale Road (Ingleside) to Deep Creek Reserve (North Narrabeen). About half of the track is a wide firetrail, suitable for bushwalking and mountain-biking. The section along Deep Creek (which is sometimes called the Deep Creek Trail) is a narrow track, suitable for bushwalking only. It offers pleasant walking and can be combined into a few different loop walks.

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Ya Right & Coopers Blue tracks to form a short loop from Mona Vale Road (Easy, 4km) – Map / Description
– Combine with Slippery Dip Trail to form loop walk from Narrabeen (Easy/Moderate, 8.3km) – Map / Description
– Forms part of a long loop using the Slippery Dip Trail to cross the entire section of the park (Moderate, 12km) – Map

LocationFrom Mona Vale Road (Ingleside) to Deep Creek Reserve and Wakehurst Parkway (Narrabeen)
Distance5km one-way. 2 hours.
GradeEasy.  70m / 190m ascent (depending on direction)
More InfoWalk description of Deep Creek Loop, Slippery Dip Loop and Caleyi Loop

Slippery Dip Trail (5.2km) Scenic View Icon Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

One of the longer trails in the park, the Slippery Dip Trail crosses the north-east section of Garigal National Park, between Morgan Road (Belrose) to the Caleyi Trail near Deep Creek Reserve (Narrabeen).  From Morgan Road you can continue by car for a few hundred metres before reaching a locked gate, then for the next 2km (which is through through Garigal Aboriginal Land) you may encounter the occasional vehicle as the Slippery Dip Trail provides access to the Warringah Radio Control Society (WRCS), a not-for-profit flying club. The trail is mostly mixed use (horses, mountain bikes and bushwalking); for the last kilometre where the track descends to the Caleyi Trail at the Narrabeen Lake end the service trail splits into multiple bushwalking and mountain bikes tracks. It’s generally a pleasant walk with some occasional lookouts over the national park and a great view of Narrabeen Lake from the trig station just off the track.

Suggested Walks:
– Combine with Caleyi Trail to form a nice loop walk from Deep Creek Reserve (Easy, 7km) – Map & Description
– Combine with XC and Road to Nowhere to form an interesting loop from Belrose (Easy/Moderate, 9km) – Map / Description
– Combine full length of Slippery Dip Trail with Caleyi Trail and some informal tracks for longer loop (Moderate, 12km) – Map

LocationFrom end of Morgan Road (Belrose) to the Caleyi Trail near Deep Creek Reserve in North Narrabeen
Distance5.2km one-way. 2 hours.
GradeEasy. 180 / 280m ascent depending on direction
More InfoWalk descriptions of Deep Creek Loop from Narrabeen and Slippery Dip Loop from Belrose

Five Mile Creek Trail (5.8km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

One of the longer trails in Garigal National Park, the Five Mile Creek Trail (mostly) follows Five Mile Creek through Garigal National Park, crossing the creek a couple of times. Mostly a wide service trail or firetrail, it runs between Morgan Road and Forest Way in Belrose. The trail makes for pleasant albeit not particularly exciting walking, and is also suitable for mountain-biking – but note there is  fairly steep ascent/descent at both ends, especially at the northern end!

Suggested walk:
– Combine with Kamber Road Trail to create a loop (Moderate, 4.7km) – Map / Description
– Forms part of long loop through northern section of park (Moderate, 11km) – Map / Description

LocationStarts/end on Morgan Road and Forest Way (Belrose)
Distance1.2km one-way to end of service trail (20min). 1.6km to bottom of valley
GradeEasy to end of service trail / Moderate to bottom of valley (Five Mile Creek)
More InfoWalk description of Down to Five Mile Creek

South-west (middle) section

The narrow but long south-west (or middle) section of Garigal National Park stretches along Middle Harbour and Middle Harbour Creek. It is bounded by Killarney Heights, Forestville, Frenchs Forest, Davidson, Belrose, East Lindfield, East Killara and St Ives. I’ve covered all the major trails below – but being so closed to suburbia for every “official” track, there’s another three informal walking or mountain-biking trails…

Summary of trails

  • Gordon Creek Track0.3km one-way. Easy. Short bushwalking track between Barrie Street and Two Creeks tracks.
  • Upper Cambourne Trail. 0.6km one-way. Short firetrail from Cambourne Trail that joins up with Cascades Trail
  • Grevillea Avenue Track. 1km. There’s both a firetrail and a short bushwalking track to a rock platform & lookout.bicycle-road-cycling-icon-png
  • Barrie St Track0.9km / 1.8km one-way. Easy. Service trail down to Gordon Creek Track, continuing as overgrown trail to Truscott Place
  • Koola Avenue Track1km one-way. Easy. Firetrail between Koola Ave & Kanowar Ave + unnamed walking track down to Middle Harbour
  • Carroll Creek Track1.4km one-way. Easy. Short but beautiful walk along Carroll Creek from Middle Harbour. 
  • Lower Cambourne Trail – 1.5km one-way. Easy. Firetrail between the Cascades and Bare Creek trails, which crosses two creeks.bicycle-road-cycling-icon-png
  • Bare Creek Trail1.5km one-way. Easy. Fire trail from the Cascade Trail that eventually turns into the Heath Trail. bicycle-road-cycling-icon-png
  • Bungaroo Track1.8km one-way. Easy. Bushwalking track that descends from the Pipeline Track to Middle Harbour & stepping stones
  • Rocky Creek Track2.3km one-way. Bushwalking trail between Eastern Arterial Road & Koola Ave. Not particularly nice.
  • Governor Philip Walk2.3km one-way. Easy. Nice bushwalking track along Middle Harbour from stepping stones to Carroll Creek
  • Pipeline Track2.4km one-way. Easy. Service trail that follows a water pipeline down to Mibicycle-road-cycling-icon-pngddle Harbour Creek
  • Heath Trail2.4km one-way. Easy. Firetrail from Belrose that becomes the Bare Creek Trail before reaching Cascades. bicycle-road-cycling-icon-png
  • Lockley Track2.6km one-way. Hard. A varied and sometimes indistunct track that follows western side of Middle Harbourbicycle-road-cycling-icon-png
  • Lyrebird Track2.8km one-way. Easy. Part firetrail and part bushwalking along Middle Harbour from Davidson Park to Carroll Creek
  • Cascades Trail3.2km one-way. Firetrail from St Ives to Davidson; in the middle is the Cascades rock platform & swimbicycle-road-cycling-icon-pngming hole
  • Middle Harbour Track3.3km one-way. Moderate. Nice, shaded track along Middle Harbour Creek between Pipeline Track & Cascades
  • Davidson Track3.4km one-way. Easy. Service trail following pipeline from Middle Harbour Creek to Fitzpatrick Ave (Frenchs Forest)
  • Casuarina Track3.5km one-way. Easy/Moderate. Bushwalking track from Davidson Park to Carroll Creek Track.
  • Two Creeks Track6.8km one-way. Easy/Moderate. Descends from Lindfield along Gordon Creek to Middle Harbour Creek and continues along Middle Harbour to Roseville Bridge

Gordon Creek Track (0.3km one-way)

A very short track, the Gordon Creek Track links the Barrie Street and Two Creeks tracks. It crosses Gordon Creek in the middle via a series of stepping stones. (Gordon Creek is believed to have been named after Sir James Willoughby Gordon, who was the Quartermaster-General when the First Fleet arrived in 1788.)

Suggested walk: Take the Barrie St Track from end of Barrie Street down to Gordon Creek (Easy, 2km return) – Description

LocationTrack runs between Barrie St Track and Two Creeks Track
Distance0.3km one-way
GradeEasy (40m total elevation gain).
More InfoBarrie St Loop walk

Upper Cambourne Trail (0.6km one-way)

A very short firetrail, the Upper Cambourne Trail starts on Cambourne Avenue and descends to meet the Cascades Trail. (Although it’s a firetrail, it’s a bushwalking-only trail, unlike the Lower Cambourne Trail.) The Upper Cambourne Trail provides an alternative route down to the Cascades, and also forms part of the Harbour to Hawkesbury track.

Suggested walks:
– Alternate start point for Cascades Loop (Easy, 5.6km) – Map
– Short loop walk combining Upper Cambourne Trail with bushwalking trail up to Douglas St (Easy, 1.6km) – Map 

LocationTrack starts at Cambourne Avenue (St Ives) and meets Cascade Trail
Distance0.6km one-way (15min)
GradeEasy (30m total elevation gain).
More InfoCascades Trail & Upper Cambourne Loop

Barrie Street Track (0.9km / 1.8km one-way)

The first kilometre or so of the Barrie Street Track is a wide service trail from the end of Barrie Street, that descends to the Gordon Creek Track. (There’s also an unmarked route that starts near the Garigal National Park sign and descends directly down the ridge to meet the Lockley Track, which runs along Middle Harbour.)

From the junction with the Gordon Creek Track, you can continue for about 800m along the Barrie Street Track to the west. There’s some nice pools in the creek and moss-covered rocks, although the track is a bit overgrown. Although the map shows the Barrie St Track going all the way to Truscott Place, it seems to peter out just before meeting the road.

Suggested walks:
– Descend via off-track route to Middle Harbour and return via Barrie St Track (Moderate, 2km loop) – Description
– Continue along Gordon Creek Track down to Gordon Creek and return same way (Easy, 2km return)

LocationTrack starts at the end of Barrie St (East Killara)
Distance0.9km one-way to Gordon Creek Track. 1.8km to Truscott Place
GradeEasy (80m total elevation gain) to Barrie St / Hard to Truscott Place (track overgrown)
More InfoBarrie St Loop walk

Grevillea Avenue Track (~1km)

A firetrail runs between Grevillea Avenue and Lawson Parade in St Ives, which is technically just outside Garigal National Park (so dogs & bikes permitted). Near the start of the firetrail is a junction with an unmarked but obvious bushwalking track. This narrow track finishes at the edge of Garigal National Park, where there is a large rock platform and a view over the national park. Both the firetrail and bushwalking track are pleasant, but not worth going out of your way for.

LocationEnd of Grevillea Avenue or Lawson Parade, St Ives
DistanceFiretrail is 1km one-way (15min). Bushwalking track to rock platform 1.2km return.
GradeEasy (15m total elevation gain). Some fallen trees across bushwalking track.
More InfoNone available

Koola Avenue Track (1km one-way)

A firetrail from the end of Koola Avenue that mostly follows the back of properties, with access tracks connecting to Murramba Place and Kanowar Avenue. It’s not actually in Garigal National Park, but you can descend “off track” from the firetrail to the Lockley Track, which runs along Middle Harbour Creek.

About 100m down the Koola Avenue Track is an unnamed trail which goes down to the Middle Harbour Creek. It’s supposedly an “old road formation”, although it’s hard to imagine how the narrow and sometimes steep bushwalking trail was ever a road. This track meets the Lockley Track at the bottom, allowing a number of different routes to be taken (there are some arrows marking the track at the bottom, but it can be a bit tricky finding the start of this trail from the Lockley Track as there’s no signage).

Suggested walks:
– Descend from the firetrail to Lockley Track and return via unnamed trail (above) (Moderate, 3km) – Map / Description
– Descend from Rocky Creek Track to Lockley Track and return via unnamed trail (above)(Moderate, 3km) – Map / Description

LocationEnd of Koola Avenue (East Killara)
Distance1km one-way (30min)
GradeEasy (70m total elevation gain).
More InfoKoola Avenue loop via Lockley Track (3km) & Koola Avenue loop via Rocky Creek Track (3km)

Carroll Creek Track (1.4km one-way) Ocean Pools In Australia Swimming Pool, PNG, 512x512px, Ocean ...

The Carroll Creek Track starts near the National Parks office in Forestville, starting as a service trail before descending via a staircase to Carroll Creek. A bushwalking trail then closely follows Carroll Creek before meeting the Lyrebird Track and Governor Phillip Walk near Middle Harbour. It’s a really nice bushwalk along the creek (similar to the much longer Middle Harbour Track) which passes some cascades and a small swimming hole.

Suggested walk: Combine with Casuarina Track & Lyrebird Track for a nice loop (Easy/Moderate, 9km) – Map / Description

LocationNPWS Forestville Office at the end of Ferguson St (Davidson) to Middle Harbour (where it meets the Lyrebird Track and Governor Phillip Walk)
Distance1.4km one-way (30min)
GradeEasy (30m total elevation gain).
More InfoCasuarina and Lyrebird Loop / Wildwalks Casuarina Track notes

Lower Cambourne Trail (1.5km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

A firetrail suitable for bushwalking, horse-riding and mountain-biking, the Lower Cambourne Track connects the Cascades Trail and Bare Creek Trail. The trail descends quite gently into the valley, with a steep descent just before Middle Harbour Creek. Near where the trail crosses Middle Harbour Creek, there’s a side-track to a small waterhole and cascade. Unless you want to get wet feet, cross Middle Harbour Creek via  rough walking track and some stepping stones just upstream of the main trail. A second, less deep creek is then crossed, before a short uphill section where the Lower Cambourne Track meets the Bare Creek Trail (another firetrail). An easy but unremarkable trail!

Suggested walk: Combine with Cascades and Bare Creek trails to form a longer loop (Easy, 5.6km) – Map / Description

LocationFiretrail between Cascades Trail and Bare Creek Trail
Distance1.5km one-way (30min)
GradeEasy (10/40m total elevation gain depending on direction).
More InfoCascades Track Loop

Bare Creek Trail (1.5km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

A shared use firetrail (bushwalking, mountain-biking and horse-riding) that starts near the Cascades. It meets the Lower Cambourne Trail, before continuing to Ralston Avenue (Belrose) as the Heath Track. It’s a fairly unremarkable but pleasant trail, which is mostly through tall and shaded forest. The nicest section is along Bare Creek between the Lower Cambourne Trail and Heath Trail. 

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Heath Trail and unnamed bushwalking trail for varied loop from Belrose (Easy, 7km) – Map / Description
– Combine with Cascades and Lower Cambourne trails to form a longer loop from St Ives (Easy, 5.6km) – Map / Description
– Combine with Cascades and Heath Track for one-way walk from St Ives to Belrose (Easy, 8.2km return) – Map

LocationFrom Cascades Trail to junction with Lower Cambourne Trail, before becoming Heath Trail (St Ives)
Distance1.5km one-way (30min)
GradeEasy (60m total elevation gain).
More InfoCascades Loop / Heath Trail and Bare Creek Loop / Wildwalks Bare Creek & Heath Track notes / NPWS Heath & Bare Creek Trails Web site

Bungaroo Track (1.8km one-way)

The Bungaroo Track initially follows the top of the ridge parallel to the Pipeline Track, before starting its descent into the valley through a gap between two large boulders. The track winds down through the forest, with short sections of boardwalk and well-constructed stone steps, before reaching Middle Harbour Creek. Head left (upstream) a short distance to reach the Stepping Stones, the tidal limit of Middle Harbour Creek and the location of Governor Arthur Phillip’s camp on his historic first expedition in 1788. (“Bungaroo” is an Aboriginal name for either the Salt Water Turtle, or ‘running water’.) A nice bushwalking track that can be made into a loop.

Suggested walks:
– Follow Middle Harbour downstream & return via Pipeline Track for short loop walk (Moderate, 5.5km) – Map / Description
– One of the access tracks for a longer circuit around Middle Harbour (Hard, 19km) – Map / Description
– Continue up Middle Harbour Creek to the Cascades (Moderate, 10.6km return) – Map

LocationBranches off Pipeline Track (St Ives) and descends to Middle Harbour Creek to meet Governor Philip Track & Middle Harbour Track
Distance1.8km one-way (30min)
GradeEasy (80m total elevation gain).
More InfoPipeline Track and Bungaroo Track loop & Middle Harbour Loop / Wildwalks Bungaroo Track notes

Rocky Creek Track (2.3km one-way)

The Rocky Creek Track roughly follows Rocky Creek from Eastern Arterial Road, although the wide track is well above the creek. It’s really two separate service trails, connected by a short bushwalking track. The trail from Eastern Arterial Road traverses a mix of forest, ending at a long rock overhang; the section that run parallel to Albany Crescent follows the bottom of a cliff at the edge of the property line, with the back of houses towering above the track. Just before an access track at the end of Koola Avenue, it’s possible to descend “off track” to the Lockley Track (a steep and sometimes slippery descent). You can also continue down the Koola Track to the Lockley Track.

Suggested walks:
Follows Rocky Creek Track
from Eastern Arterial Road to overhang, before crossing creek (Moderate, 4km) – Map / Description
– Off-track descent from Koola Ave to Lockley Track, returning via Koola Track (Moderate, 2.8km) – Map / Description
– Combine Rocky Creek Track with Lockley Track & return via Barrie St Track for longer loop (Moderate, 7km) – Map

LocationFrom Eastern Valley Road to corner of Albany Crescent & Koola Ave
Distance2.3km one-way (45min).
GradeEasy. 80m total elevation gain.
More InfoKoola Avenue Loop and Rocky Creek Loop

Governor Philip Walk (2.3km one-way) Scenic View Icon Ocean Pools In Australia Swimming Pool, PNG, 512x512px, Ocean ...

The Governor Philip Walk or track follows Middle Harbour fairly closely between the “Stepping Stones” near the bottom of the Bungaroo Track, and Carroll Creek. (From Carroll Creek you can continue along Middle Harbour via the Lyrebird Track to Davidson Park). The track derives its name from Governor Philip camping near the stepping stones in 1788. It’s a nice track, with some views down Middle Harbour and a few sandy sections where you could stop for a swim on a warm day.

Suggested walk: Combine with Lockley Track, Lyrebird Track & Two Creeks Track for long walk along both sides of Middle Harbour (Hard, 19km) – Map / Description

LocationAccess via Caroll Creek Track, Pipeline Track or Lyrebird Track.
Distance2.3km one-way (45min).
GradeEasy. 80m total elevation gain.
More InfoMiddle Harbour Loop (19km, Moderate/Hard).

Pipeline Track (2.4km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

The Pipeline Track starts near the Barra Brui Scout Hall in St Ives (on Hunter Avenue), and is a maintenance (4WD) trail that follows the water pipeline down to Middle Harbour. (The pipeline carries drinking water under pressure from Ryde to Pymble and onto the Warringah Reservoir at Beacon Hill). The Pipeline Track can also be accessed from Hunter Avenue at the Founders Way, where there is interpretive signage about the area’s history. Not the most exciting track, but provides access to many other trails.

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Bungaroo Track for short loop walk (Easy/Moderate, 5.5km) – Map / Description
– Access track for a much longer circuit around Middle Harbour (Hard, 19km) – Map / Description
– Descend via informal MTB track near Pipeline Track, and return via Pipeline Track (4.8km)

LocationHunter Ave (St Ives) near Yarrabung Rd or near Founders Way
Distance2.4km one-way
GradeEasy. Total ascent 115m.
More InfoPipeline Track and Bungaroo Track loop, Middle Harbour Loop / NPWS Web site

Heath Trail (2.4km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

A shared use firetrail (bushwalking, mountain-biking and horse-riding) that starts in Belrose (Ralston Ave) and after about 2.4km becomes the Bare Creek Trail, before it reaches the Cascades. The start of the trail is not well-marked, but head for the base of a tall microwave tower. It’s not the most interesting of trails, not helped by the the fairly constant sight of electricity transmission cables and towers.

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Bare Creek Trail and unnamed bushwalking trail for varied loop from Belrose (Easy, 7km) – Map / Description
– Combine with Cascades and Heath Track for one-way walk from St Ives to Belrose (Easy, 8.2km return) – Map

LocationFrom Ralston Ave, Belrose, before becoming the Heath Trail
Distance2.4km one-way (30-45min)
GradeEasy (50m / 170m total elevation gain depending on direction).
More InfoHeath Trail and Bare Creek Loop
Wildwalks Bare Creek & Heath Track notes / NPWS Heath & Bare Creek Trails Web site

Lockley Track (2.5km one-way)

The Lockley Track is an unofficial and sometimes indistinct track that follows Middle Creek between the bottom of the Pipeline Track and the bottom of the Barrie Street Track. It involves a slightly tricky crossing of Rocky Creek near the Pipeline Track (which may be impassable at high tide) and another sometimes boggy section where Southern Creek meets Middle Harbour Creek. It’s one of the more challenging Garigal National Parks, but rewards with some nice sections along Middle Harbour, a small waterfall and grotto and varied terrain from casuarina forest to semi-rainforest.

Suggested walks:
– 
Combine with Gov Phillip, Lyrebird & Two Creeks Track for walk along both sides of Middle Harbour (Hard, 19km) – Map / Description
– Short loop from Barrie St down to Middle Harbour and Lockley Track, returning via an off-track route (Moderate, 2km) – Map
– Loop walk from Koola Avenue to Middle Harbour and Lockley Track, returning via off-track route (Moderate, 3km) – Map

LocationHunter Ave (St Ives) near Yarrabung Rd or near Founders Way
Distance2.4km one-way
GradeHard. Total ascent 115m. Tricky creek crossing and sometimes rough track.
More InfoBarrie St and Koola Avenue loops (2km / 3km) & Middle Harbour Loop (19km)

Lyrebird Track (2.6km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ... Ocean Pools In Australia Swimming Pool, PNG, 512x512px, Ocean ...

Starting at the end of Davidson Park, the Lyrebird Track starts as a wide and very level service trail that follows the edge of Middle Harbour (it also makes an easy bike riding trail for kids). The last part is a bushwalking trail that meets the Carroll Creek Track and Governor Philip Walk at Caroll Creek. It’s a nice return walk (5.2km) from Davidson Park, or you can combine with other tracks including a loop walk from Davidson Park.

Suggested walks:
– Return via the Carroll Creek Track and Casuarina Trail (Moderate, 9.1km loop) – Map / Description
– Continue to stepping stones at St Ives for long walk along both sides of Middle Harbour (Hard, 19km) – Map / Description

LocationStarts end of Davidson Park (meets Carroll Creek Track)
Distance2.6km one-way (45min).
GradeEasy. 30m total elevation gain. First 1.7km suitable for mountain bikes.
More InfoMiddle Harbour Loop (19km, Moderate/Hard) & Casuarina and Lyrebird Loop (9.1km, Moderate)

Cascades Trail (3.2km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ... Ocean Pools In Australia Swimming Pool, PNG, 512x512px, Ocean ...

The Cascades Trail runs between Acron Oval in St Ives and Stone Parade in Davidson. The firetrail from Acron Oval is steep in places, passing the Upper Cambourne, Lower Cambourne and Bare Creek Trails before reaching bottom of the valley. The last 500m is flat before the track crosses a concrete weir and reaches the Cascades. A picturesque rock platform and natural swimming hole, the Cascades is at the confluence of Middle Harbour and Frenchs creeks. A popular picnic spot and Boy Scouts camping site in the 1920s, you can still see the remains of a weir that was constructed in 1934 to create a large swimming pool. From the Cascades, the firetrail continues to Stone Parade (or you can take the Frenchs Creek Track which goes to Wanniti Road).

Suggested walk: Combine with Lower Cambourne and Bare Creek Trails to form a longer loop (Easy, 5.6km) – Map / Description

LocationDouglas St (Acron Oval) in St Ives and Stone Parade in Davidson
Distance3.2km one-way
GradeEasy (80m/120m total elevation gain).
More InfoCascades Track Loop / NPWS Cascades Trail Web site

Middle Harbour Track (3.3km one-way) Ocean Pools In Australia Swimming Pool, PNG, 512x512px, Ocean ...

The Middle Harbour Track follows Middle Harbour Creek between the bottom of the Pipeline Track, past the Bungaroo Track and across the Stepping Stones and up to the Cascades (between the Pipeline Track and Bungaroo Track it’s fairly indistinct). It’s one of my favourite Garigal National Parks trails, especially in summer, when it remains shaded and fairly cool. The track follows Middle Harbour Creek fairly closely, passing by some small cascades and rainforest-like sections.

Suggested walk:
– Descend via Bungaroo Track (St Ives) & follow Middle Harbour Track to Cascades (Moderate, 10.6km return) – Map
– Loop from Carrol Trig (Davidson) via two unofficial routes down to Middle Harbour Creek (Moderate, 6.3km) – Map / Description

LocationAccess via Pipeline Track, Bungaroo Track or Cascades Track (St Ives) and
Distance3.3km one-way
GradeEasy/Moderate (50/70m total elevation gain depending on direction)
More InfoCarrol Trig to Cascades

Davidson Track (3.4km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

Sometimes called the Pipeline Track (but not to be confused with the Pipeline Track to the west of Middle Harbour), this service trail descends from Fitzpatrick Avenue in Forestville down to MIddle Harbour . It crosses multiple suburban streets, which provide many access points. Most of the track is along an easement that runs behind properties, with the last 500m through Garigal National Park.

Suggested walk: Combine with Carroll Creek Trail for nice loop walk (8.6km, Easy/Moderate – Map / Description

LocationFitzpatrick Avenue West (Forestville) + multiple additional access points
Distance3.4km one-way
GradeEasy (80m/180m total elevation gain depending on direction).
More InfoCarroll Creek Loop

Casuarina Track (3.5km one-way)

The Casuarina Track starts (or ends) at Davidson Park near Roseville Bridge, where stone steps climb steeply up from the picnic area. The track follows Middle Harbour, parallel to the Lyrebird Track below, but well above the water. There are the occasional glimpses of Middle Harbour and the first half the track is quite pleasant. After about 2km the track climbs quite steeply up to the base of an electricty pylon, and from here the track is a little less nice (it passes behind a few properties and there are patches where native vegetation has been displaced by weeds).

Suggested walk: Combine with Lyrebird Track for a nice loop bushwalk (Easy/Moderate) 9.1km – Map / Description

LocationFrom Davidson Park (Forestville) to Carroll Creek Track
Distance3.5km one-way (1.5-3 hours)
GradeModerate (160m total elevation gain).
More InfoCasuarina & Lyrebird Loop / Wildwalks Casuarina Track notes

Two Creeks Track (6.8km one-way)

The longest trail in this section of the park, the Two Creeks Track circles East Lindfield, descending beside Gordon Creek to Middle Harbour and continuing along Middle Harbour to Roseville Bridge. It follows Gordon Creek and Moores Creek, as well as Middle Harbour (about half of the track is within Garigal National Park, and the remainder in reserves managed by Ku-ring-gai Council). A side-track, the Little Digger Track, connects the Two Creeks Track to Roseville.

The section of the Two Creeks Track along Middle Harbour Creek is fairly popular, following the water fairly closely through mostly eucalypt forest, with a few more shaded sections of ferns. The track gets then a bit rougher (and less busy) as it climbs above Middle Harbour Creek and heads inland to cross Gordon Creek; just after the site of the old Gordon Creek bridge and sewer pipe, there’s a junction with the Gordon Creek Track. From the Gordon Creek Track, the Two Creeks Track ascends along Gordon Creek before crossing underneath Eastern Arterial Road via a concrete stormwater tunnel (avoid after rain) and passing Gordon Creek waterfall.

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Gov Phillip, Lyrebird & Lockley tracks for long Middle Harbour circuit (Hard, 19km) – Map / Description
– Combine with Little Digger Track and section on road for a loop walk (Easy, 8km with 1.7km on-road)
– Roseville to Lindfield stations via Two Creeks & Little Digger tracks (Easy, 11km) – Bushwalking NSW track notes

LocationFrom Seven Little Australians Park on Slade Avenue (Lindfield) to Echo Point Park on Babbage Rd (Roseville Chase)
Distance6.8km one-way (2 hours)
GradeEasy/Moderate (240m total elevation gain).
More InfoMiddle Harbour Loop / Two Creeks Walking Track Guide [PDF]

South-east section

The smallest area of the park, surrounding Bantry Bay between Killarney Heights and Forestville to the west; and Wakehurst Parkway and Manly Dam Reserve to the east. Access points are in Killarney Heights, Forestville & Seaforth. The bushwalks in this section are fairly well sign-posted, and there are two dedicated single-track MTB trails.

Summary of trails

  • Natural Bridge Track. 0.6km one-way. Easy. Bushwalking track down to a natural sandstone bridge over an unnamed creek
  • Bates Creek Track. 0.8km one-way. Easy. Bushwalking track between Tipperary Road & Cook St, which crosses Bates Creek
  • Currie Road Trail. 1.1km one-way. Easy. Service trail between Currie Road and Cook Street Trail.bicycle-road-cycling-icon-png
  • Timber Getters Track. 1.7km return. Easy. A historic logging track that descends from Seaforth Oval to Bantry Bay Picnic Area & wharf
  • Engraving Track. 2.2km one-way. Easy. Service trail parallel to Wakehurst Parkway. Provides access to Bantry Bay Engravinbicycle-road-cycling-icon-pngg Site.
  • Magazine Track. 2.4km one-way. Easy. Bushwalking track around the eastern side of the Killarney Heights headland
  • Flat Rock Beach Track. 2.6km one-way. Easy. Bushwalking track that follows the edge of the water along the Killarney Heights headland.
  • Cook Street Trail. 2.8km return. Easy.  A service trail from Cook St down to Bantry Bay (last 50m is a steep bushwalking track)bicycle-road-cycling-icon-png
  • The Bluff Track. 4.6km return. The best track in this area, passing the Bluff Lookout before finishing at the Bantry Bay Picnic Area.

Natural Bridge Track (0.6km one-way) Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK®

A short bushwalk through tall eucalpyt forest down to a natural sandstone bridge over an unnnamed creek. The track then ascends up to the Bluff Track (aka Bay Track) on the other side of the valley. Near the Bluff Track end of the Natural Bridge Track is a weathered Aboriginal engraving of a wallaby or kangaroo. Nearby is the impressive Bluff Lookout which has fascinating rock formations and extensive views over Bantry Bay, with the city skyline in the distance.

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Currie Road Trail to form a 3.3km loop (start from Currie Road) – Map / Description
– Shortest route is from Cook St down to Natural Bridge and back (1.4km return)

LocationAccess from Cook St or end of Currie Road, Forestville
Distance1.4km return (30-45min) / 3.3km loop (1.5 hours).
GradeEasy.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Natural Bridge Loop  / Wildwalks track notes

Bates Creek Track (0.8km one-way)

Partly a wide service trail and partly a narrow bushwalking track, the Bates Creek Track links the Magazine Track and and Currie Road Trail. It descends from the end of Tipperary Ave down to Bates Creek, passing through some nice sections of ferns, before ascending to meet the Cook Street Trail.

Suggested walk: Combine Flat Rock Beach Track and Magazine Track for easy and interesting 8.2km loop (1.5km on-road) Map / Description

LocationAccess points are the end of Tipperary Ave or Cook St, Killarney Heights
Distance0.8km one-way.
GradeEasy. 30m total ascent.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Flat Rock Beach Loop

Currie Road Trail (1.1km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

A fairly level and rather boring service trail that runs between Currie Road and Cook Street, passing the Natural Bridge Track. It can be combined with the Natural Bridge Track to form a loop, or you can continue down the Cook Street Trail to Bantry Bay.

Suggested walks:
– Combine with Natural Bridge Track to form a 3.3km loop – MapDescription
– Continue down Cook Street Trail to Bantry Bay (4.4km return) for a steeper walk

LocationPark at end of Currie Road, Forestville
Distance2.2km return (30-45min)
GradeEasy.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Natural Bridge Loop

Timber Getters Track (1.7km return) Ocean Pools In Australia Swimming Pool, PNG, 512x512px, Ocean ...

A historic logging track used in the 1850s when timber was logged in ‘The Big Forest’ owned by James Harris French, the Timber Getters Track descends from Seaforth Oval to Bantry Bay. Towards the end there’s a view of the old Magazine Complex on the opposite side of Bantry Bay, and at the bottom there’s a wharf, toilets and picnic area with a BBQ. There’s no beach or easy water access from Bantry Bay Picnic Area, although you could jump off the jetty (watch out for sharks)!

Suggested walk: Combine with Bluff Track and Engraving Track for Easy/Moderate 7.4km loop – Map / Description

LocationAccess from Seaforth Oval (Seaforth) or via The Bluff Track
Distance1.7km return (45min)
GradeEasy. 100m total ascent.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Bantry Bay Loop

Engravings Track (2.2km one-way) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ... Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK®

The Engravings Track runs parallel to the Wakehurst Parkway, between the end of Bantry Bay Road and Seaforth Oval. It’s a wide a service trail, and not the most pleasant walk as you’ve got the constant sound of traffic from the Wakehurst Parkway. There’s also a narrow bushwalking & MTB track alongside the wider Engraving Track – but on a weekend I’d leave this to the mountain bikes. Alongside the trail is the Bantry Bay Aboriginal Site, and there are occassional views of the city skyline and North Sydney in the distance

Suggested walk: Continue along Timber Getters Track to Bantry Bay and return via Bluff Track for Easy/Moderate 7.4km loop – Map / Description

LocationAccess from Seaforth Oval (Seaforth) or end of Bantry Bay Road
Distance2.2km return (45min)
GradeEasy. 100m total ascent.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Bantry Bay Loop

Magazine Track (2.4km one-way)

Starting at the the end of Killarney Drive, the Magazine Track follows the eastern side of the Killarney Height coastline up to the Tipperary Road access track. It goes behind the Bantry Bay Explosives Magazine Complex, although you can’t see much of the historic buildings. Like the Flat Rock Beach Track, which continues along the western part of Killarney Heights shoreline, the Magazine Track is a nice bushwalking track that passes sections of tall forest, ferns and interesting rock formations. There’s also some nice views over Middle Harbour.

Suggested walk: Combine with Flat Rock Beach Track for an easy 8.2km loop (1.5km on-road) – Map / Description

LocationAccess points are the end of Tipperary Ave or Killarney Drive (Killarney Heights)
Distance2.4km one-way (45min-1 hour)
GradeEasy. 140m total ascent.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Flat Rock Beach Loop

Flat Rock Beach Track (2.6km one-way) Ocean Pools In Australia Swimming Pool, PNG, 512x512px, Ocean ...

The Flat Rock Beach Track follows the Killarney Heights shoreline fairly closely between Roseville Bridge (with an alternative access point at the end of Downpatrick Road) and Flat Rock Beach. (Since 2016 the track has been officially closed near Killarney Point due to a land access issue; you can ignore the sign as locals do, or take a legal right of way by going off-track and following the coastline around Killarney Point.) This is a nice, shaded track with sections of ferns and tall eucalypt forest, and some views over Middle Harbour.

Suggested walk: Combine Flat Rock Beach Track & Magazine Track for Easy 8.2km loop (1.5km on-road) – Map / Description

LocationAccess points are Davidson Park, the end of Downpatrick Road and the end of Killarney Drive (Killarney Heights)
Distance2.6km one-way (45min). From the end of Killarney Drive, Flat Rock Beach is 500m return (Easy)
GradeEasy. 140m total ascent.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Flat Rock Beach Loop

Cook Street Track (2.8km return) Bicycle Cycling Icon Design, PNG, 512x512px, Bicycle, Area ...

One of the few trails in this part of Garigal National Park that’s an “out and back” trail (it can be combined with the Serrata MTB Track if you’re mountain-biking). Starting at the end of Cook Street, the Cook Street Trail crosses the Currie Road Trail, before descending to Bantry Bay. It’s a service trail until just before the bottom, where a narrow trail completes the last 50m or so to the shoreline. A mix of sand and mud with some oyster-covered rock, there’s a nice view of the Magazine Complex buildings – but it’s not good for swimming.

LocationAccess from the end of Cook St, Killarney Heights
Distance2.8km (1 hour). 3.2km challenging MTB loop with Serrata MTB Track.
GradeEasy. 100m total ascent.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Natural Bridge Loop

The Bluff Track / Bay Track (4.8km return) Scenic View Icon Aboriginal Art Symbols - ART ARK®

In my opinion, this is by far the “best” track in this part of Garigal National Park. (I’m actually not sure the correct name: on the National Park web site it’s called “Bluff Track” but the signage on the track says “Bay Track”!) The track starts at the Ararat Reserve (Grattan Crescent) as a service trail and descends gently to the Bluff Lookout, a spectacular vantage point from a rocky outcrop.  There are views along Bantry Bay with the city skyline in the distance. Just off the track, before the lookout, is an (unmarked) Aboriginal engraving site. From the lookout the trail becomes a bushwalking track which descends, steeply at times, down to Bantry Bay and the Bantry Bay Picnic Area where it meets the Timber Getters Track.

Suggested walk: Combine with Timber Getters Track and Engraving Track for Easy/Moderate 7.4km loop – Map / Description

LocationStarts at Grattan Crescent (Ararat Reserve), in Frenchs Forest
Distance4.6km return (1.5 hours). Or 7.4km loop with Timber Getters Track (3 hours)
GradeEasy/Moderate. 180m total ascent.
More InfoDetailed walk description of Bantry Bay Loop

Picnic Areas

Davidson Picnic Area is the largest one in Garigal National, stretching along Middle Harbour and under Roseville Bridge. To the south of the bridge is a large parking area, with a boat ramp and kayak launching area. To the north, a long grassy area has multiple picnic tables and gas BBQ, a toilet block and a netted beach. Although popular on weekend, you’ll normally be able to find a carpark and some space on the grass…

IMG_1818-LR-2

Timber Getters Track Picnic Area was once the site of the Bantry Bay ‘Pleasure Gardens’ dance hall, before being absorbed into the Bantry Bay Explosives Magazine complex. Accessed by the Timber Getters Track which descends down to Middle Harbour from Seaforth Oval (or by private boat), there’s a couple of picnic tables and toilets near the old wharf.

Swimming

There are not a great many swimming spots in Garigal National Park, mainly because most of Middle Harbour has mangroves and mudbanks, or oyster-covered rocks, along its shoreline. As all the ridges surrounded by the national park are developed, it’s recommended you don’t swim for a few days after heavy rain – Davidson Reserve has been rated as “Poor” for water quality in the past couple of years in the State of the Beaches report. Middle Harbour is also a breeding ground for bull sharks, with some of the deepest holes in the harbour (up to 45 metres deep) providing an environment suited to large fish and their predators. But, if you still want to go for a swim, there are a few spots where you can access the water…

IMG_1816-LRDavidson Park
Distance: 0km return. Ease of Access: Easy
Part of the Davidson Park picnic area, under the Roseville Bridge, is a netted beach on Middle Harbour. It’s more of a mud than a sand beach, and best not to swim after rain, but popular with kids in summer.
Location: Davidson Park, Forestville
More info: NPWS Davidson Park Web site
IMG_5496-LRFlat Rock Beach
Distance: 500m return. Ease of Access: Easy
A protected beach on Middle Harbour, surrounded by trees that provide plenty of shade. The beach itself is best at low tide; at high tide there’s just a thin sliver of sand!
Location: Easiest access point is from end of Killarney Drive (Killarney Heights).
More info: Flat Rock Beach Circuit
IMG_5636-LRBantry Bay Picnic Area
Distance: 1.8km return. Ease of Access: Moderate
A fairly long way for a swim… but if you’re doing this walk in summer, you could jump off the jetty to cool off. Although it’s worth noting that Middle Harbour is Sydney’s worst spot for shark attacks with six fatalities since 1942!
Location: Easiest access point is Seaforth Oval (Seaforth)
More info: Bantry Bay Loop
IMG_6423-LRCarroll Creek
Distance: 2.2km return. Ease of Access: Moderate
A natural swimming hole on Carrol Creek with a sandy beach, just below a large rock platform and waterfall
Location: Access via Carroll Creek Track from end of Ferguson Road
More info: Casuarina and Lyrebird Loop
IMG_1778-LRTwo Creeks Track
Distance: ~2.5km return from Koola Ave. Ease of Access: Moderate
A sandy bank near Two Creeks Track, on the western side of Middle Harbour. You wouldn’t walk here just for a swim, but a nice spot if you’re kayaking or walking along Middle Harbour.
Location: Two Creeks Track, between Koola Avenue and and Pipeline Tracks
More info: Middle Harbour Loop
_MG_9520-LRCascades
Distance: 3.2km return. Ease of Access: Moderate
A picturesque natural rock pool and small cascades formed by the confluence of Middle Harbour Creek and Frenchs Creek.
Location: Access via Cascades Track (3.2km return from St Ives / 3km from Davidson)
More info: Cascades Track
IMG_6221-LRMiddle Harbour Creek
Distance: 4km return (from start of Cascades Track). Ease of Access: Moderate
A sandy bank provides access to a natural swimming hole along Middle Harbour Creek.
Location: About 400m downstream from The Cascades along Middle Harbour Track
More info: Carrol Trig to Cascades
IMG_6120-LRMiddle Harbour Creek
Distance: 4.4km return (from Founders Way). Ease of Access: Moderate
As swimming hole along the Middle Harbour Creek Track, with a long sandy bank. (May be a bit shallow if it hasn’t rained for a while)
Location: About 500m upstream from Stepping Stones along Middle Harbour Track
More info: Carrol Trig to Cascades

Mountain Biking

There are many shared trails throughout Garigal National Park, as well as a few “purpose-built” mountain biking tracks. The trails vary from some easy firetrails, to quite demanding, technical single-track routes. Some useful resources for mountain-biking are Ku-ring-gai Council’s Cycling Map [PDF], Warringah Council’s Cycling Map South [PDF] the Northern Beaches MTB (NobMob) web site and Trailforks.

Easy / Suitable for kids

  • Lyrebird Track (1.7km one-way) – a very flat and generally smooth service trail from the end of Davidson Park to the start of the bushwalking track.
  • Currie Road Trail (2.2km return) – easy and fairly flat service trail. Combine with Serrata MTB Track or Cook Street Trail for a much more challenging ride!
  • Engraving Track (2.2km one-way) – fairly flat service trail that runs parallel to Wakehurst Parkway (return same way, or descend the purpose-built Gahnia Mountain Bike Track and return via Engraving Track for challenging 4km loop)

Moderate

  • Lower Cambourne Trail (1.5km one-way) – connecting the Cascades Trail and Bare Creek Trail, it has a creek crossing, a fairly steep ascent/decent and some sandy and rock sections. Combine with other tracks for 5-8km rides.
  • Bare Creek Trail (1.5km one-way) – starts near the Cascades and becomes the Heath Track; this firetrail is one of the easier ones but does have one ascent/descent and some sandy sections. (Combine with Heath Trail for 8km return ride from Belrose)
  • Caleyi Trail (2.2km one-way) – Service trail that descends from Mona Vale Road, before a steep dedcent where it becomes a bushwalking-only track. A few unauthorised MTB trails (Coopers Blue and Ya Right) join the Caleyi Trail to form a loop.
  • Pipeline Track (2.4km one-way) – it would be easy as the surface of this service trail is pretty smooth – but it descends fairly steeply from Founders Way down to Middle Harbour. (From Founders Way to Hunter Ave it’s less steep, but the track is much rougher and undulating).
  • Cook Street Trail (2.4km) – a fairly steep descent (90m elevation loss/gain) most of the way down to Bantry Bay. Descend via the purpose-built Serrata MTB track for s more challenging loop (3.2km)
  • Cascades Trail (3.2km one-way) – a well-graded service trail, but descends constantly and sometimes steeply from Acron Oval in St Ives down to The Cascades. (Combine with Lower Cambourne Trail and Bare Creek Trail for 5.6km loop or with Bare Creek & Heath Trails for 12km return ride.)
  • Slippery Dip Trail (4.5km one-way) – closer to “Easy” for the first 2km from Morgan Road, and then “Hard” with some serious ascents/descents to Deep Creek until it meets the Deep Creek Trail.

Hard / Experienced riders

  • Pipeline MTB track (1km one-way / 4.8km loop). An unofficial, steep single-track that descends just to the south of the Pipeline Track (return using Pipeline Track)
  • Serrata Mountain Bike Track (1.3km one-way). A steep, purpose-built single-track mountain bike trail almost all the way down to Bantry Bay; return via Cook Street Trail to make a 3.2km loop. NPWS Web site.
  • Gahnia Mountain Bike (2km one-way). Another purpose-built single-track that descends from The Bluff Track and then ascends to the Engravings Track. NPWS Web site.

Illegal Tracks

Although these tracks are quite popular, they are not legal mountain bikes tracks (most “single track” trails are generally authorised for bushwalking only):

  • Upper Cambourne Trail is a firetrail, but is not permitted for MTB use
  • Caleyi Trail between Slippery Dip Trail and Wakehurst Parkway (also called Deep Creek Trail) – the first 2.5km is approved for MTB use
  • XC Track (also referred to as Bernie’s) which is a short single-track loop from Slippery Dip Trail
  • Road to Nowhere (also referred to as Bernie’s) which continues from the XC Track down to Deep Creek

Kayaking

Garigal National Park straddles a long section of Middle Harbour, a “semi–mature tide dominated drowned valley estuary” (Wikipedia). Middle Harbour actually starts within Garigal National Park, near the top of the south-western section. It flows south through the national park as Middle Harbour Creek down to the Stepping Stones or Bungaroo, which is the tidal limit. From Bungaroo the waterway becomes Middle Harbour Creek: you can paddle from the southern-most end of Garigal National Park up to Bungaroo (at high tide; you may not quite make it at low tide!).

While the enclosed waters of Middle Harbour are great for kayaking, the only launch site is Davidson Park. There’s a boat ramp with some timber steps into the water on the southern side of Roseville Bridge; on the northern side of the bridge you can also launch a kayak near the netted beach.

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From Roseville Bridge, paddling north gets you as far as the “stepping stones” at Bungaroo (best at high tide). It’s about 5km one-way, with Middle Harbour getting gradually narrower and shallower, until you reach the end of Middle Harbour and the start of Middle Harbour Creek. There are a couple of side-creeks you can explore, albeit not very far (Rocky Creek and Carroll Creek) and a few sandy spot where you can stop.

Heading south from Roseville Bridge, it’s about 2.5km (one-way) to Flat Rock Beach, which makes a nice spot for a break. Continue another 2.5km or so to the end of Bantry Bay, past the old Bantry Bay Magazine Complex.

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Maps

There’s no map covering Garigal National Park – for detailed 1:25,000 topographical maps you’ll need:

The most detailed (printed) topographical maps you can get are from STEP – their 1:10K maps are incredibly detailed and cover most parts of Garigal National Park:

  • STEP Walking Tracks of Middle Harbour (North) – Buy

I’ve created an AllTrails Garigal National Park interactive topographical map, which has all of these walks listed, and shows most of the official and unofficial tracks. 
[KEY: Light Blue trails – bushwalking trail; dark blue – fire trail; brown – MTB single-track]

On a mobile device / phone, I woulfd recommend AllTrails (has the most trails) or Avenza (you can purchase any of the NSW 1:25K topographical maps, and access them off-line). 

Books & Resources

The books listed below provide more detail on some of the bushwalks listed above – some may be out of print or hard to find…

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5.5. Section on Garigal National Park. Snowys

3/5. Four Garigal NP walks  Ebook
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1/5. One Garigal NP walk in Vol 2.

For detailed track notes on many of these walks, have a look at the Wildwalks Garigal National Park Web page.

National Parks and Wildlife Service have an official Garigal National Park web page, although it only lists the more popular tracks. Check here for alerts on track closures.

Theres also informaton on local council Web sites which cover walks in and around Garigal National Park:

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