A beautiful harbourside picnic spot, barbeque facilities, boat and canoe launching spots,and walking trails all add up to make Davidson Park in Garigal National Park, the perfect spot for a day's outing. As the days get shorter and cooler, a brisk walk invigorates the senses like nothing else. And somewhere protected from a cold wind blowing makes it even more enjoyable. Davidson Park is exactly that spot. Nestled underneath Roseville Bridge in Sydney's north, it has just the right balance of scenery and facilities and it's no more than 20 minutes north of the harbour.
On a mid-week day, I almost have the place to myself. There's a gentle hum of traffic in the background but it's not loud enough to ruin the ambience and the Roseville Bridge spans the river with giant's legs. The park's beauty is mirrored in the upper reaches of Middle Harbour Creek and the Garigal National Park flanks it on the other side.
There are plenty of picnic tables, gas barbeques, expanses of grassy areas big enough to kick a soccer ball or play a game of cricket. Plus, there's plenty of shade if you just want to loll under a tree and read a book. The land is flat and fairly even so quite suitable for wheelchair access. There are no shops so you will need to take all your own food and water. There are some designated areas, such as Area 1 and Area 2, which makes it easy if you're arranging to meet up with friends and these spots are also available for reservation. What a great spot for a party.
On the east side of the bridge, there's a boat ramp for launching your tinny, and cleaning bays to wash off after your outing. Plus, a designated canoe-launch spot makes it extra easy to get your gear on and off the water for a serene spot of paddling. Launch your kayaks and paddle to the very end of the waterway where mudflats make it easy to hop out and have a rest amongst the mangroves.
Walking Trail The Lyrebird Track is a very pleasant, easy 5.3km return trail. It's a well-formed trail, with the water on one side and the Garigal bush on the other side. Huge tree ferns, rock ledges and natural bush attract a variety of birdlife, and the upper reaches of creek are so gentle, every now and then you'll see fish jumping in the shallows. Allow about two hours, take water and wear a hat and sunscreen. There's a fair amount of shade, but in the summer it can get pretty hot. Depart from the north-western end of the picnic ground through a metal gate. There's a bit of a climbing before it joins onto 'Carroll Creek Track', but no need to go the whole way if you can't manage the climb. Take the easy option and return to the picnic ground. Either way, bushwalking doesn't get much prettier than this.
Getting There and Parking The park spans either side of the Roseville Bridge. Travel southwards along Warringah Road from Forestville and take the Healey Way exit. There is plenty of parking on both the boat-ramp/southern side of the bridge, and the picnic/northern side. You'll need to grab a ticket @ $8.00 per vehicle for a full day.