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Discover Woronora - A Paradise Hidden in a Valley

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by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the Fishing Monthly Group and Australian Fishing Network. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published April 21st 2015
Explore the hidden wonders.

Last, but by no means the least in the six articles that I have been put together to highlight some of the amazing suburbs in the Sutherland Shire. The Woronora is a paradise hidden in a small valley near the upper reaches of the Woronora River.

A couple of anglers having a fish underneath the new Woronora Bridge.


Years ago the traffic that travel west from Sutherland would have to wind its way down through the valley and travel across an old timber bridge and then slowly wind its way back up to the Menai side, where you could then travel to either Bankstown across the Alfords Point Bridge or along pass the nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights and then onto Liverpool. Now there is a four lane bridge that towers over the valley, making it a quiet little suburb once again.

Many of the Woronora residents have to aprk their cars and take a boat up to their homes.


The Woronora Bridge was built to eliminate the steep descents and ascents of traffic between Sutherland and Menai. The bridge is approximately 600 metres long and was completed in 2001 as an alternative to the Old Woronora Bridge. There is a public path located just underneath the road on the bridge shared between bicycle and pedestrians. The path can be accessed from Menai Road on the Bangor side and Prince Edward Park Road or River Road on the Sutherland side.

Watch a 36 second time-line of how the Woronora Bridge was built. Courtesy of the RTA.

HISTORY

'Woronora' is an Aboriginal place name. Records show the spelling of the name has varied since it first appeared in the 19th century, the earliest being Wooloonora (Dixon, 1827, quoted in Walker 1974:66, followed by Wolonora (Dixon, 1837, and Woronora Mitchell, 1835). The name was first applied to the Woronora River, a tributary of the Georges River, before being given to an electoral district, a local road east of the river, and finally the suburb itself.

The Woronora River rises on the northwestern slopes of the Illawarra escarpment and has its origin from Waratah Rivulet, near Darkes Forest, and flows generally north for approximately 36 kilometres (22 mi), joined by three minor tributaries, before reaching its confluence with the Georges River, between Como and Illawong.

Feed the ducks on one of the little creeks that feed into the Woronora River.

HOW TO GET THERE.

By Public Transport:

Catch a train to Sutherland station, which is on the Illawarra line. As you leave the station, turn to your left, cross the road and take the steps down to the bus interchange. A number 965 will take you to Woronora.

By Car:

From the north and northwest you will find the main road over the Woronora is via a sweeping, high level concrete bridge and starts its journey (on the northern side of the river) at the junction with the Illawarra Road at Menai, although there is an access point for local Bangor traffic part way along. Almost immediately after crossing the river there is a slip road to the left before the road climbs the hill to Sutherland. The first left hand bend is deceptively tight after the long downhill right hand curve of the bridge, so take it easy, and especially as it is followed by an even tighter left hand bend to go back under the main road. About 50 metres or so further and Prince Edward Park Road is on the left. If you find yourself taking two more sharp turns (right and left) and then crossing another bridge, then you have missed it.
Take the kids to the playground at the Prince Edward Park.

From the northeast & approaching via the Prince's Highway through Kirrawee, drivers should take the Sutherland exit (stay in right hand lanes, stopping at traffic lights if necessary) just before the highway swings sharply left and heads down to Engadine past the Royal National Park. However, rather than going into Sutherland itself via the next left hand slip road, stay on the dual carriageway over the railway and follow it round to the right at the next lights heading towards Bankstown.

You will have to cross the Woronora on the high level bridge but at the end of the bridge there is a slip road to the left (followed by a sharp left hand bend) and the road then winds its way down to the old low level bridge where you can cross back again to get to the southern side. As you start to wind up the hill, Prince Edward Park Road is the first junction on the right, right on a hair-pin bend. Fortunately there is a small turning lane to make things a little easier.

Continue along Prince Edward Park Road until you pass the RSL club on your left and cross over Forbes Creek. From here you will see the distinctive blue Boatshed on your right. Taking the next turn to the right and immediately the first driveway on the right should have you pointing pretty much down the parking area.
The Woronora RSL & Citizens Club.

Coming from the southwest you will travel up the M5, you can choose to pay the $3.80 toll at Stacey St and turn south towards Menai, then follow the northwest instructions, or leave the M5 at Holsworthy and follow the Holsworthy road towards Engadine but turning left towards Menai when signposted. After passing Lucas Heights and Barden Ridge, turn right onto the Bangor Bypass and follow instructions for the northwest approach.

Turn left at the traffic lights at Heathcote and follow the highway north past Engadine. Ignore the side road to Sutherland just after the entrance to the Royal National Park (but for future reference this side road is where the Tram Museum is located) and stay on the highway until just before it turns sharp right into Kirrawee. At this point you will turn left towards Sutherland and follow the northeast instructions.

Coming from the southeast you will follow the highway north past Engadine. Ignore the side road to Sutherland just after the entrance to the Royal National Park (but for future reference this side road is where the Tram Museum is located) and stay on the highway until just before it turns sharp right into Kirawee. At this point you will turn left towards Sutherland and follow the northeast instructions.

WHAT CAN YOU FIND THERE?

• Woronora RSL Club.
118 Prince Edward Park Road Woronora. (02) 9521 2341
• Woronora boatshed
• Woronora River Public School.
• Woronora Cellars
They have a great range of reds in the Woronora Cellars. Check them out.

• The Valley Store.
3/69 Prince Edward Park Road Woronora. (02) 8544 8283
• Sutherland Region Guides- Woronora Division.
• Floating Fire Station.
It is the only floating fire station in Australia to provide for residents which do not have road access.
• Woronora RSL Fishing Club
They are a family-oriented fishing club, situated on the idyllic Woronora River, with members who simply love to fish and get together.

EAT OUT OR TAKE AWAY.

For those of you that have read the previous article called Discover Sutherland- Eat, Shop & Explore will notice that some of the places that you can dine at, order take-a-away or get home delivery are the same. Read on to find out a few more in the area.

• Bangor Tavern Hotel Restaurant.

Cuisines including Seafood, Italian, Asian or traditional Australian You could try their BBQ pork ribs, sangria, tapas, pizzas, salt and peppered squid, chicken parma and burgers. The prices range from $10 to $23 for mains.

Bangor Tavern. Cnr Menai Rd & Yala Rd Bangor NSW 2234. Ph: 9543 1866. Click here for more information.

• The Boatshed at Woronora.
Try out the home cooked meals at The Boatshed at Woronora.

The Waterfront cafe/kiosk provides sit-in or take-away meals, snacks and beverages from 8:30 am to 6pm, 7 days a week. The full cafe menu is available up to 4 pm, after which a limited menu may be offered.

Bookings are requested for groups larger than 6, and bookings are recommended for busier periods such as Sunday morning and special days like Father's Day. Call us on 02 9545 2584. Cooking is by Jane Bell of The Boatshed and everything is homemade! Click here for more information.

• Club Central Menai.

Here you can dine on house crumbed dory, Angus beef sausages, roast of the day, parmesan crumbed lamb cutlets, spaghetti with prawns and chicken Caesar salad. The prices range from $15 to $28 for mains.

Click here for more information.

• Copperpot Indian Restaurant, Menai.

You can dine in or order take-a-way from this small, but intimate restaurant. If you have a number of people in your group there is additional seating on terrace out front. Food was of a very high standard, perfect balance of spices all served in authentic metal pots that kept meal at perfect temperature until end of the meal. The prices range from $10 to $20 for mains.
90/72-80 Allison Crescent Menai. Ph (02) 95320533

• Grissini Ristorante Menai Metro.

Surrounded by Menai's lush bushlands and fauna, Grissini Ristorante sits coyly beside the Menai Conservation Park - barely a walk from the Menai marketplace. Grissini's ingredients are top of the range - all natural and fresh from Jason's daily trips to the Menai markets.

Grissini's experienced team of chefs pride themselves on their culinary work, hand making pasta and hand rolling pizzas that have been called nothing short of "Simply divine!" by the locals within Menai. From casual restaurant dining with the family, to a dinner date under the stars in the warmed alfresco gazebo dining area, to a booked out function or party. The prices range from $12 to $30 for mains. Click here for more information.

• Much More than Coffee, Bangor.
Winner of the Cafe of the Year for 2014 in NSW/ACT. Great coffee and cakes. Bangor Shopping Centre. 121 Yala Road Bangor. (02) 95433933

• Palace Garden Chinese Restaurant.

This is a great little Chinese Restaurant that you can dine in at or order take-a-way. Very pleasant food and plenty of it. The prices range from $12 to $30 for mains.

Shop 9, 72 to 80 Allison Crescent Menai. (02) 9543 8399

• Riverside Takeaway.
Why don't you call into the Riverside Takeaway at Woronora.

Great hamburgers are made here.
1/2 Prices Circuit Woronora. (02) 9545 5007

• Stapleton's Restaurant, Sutherland.

Great place to go if you are after a steak and they are fully licensed. They have an eextensive range of Australian wine by the bottle and glass. Plus local and imported beer. BYO bottled wine only. The prices range from $16 to $36 for mains.

Click here for more information.

The Bridge Restaurant & Bar.
The new owners of the Bridge Restaurant and Bar welcome you with open arms. They are fully licenced and you can BYO wine.

Sitting on the beautiful Woronora River is The Bridge Restaurant & Bar, which is conveniently located a short walk from Woronora Village and underneath the bridge, the restaurant is a popular meeting place among locals. Soak up the relaxed ambience and let the friendly staff serve you up tempters such as the chilli salt calamari, as well as the twice cooked pork neck with sweet potato fondant and salad of apple, celery and walnuts.

Great views and great meals can be had from the Bridge Restaurant & Bar. Photo courtesy of the Bridge Restaurant & Bar.


Modern Australian Cuisine and they are open for Lunch Wed to Sun 12 to 3pm, Dinner Wed to Sat 6pm to late, as well as they are open for Breakfast Sat and Sun from 9am. All Day breakfast Sundays. Licensed and BYO Wine Only. They also cater for weddings, christenings, birthdays, retirement parties. We will cater for any event you would like.

They are at Level 1, 2 Prices Cct, Woronora and you can contact them on (02) 9545 6557.
Click here for more information.

• Yau Chinese Restaurant.

Woronora RSL 118 Prince Edward Park Rd, Woronora NSW 2232

WALKS.

•Woronora Fire Trail.

There is a fire trail between Woronora and Woronora Heights that is closed to all vehicles. It is accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and for emergency access. It has remained closed due to protests from those who live in Woronora and parts of Woronora Heights concerned that if the fire trail was opened to general transport, it would create an influx of vehicles from Engadine using Woronora as a 'shortcut' to Menai and Sutherland.

• Prince Edward Park.
Park your car at the end of Prince Edward Park and start walking along one of the many tracks found down in the valley.

Is a great place to start your Woronora adventure and offers walking tracks, paths and look-outs. An unusual feature is its ruggedness which attracts groups and individuals who are looking for a challenging hike over a diverse stretch of land. The Park is home to huge paperbarks, turpentines and gum trees as well as wallabies, echidnas, sugar gliders and "Eric the Koala" who has been moving between local national parks and reserves for the last decade and is well known to local NPWS officers.

• Burnum Burnum Sanctuary.

A haven of serenity and solitude, Burnum Burnum sanctuary offers a range of great bushwalk tracks revealing stunning rock escarpments & formations. Keep an eye out for "Eagle Rock" the shape of the rock is much like the head of an eagle. You may come across an array of wildlife; blue tongue lizards, black cockatoos and tiny wrens. The sanctuary also offers lots of parking, picnic areas, play ground and a wetland area to explore.

EXPLORE.

• Lucas Heights Reactor.
• The Ridge Golf Club.
Why don't you test you skills at the Ridge Golf Club. Photo courtesy of the Ridge Golf Club.

ACCOMODATION:

• Lucas Heights Motel.
• Oyster Bay B & D
• Sutherland Motel.

Well, there you have it the last of the series of suburbs to visit in the Sutherland Shire.

And if you missed the first four you can always click on the following Links.

• Discover Audley in the Sutherland Shire.
• Discover Bundeena – The Jewel in the South.
• Discover Cronulla – Surf, Dine and Walk the beaches.
• Discover Cook's Landing Site- Kurnell Peninsula.
• Discover Sutherland – Eat, Shop & Explore.
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Why? Great place to explore those hidden treasures
When: All year round
Where: Woronora in the Sutherland Shire.
Cost: Free
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