As a person who enjoys the outdoors, I was keen to see what a guided hike in my own city would be like. Lisa Antill from Live Adventure made my afternoon hike easy and enjoyable. All I had to bring was myself, a small backpack and a water bottle. Lisa provided snacks, sunscreen, first aid, spare raincoats and a meal of damper and tea around a campfire at the end of the hike.
Lisa runs Live Adventure, a company that specialises in guided outdoor adventures. I was invited to join a group of fellow hikers at Lane Cove National Park for an afternoon winter hike. Mind you, it may be winter but Sydney put on a warm 20° Sunday afternoon. We all packed extra layers but had no need for them. Nor did we need raincoats, although some rain would be good. The signs of drought are apparent throughout the park. The main evidence was a film of algae growing on the water's surface.
We were instructed to meet Lisa at picnic area 18.
This particular hike is for beginners to intermediate fitness levels. It's probably a good hike to do whilst you work your way up to higher levels. As an afternoon hike of 4 hours, it is a manageable 11kms. We had time to stop for photos, discuss interesting spots and vegetation along the route, and the hike was not rushed.
When you decide on the particular adventure you'd like, Lisa will send you all the details a few days before. She provides instructions on where to meet, how to get there, what to bring and what to wear. Each adventure will have its own set of rules but basically, the best thing to bring is your own sense of adventure.
Lisa, our guide, explaining the hike to the group before setting off.
As with any outdoor activity, there are rules to follow. This is for everyone's safety. Guides will set out these rules before the commencement of the activity. Lisa did this as soon as everyone arrived.
By the way, a small note about arriving on time. When you book a group activity be sure to arrive before the set-off time. This way you will hear the rules, safety instructions and be prepared. If you are late, you will be left behind.
View of the river from one of the bridges we crossed on the 11km hike.
Lane Cove National Park is full of history. The park is part of the traditional land of the Guringai People and protects a number of ancient Aboriginal sites. Guides have knowledge of the area and it makes for informative chats as you hike.
As well as these sites you may see wildlife such as the Australian Brush Turkey, Echidnas, Eastern Water Dragons and a variety of native birds. We were lucky enough to see an owl.
There is wildlife throughout the park. This owl watched inquisitively as we took photos.
You will walk through eucalypt forests, casuarina woodlands and areas of wetlands. Each side of the river is different. One side is drier with sparse vegetation, the other rockier with caves and larger trees. Despite the current drought, some areas are lush with ferns and water grasses.
As a guided tour, we did go off-track a couple of times. On a group hike such as this one, Lisa and her team have local knowledge of the area. If you do hike unguided, it is advisable to stick to the marked route.
This is especially so if you are inexperienced. Even though you might be in an urban National Park, it is easy to lose your way. Especially if it rains or heads towards nightfall.
The Lane Cove River is a northern tributary of the Parramatta River. It joins the Parramatta River at Greenwich with both flowing into Sydney Harbour. This patch of natural bushland is 3.72kms and is great for bushwalking, biking, kayaking and picnics. Many Sydneysiders spend weekends in this park. On this Sunday hike, we saw many other hikers, bikers and families enjoying the children's play areas around the cafe and weir.
There were families enjoying picnics near the weir and cafe.
Sydneysiders are lucky to have this recreational area so close to the city. The only thing I found annoying was the aeroplanes flying over. Other than this distraction, there are areas where you feel you are a long way from city life.
One of the things about hiking and camping is the equipment you need to carry with you. This is not an issue with Live Adventure. Lisa looks after the administration and provides equipment depending on the activity.
This hike was a great way to spend a winter Sunday afternoon. It was lovely meeting the other hikers and is a good way of meeting like-minded people. If you like the great outdoors, then do it the easy way and book a guided adventure. Book your outdoor adventure now on the website or phone Lisa on 0425209940.
The campfire at the end of the hike. The damper was delicious.