A French traveler and artist currently exploring Australia. I enjoy bushwalking, discovering the local culture and arts.
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Published August 6th 2012
Scary-looking bridges and forced swims in the river
This day hike is a great way to discover the inland part of the Chase Ku-Ring-Gai National Park.Pack a sturdy pair of shoes, warm clothes and a lunch for a descent into three valleys covered in a lush rainforest. Don't forget to bring enough water and a first-aid kit as there are no facilities whatsoever along the track. See bottom of the page for useful information.
Mount Ku-Ring Gai train station is a far cry from the City Loop and only a few courageous mountain bikers got off the train with us, to end up on a deserted platform. After a short stroll along the Pacific Highway, we let the foliage engulf us and got started. The first surprise was the register box at the trailhead : was the hike that remote?
We started our descent on the trail, quickly encountering some mud as the trail started to head down, following a small mountain brook. The forest was now all around, bathing us in a sweet earthly scent and the beautiful reds and purples of late autumn.
Spring is the best time for wildflowers but autumn also offers nice colors - Photo by author
As we pressed on, the path got rockier and offered us a less squishy walk. We crossed the Lyrebird gully on a sandstone ford and pursued our descent along the brook. The path can be a bit difficult at times, with big boulders and roots in the way but the stones are carved to provide safe footing and a bit of caution saw us through the rougher patches, even with only a pair of converse. Ponds opened in every hollow, filled with green-gray water by tiny, singing waterfalls.
We finally reached the floor of the valley, where our small brook joined the Berowra Creek. We crossed the creek on a scary looking bridge, not really reassured by its bent shape and the sign saying "No more than two people at a time". Be careful around the river as the stone is covered with moss and is very slippery. You don't want to experience the force bath our guide took in the Creek when she stepped too close! There is a small bench overlooking the river up the stairs : the perfect spot for our lunch.
The bridge is safer than it looks - photo by author
We then crossed the creek back and followed the water on a series of planks above the marshy valley floor. The path then went up the hill again, to bring us to Berowra. Stairs and carved stones make the walk uphill very easy even though it is much steeper than the descent from Ku-Ring-Gai station. We then reached a large track. Be sure to make a left at that point, to enjoy the magnificent view of the valley at Naa Badu ("See the Water" in Gadigal) Lookout.
Mount Ku-Ring-Gai is one hour North of Central Central on the Newcastle line. You should buy a return ticket to Berowra (9.60AUD) as you will be coming back from this station.
Exiting the Mount-Ku-Ring-Gai train station through the tunnel, follow the "Great North Walk" sign leading to the right. Make a left and walk along the Pacific Highway until you reach Glenview Road (first traffic lights) after about 200m. Use the footbridge to cross the Highway and walk your way back to Glenview Road. Follow the "Great North Walk" signs to find the trailhead, behind a green metal gate. Here, the adventure begins!