I am a freelance photographer and writer from Port Stephens NSW Australia. Visit my web site at www.philipduncanphotography.com
Published May 3rd 2015
Try the old road out of Sydney
If you want to escape the city for a day why not pack a picnic or BBQ lunch and head up the old road to Somersby Falls.
The Somersby falls
Unless you are a motorcyclist or you have been forced to make a detour off the M1 due to a road closure you probably have no idea what I am talking about.
The original Newcastle to Sydney section of the Pacific Highway is still there and the M1 crosses it in several spots.The Old Pacific Highway is narrow and curvy which is why it is popular with motorcyclists. But it also winds its way through some great scenery.
Why not start at Pearces Corner in the suburb of Wahroonga. This historic point at the corner of the Pacific Highway and Pennant Hills Road was the way that as a young kid I knew I had made it to Sydney, after what felt like forever on the road from Newcastle, and the trip was almost over once again.
After you head back to the Pacific Highway, just up the road at Kangaroo Point is a chance to stop and check out that old bridge that you have seen so many times as you cross the Hawkesbury River on the M1.
On the other side of the Hawkesbury is Mooney Mooney and a large park where you can launch your boat or a canoe and explore the Hawkesbury. Have a go at fishing or just relax.
Keep following the old road and you will be entering Popran National Park as you wind your way through some forest valleys and hills.
Keep on going through Mount White to Calga then back down into the forest and twisty road over the Mooney Mooney Creek. Keep on going till you see a big dinosaur and you know that you are almost there. Turn off to the Australian Reptile Park and follow Myoora Road to Somersby Falls Road. Turn left and just up the road takes another left to the falls carpark.
There is a small fee to park in the car park that helps to fund the ongoing maintenance and improvements to national parks, or you can get an annual pass if you are a regular visitor to the national parks.
Somersby Falls picnic area is the perfect place to escape everyday life. Enjoy your picnic or BBQ amidst lush rainforest.
Just remember that the park is open 9.00am to 5.00pm for most of the year and until 8.00pm during daylight saving time.
It's a great place to picnic, with free barbecues and picnic tables and plenty of space to set up your own rug and chairs.
Above Somersby Falls
You can picnic under the shade of tall trees at the far end of the carpark or next to Floods Creek before it descends over the cascades. You're bound to see a bird or two. Make sure you look out for the industrious brush turkeys that might be keen on sharing your lunch.
When you've enjoyed a tasty barbecue and feel like stretching your legs, try the Somersby Falls walking track. It's a 500m return walk through rainforest that takes in views of the top and bottom waterfalls. The walk is steep and slippery in places, so keep an eye on the kids as they walk along the track.
Of course you can always cool off under the waterfall if it's a warm day or just enjoy exploring the waterfalls. Don't forget to have a look around the rocks above the waterfalls as well.
This is a popular spot for photographers so bring along your camera and see what you can capture.
When you find that it's time to head back to reality and head for home you can follow your nose back to the M1 and take the quick trip back home.