A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published September 5th 2013
Explore this pristine patch of remnant bushland
There's not many major cities around the world where you can be in the middle of the bush just 10km from the CBD, but Sydney isn't like most other cities. Head north, south or west from the CBD and it won't be too long before you come across a patch of pristine bushland - and one such beautiful bushland area can be found in North Ryde.
Wallumatta Nature Reserve covers more than six hectares and is a relaxing nature retreat in the middle of suburbia. This loely park protects the largest remnant forest of the Sydney turpentine and ironbark forest.
This reserve was set aside as part if the Field of Mars Common way back in 1804, and was again saved from housing development in the 1980s. Today this tranquil bush oasis is popular with birdwatchers, bushwalkers and botanists.
A 600-metre walking loop winds through the reserve, allowing visitors to experience the best the area has to offer. It's quite refreshing to get away from all the traffic noise and people, the sound of tyres on bitumen replaced by birdsong and trees rustling in the breeze.
While it's certainly not the longest bushwalk around, the Wallumatta Nature Reserve Loop is worth adding to your walking circuit. If you're planning an early morning visit, however, keep your eyes open to watch out for golden orb-weavers. These little spiders seem to take great delight in weaving their impressive webs right across the trail, and if you're not careful you'll wear a few of those webs in the face.
Before the arrival of white settlers, thousands of hectares of Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest linked the Cumberland Plain Woodland (west of Parramatta) with the Blue Gum High Forest found in the higher rainfall areas of northern Sydney. Sadly, very little of this once magnificent forest remains, but Wallumatta Nature Reserve is a tiny remnant and a reminder of what this part of Sydney once looked like.
More than 30 species of native birds call this park home, so while walking you can try to spot black-shouldered kites, masked lapwings and the blue-winged sacred kingfisher. Other native critters, from brushtail possums to cackling kookaburras, can also be sighted.
If you'd like to explore this peaceful little patch of remnant bushland, visit the NSW National Parks & Wildlife service website to find out more.