Wondabyne to Kariong Brook Falls is a four hour hike through misleadingly named Brisbane Water National Park, with a wonderful capacity for seeming in the middle of nowhere despite being only an hour away from the city by train.
One of the reasons for this is no doubt the lack of roads or footpaths within sight of Wondabyne Station
. You can reach it by foot along various trails
; by boat via the 6 odd metre long pier jutting into Mullet Creek which is connected to the Hawkesbury River, or by train, in which case you have to tell the train guard you're getting off at Wondabyne otherwise the driver will skip the station altogether.
Lush and lovely
After alighting from the train, head south towards the Great North Walk sign. Very soon it will bend right, away from the water and up some steps. The hike consists of a steady uphill for the first hour or so, variously along steps, and a wide, well marked trail. There is a ridge at the top where you can rest and look over the land to Mooney Mooney Creek on the north-west.
The view from the ridge
Take your time to get to the top, as the bush is surprisingly lush rather than being of the usual dry scrub. Watch where you're stepping as parts of the trail are dotted with swarming anthills almost a metre across.
Kariong Brook Falls is another hour away, back downhill. It's a shady little water hole where you can refresh before heading back the way you came.
The wide trail
Wondabyne Station is an hour and 7 minutes from Central Station along the Newcastle and Central Coast train line. A return ticket will cost $8.20 off-peak. Bring lunch, as there are no shops about, and at least a litre of water.