Dec 6, 2015


Most of my posts this year have been from walks in the Sydney area. I'm pleased to return to the Upper Blue Mountains with this walk that we did back in Autumn. The photo below was taken on the way to the start of the walk, at the Leura Cascades.  

Leura Cascades

We followed the Federal Pass and Dardenelles Tracks to the Scenic Railway at Katoomba.
 see location map

While the walk is not long, a little over 5Km, it is considered hard.

We walked from Leura station, then caught a bus from Scenic World (at the end of our walk), to Katoomba station.

  ( Wildwalks link - a similar walk starting at Gordon Falls: ) 

Oct 22, 2015

Woronora River

We started our Woronora walk at Jannali station in the Sutherland Shire, south of Sydney, then through the Burnum Burnum Sanctuary (named after the late Aboriginal activist).

The sanctuary 'contains ... a variety of soil conditions supporting a rich diversity of native plant communities from the Sydney Ridgetop Woodland down through Sandstone Gully Forest on the west facing slope to the riverflats and mangroves, interesting rock platforms and caves.'  [Kaimiaway]

I was impressed by the four-lane 521m long Woronoria River Bridge, which includes a wide shared pedestrian walkway and cycleway suspended below the northern deck. The bridge, completed in 2001, won the 2002 Australian Construction Achievement Award. (ACAA)

 Woronora River, Woronora

The pedestrian bridge (above), is at the end of Park Street Woronora.
My GPS trace stops at the reserve on the western bank. We extended our walk from there to the bus stop opposite the RSL club, where we caught a bus to Sutherland station.

                              GPS trace                     Location Map

Oct 11, 2015

Pippas Pass - Blaxland

Pippas Pass at Blaxland in the lower Blue Mountains, is an extension of the Florabella Pass walk from Warrimoo. Our aim on this very warm day, was to examine/enjoy/photography some of the Spring wildflowers we came across along the way.

The white flowers above are  Philotheca sp. formerly Eriostemon

The orange-yellow pea flowers are
one of many species commonly known as 'egg and bacon' 

Grevillea sericea

We started this short walk near the Blaxland Library car park. Some of us continued on the track and turned off at the Ross Cr. rock outcrop exit (see 'wildwalks') while others returned the same way.
(Returning to the library via Ross Cr. and the Great Western Highway is ~3.7 Km)

Sep 26, 2015

RAN Heritage Centre

Only a seven minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, is The Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, Garden Island. The Main Building, former 1922 Gun Mounting Workshop, houses the exhibition gallery and the 'Salthorse Cafe'.


The centre holds over 3000 artifacts, including the conning tower of one of the three Japanese submarines that penetrated Sydney Harbour in 1944.  (above right - diving air supply equipment)

Krupp Field Gun (circa 1889) captured in Rabaul in 1914
 A fully operational Oberon Class submarine periscope has been installed. which allow visitors an unusual view of Sydney Harbour.               Photos from our previous visit to Garden Island
RAN Heritage Centre website 

Sep 11, 2015

The Spit to Manly

This popular walk from The Spit Bridge, Mosman, meanders around the harbour foreshore of Clontarf, through part of Sydney Harbour National Park, to Fairlight and Manly.

The Spit Bridge, Middle Harbour
The Spit Bridge (completed in 1958) opens several times each day to allow the passage of tall-masted vessels.

This scenic 10 Km walk has numerous entrance/exit points which would enable a shorter walk.

We caught a bus from the city and returned by ferry.

          The Manly Scenic Walkway  has a link to a pdf with points of interest and map

           Walking Coastal Sydney also has a good pdf with map and notes

            WildWalks link

Aug 2, 2015

Centennial Park and Labyrinth

On this return visit to Sydney's beautiful Centennial Park, I was looking forward in seeing the 260m sandstone labyrinth. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has a single pathway leading to the centre. There are more than 1,700 stones of 80 different shapes and sizes in the pathway designed for quiet reflection and exploration.

The weather was cold and showers threatened, but I enjoyed my visit none the less.

The Labyrinth, which was opened in September 2014, was featured in an ABC 'Compass' program 'Walk The Talk'

 Centennial Park Labyrinth 
      Sydney Labyrinth                 park location map   

Link to my previous Centennial Park blog post

Jul 9, 2015

Lane Cove River

Pond near Tarban Creek, Huntleys Cove

This walk, which began at Huntleys Point wharf on the Parramatta River, was a new one for me. It followed a section of the Great Northern Walk along the Lane Cove River, to West Chatswood.

Tarban Creek bridge from Huntleys Cove

Lane Cove River
At Epping Road, North Ryde, we crossed under the Lane Cove River Bridge. (above)
A little to the north of this, and within Lane Cove Nation Park, is a site once known as the Fairyland Pleasure Grounds - 'a place of mystery and beauty' - the clearing on the banks of the river, once featured a picnic ground, dance hall, flying-fox etc. It dates from 1913, and remained in use until the early 1970s. (below)

We ended our 10.9km walk at Delhi Rd near Fullers bridge, and caught a bus to Chatswood station. My thanks to our walk leader.
          location map  (Huntleys Point)           location map  (Lane Cove)       

              GPS trace map 

May 2, 2015

Bicentennial Park

We stated our walk to the Homebush Bay - Badu Mangrove section of Bicentennial Park, at Rhodes Station. We followed the track alongside Homebush Bay Drive, before exploring the section of track between Powells Creek and the Billabong.  See map link

Homebush Bay from Bicentennial Park

We shouldn't have been surprised when we encountered mosquitoes in the area between the creek and the billabong (photos left & below).

(above left) 'Warrigal Greens' (a bush food), growing next to Powells Creek.

(above right) Black Swans in the waterbird refuge
Billabong, Bicentennial Park

The wreak of  various ships can be seen from the 'Shipwreck Lookout', which juts out into Homebush Bay. The reason for this, is that part of the bay was once used as a ship-breaking yard.

Rhodes is about 17kms from Central Sydney. You could also start or finish from Concord West. This was a return visit for me -
Link to my previous post on Bicentennial Park

Apr 20, 2015

Valley Heights

Recently our walking group paid a visit to the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum in Valley Heights, near Springwood in the Blue Mountains. The depot is the home of three groups: The Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum, the Steam Tramway, and a Model Railway group. The photo below shows the steam tram during the Centenary of the Locomotive Depot celebrations last year.                        Location map

Steam Tram 103a, at Valley Heights

We were shown around and told something of its history. The goods engines based at Valley Heights assisted almost every freight and passenger train destined for Mt. Victoria, Lithgow and beyond, over the longest continual and most steeply graded mainline in Australia.  

Steam operations from Valley Heights ended in 1957, but electric locomotives continued to assist steam hauled trains to Katoomba until electrification was completed. In latter years the depot become a freight wagon and electric locomotive repair workshop, and remained in use until 1988.

The museum  exhibits include:
- a Goods Steam Locomotive,
- a 46 class Electric Locomotive (built in 1956),  - an Ice Van and various other rolling stock.  There is also rail heritage displays and memorabilia.

The depot is usually open to the public on the 2nd & 4th Sunday each month.

The carriage seen in the photo (right) is the beautifully restored "Caves Express" First Class carriage. The carriage was in use in the late 1920s and 30s on the Caves Express between Sydney and Mount Victoria. The photo below shows a section of the kitchen in the same carriage.

 A railway model (below) shows the depot as it once was, with roundhouse, turntable and steep timber trestle leading to the elevated coal stage storage bin.

The volunteer workers at the Depot have achieved some impressive results. It was a very interesting morning, topped off after lunch, with a pleasant 5.75km walk around a nearby fire trail. My thanks to all involved.

           We ended our walk at Valley Heights station.                    GPS trace map 

Apr 2, 2015

Wolli Creek and Cooks River

Our walk started at Bardwell Park, around 12Km SW of Central Sydney. The Two Valley Trail led us through bushland, parkland and riverside to Canterbury along the Wolli Creek and Cooks River Valleys, via their junction at Tempe.

The Wolli Creek Valley was filled with orchards, market gardens and other farms in the mid 1800 and early 1900s.
Our walk leader showed us a pond, which once supplied a farm house, can still be seen filling with water dripping down from the rugged sandstone escarpment above. The pond is obscured by ferns in the photo above. [more history]

This 'fishway channel' at Turrella, allows fish to travel between the saltwater section of Wolli Creek and the freshwater on the other side of the weir.
 Many native species need freshwater creeks to feed, breed and avoid predators.

below: 'At the beginning of the 1900s, the Schwebel family had quarries in Marrickville and Undercliffe, on each side of the river, and William Jackson opened a quarry above Wolli Creek. The street of six stone cottages he built for his family, Jackson Place, is an important site in the heritage of the area'.  
Judy Finlason, The Place That Jackson Built: The Story Behind Six Stone Cottages, Wolli Creek Preservation Society, 1999

The Cooks River (left) 'runs through some of the most heavily urbanised and industrialised areas in Australia, but many parts of the river and its foreshores offer beautiful riverside walkways, cycle paths and wonderful parks ...' - Cooks River Alliance

The Australian Sugar Company once refined sugar at Canterbury. The 'Sugar House' (right) near the Cooks River was a sugar mill from 1842 until it closed in 1854, due to a labour shortage caused by the gold rush. The building, built with local standstone, was converted to residential apartments in 2002.     more industrial history

We finished our walk at Canterbury and returned to the City by train.          

Ref: The Wolli Creek Preservation Society pdf