A hike for any season - Benowie Walking Track. Berowra Valley NP.
This little track is a favourite of ours. Mainly because of its convenience. It's only about a 20 minute drive from our home in Turramurra and there are toilets and fresh water at the trail head at Crosslands Reserve. It is also a great location for taking the leap into overnight treks with your little ones.
Crosslands is a big popular reserve with parking, campsites, amenities, a playground, BBQs, rubbish bins and canoe launching ramps. It’s very comfortable and convenient and you can book and pay online for campsites... But that’s not what we come here for. Our favourite spot is about a 2 km walk upstream along the Great North Walk and is free, quiet, has no amenities and just the sounds of the bush (and the distant hum of the F3 Freeway). It’s also a fun and easy walk for small kids.
Drive to Crosslands reserve at the end of Somerville Rd, Hornsby Heights (via Hornsby and Galston rd) and park at the car park closest to the playground. Then walk upstream through the campsite past the amenities block (you can fill up on fresh water here). When you get to the far end of the clearing you will see a sign for the Great North Walk.
The Great North Walk is a huge 250km hike that goes from the centre of Sydney all the way to Newcastle and there are sections that take in a lot of bush around Sydney’s northern suburbs. There are numerous basic campsites all along the trail and that is where our little hike will take us.
The walk with kids should be doable within an hour and the bush is varied enough for them not to get bored.
The track follows the Berowra creek and includes a few small climbs and descents. The views of the winding creek through the bush are really lovely and there are some interesting rock formations and opportunities for climbing. There is a small single campsite less than 1km into the walk. But keep going through the river valley and over a few more little climbs for a much better campsite.
Shortly after the track crosses a small freshwater re-entrant with a waterfall, it opens up to a picturesque open wooded area. To the left of the track is a comfortable place to camp with multiple tent-sites and a large campfire site.
We have camped here a few times and are usually surprised by the wildlife, considering it's located just beneath the suburbs. Lyrebirds, monitor lizards, water dragons, owls, eagles, black cockatoos and a variety of native birds... And the odd leach when it's been wet.
Our first trip here was Daisy and I just before she started kindy. We had rain, humidity and leaches but Daisy kept her cool.
The creek has a flat muddy area and is deep enough for fishing if the tide is high - with mullet jumping in the evenings. Unfortunately there is usually a bit of rubbish floating around and stuck in the shrubs. A reminder that we aren’t far from the city. But on a hot day at high tide you could cool off in the water - although we’ve never swam there. You can also access the campsite by paddling If you have a canoe or kayak. It is a very pleasant waterway to explore. Or with a bigger group you could hike in with someone ferrying fresh water and supplies in on a kayak.
Berowra Creek is a great spot to introduce kids to their first overnight hike - but be prepared, You will need enough fresh water for everyone and you may need to deploy a trowel or digging stick for toilets because it’s a 4km round trip back to the amenities of Crosslands. If you do need to dig a toilet dig it away from the campsite and track and try to make sure the hole is at least 30cm deep - make sure little kids are comfortable with bush-toileting because if they are shy and try to hold it in accidents can happen. But it is a short walk back to the car and civilisation is never too far away.
For more info check out:
For information on the Great North Walk: