06/05/2006 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Gill Fowler, Rachel Grindlay
Rachel and I caught an earlier train to Roseville and were able to surprise Gill on the station when she arrived. We disembarked at Wahroonga and set off down the quiet back streets to the trackhead. After half an hour's walk we were not very impressed to find that the track between the Gibberagong Waterholes and the boardwalk at Bobbin Head was closed. We were not particularly inclined to admit defeat and road bash back to the station, and luckily I had the topo maps with me (a little unusual for a suburban walk). There was a fire trail on the adjacent ridge that looked promising. Perhaps a bit of a bush bash up to it from the Waterholes, and maybe at the end down to Bobbin Head, but we thought we would give it a go.
So off we set along the fire trail, which was quite pleasant in the sun, and then down the switchbacks to the Waterholes. There was a bit too much rubbish in the Waterholes for my liking. A shame, as they would otherwise be very nice little swimming holes - although not at this time of year! We had a break for morning tea, and examined the industrial strength fence and gate preventing us from going any further along the track. Someone obviously wants to discourage walkers. Interestingly enough, there was a track up the spur to the ridge we wanted to get on. Hard to know if it was recent. There were a number of orienteering markers on it that might have created it, or it may have been there before. In any case we got to the top pretty quickly and turned on to the fire trail.
After a brief lookout stop, we followed the fire trail down into the saddle and up the other side where it ended under the power lines. A track through dense scrub brought us out to another lookout, over Bobbin Head and Cowan Creek. It was a good view, although it does make you realise how much of a scar Bobbin Head is on the surrounding area.
We picked up a track heading down the ridge, which was good, as I wasn't sure there would be one. It was fairly vague, but continued most of the way to the bottom, where it petered out. A bit of scrabbling through the bush brought us out on another track, this one well maintained. As we reached the junction with the Gibberagong Track, the large sandstone blocks and wooden boards strewn around seemed to suggest that we hadn't quite avoided all the trackwork. This was confirmed by a large metal gate on the mangrove boardwalk that we had to climb around!
After a quick snack stop we headed up and over the ridge to Apple Tree Bay. I took the detour to the lookout while Gill and Rachel waited for me at the track junction. Rachel thinks I'm a lookout junkie, with some small justification. Just before the descent to Apple Tree Bay we found a small echidna on the road. Given the amount of traffic we tried to shoe him away, but only succeeded in getting him to curl up under one of the metal railings.
We had lunch in the sun down at Apple Tree Bay and then reached the decision point - push on to Berowra or take the short cut out to Mt Ku-ring-gai. Rachel chose the Berowra option, so off we went. At one of the bays we met an odd group heading in our direction, a bunch of Japanese with a stroller and a baby as well as other children. Not really the track for the stroller, which it looked like they had mostly been carrying! We tried to work out where they had started (Apple Tree Bay or Berowra) but couldn't come up with plausible reasons why they would have taken the stroller that far from either end.
We passed a few more groups, which I was surprised about as some of them were not very far into their walks for the time of the afternoon. Soon we reached the head of Waratah Bay and started the climb up to Berowra. The switchbacks made it pretty easy and we were at the station quite quickly. A slightly odd fellow on the station wanted to show us the "greatest skateboard trick", which I was a bit worried would involve the train or the edge of the platform. However, it just involved him spinning the skateboard around his arm and catching it. After showing us a couple more times (and dropping it on the last occasion), the train thankfully departed without him!