25/06/2006 - report - photos
Participants: Tom Brennan, Rachel Grindlay
Rachel and I drove to Forestville and left the car on Bantry Bay Rd near the end of the walk, and then headed along back streets back to Warringah Rd. Rachel quickly spotted a shopping centre and we headed there in search of a coffee for her. While she was visiting Michel's Patisserie, I paid a visit to 'Ezeloo' (tm). Apart from taking about three times as much space as a normal loo and there only being one for the entire centre, it talks to you in an American accent, lets you know that you only have ten minutes and plays elevator music while you do your business. Give me a toilet block any day!
Some more walking along busy Warringah Rd brought us to the entrance to Garigal National Park, and I decided to wander along the foreshore as the track as marked on my map seemed to leave from the end of the parking area. The map was clearly a bit misleading as getting to the track from there would have involved a wade followed by a steep dirty scramble. We backtracked to the park entrance and found the start of the track there.
The track climbed up above the harbour, passing through gnarled old Sydney red gums. I checked out a small track which led up the hill to a large cave, and a number of shiny rings denoting a climbing area. Turned out to be Crumbly in the online guide. We passed a few more unmarked tracks without exploring any further, before we came to a signposted intersection at a waterfall. After finally working out that we hadn't come as far as I thought, we headed down a steep track to Flat Rock Beach. We rounded the headland and headed up Bantry Bay, passing the old explosives magazines on the way. At the top of a rise we found a rocky outcrop overlooking the track, and had a late lunch (3 o'clock). One puffing walker walked past below us apparently without even noticing we were there.
Continuing on we took a wrong turn to cross Bates Creek, and ended up on a minor track up to the Cook St fire trail on the next ridge. We soon relocated ourselves and detoured on to the Natural Arch Track, which as the name says, leads to a quite impressive natural bridge over a small unnamed creek.
At the top we took the short track out to Bluff Lookout which had good views over Bantry Bay as the sun slowly set. Then it was back up the fire trail which dumped us on the far side of Forestville Oval from our car. The trip in the car back down Warringah Rd seemed to take longer than when we had walked it. Turned out there had been an accident near the top of the hill down to Roseville Bridge, and there were still a couple of police cars in attendance.