Time:4 hrs
Distance:13km
Fitness:EM
Skill:E
Ascent:200m
Maps: LPI Hornsby 9130-4S 1:25000
Notes:Print-friendly notes (opens in new window)
Please note that while the maps on this web site are useful and generally contain more, and more accurate, information on trails, the relevant topographic maps should be carried on most walks. These are available from the Lands Information Centre, map shops, and most outdoor stores.

Introduction

The Sphinx War Memorial at the start of the walk

The shores of Cowan Creek are followed for much of this walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Starting at the Sphinx Memorial at the park entrance, it wends its way in and out of bays to finish with a climb up to Berowra Station. The banks are relatively shady, making this a good walk for summer. Autumn and spring are also good, particularly with the wildflowers out in early spring. There are plenty of motor boats on Cowan Creek on the weekends, so it is more peaceful if you have the opportunity to do the walk mid-week.

If the full 13km is a bit much, a slightly shorter version finishes at Mt Kuring-gai Station (note the different spelling).

Access

The start of the walk is at the Sphinx, near the end of Bobbin Head Rd in Turramurra, just before the road enters Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. If you are using public transport, catch the bus from Turramurra Station to the Sphinx. The buses are relatively infrequent so check timetables.

Walkers on the upper reaches of Cowan Creek

The walk can also be done using a car shuffle, either between Berowra Station and the Sphinx, or better, between Turramurra Station and the Sphinx, and use the train to get from Berowra to Turramurra. The latter has the advantage that you could change destination to Mt Kuring-gai mid walk if you wanted.

Track notes

From 23 May 2004, last checked 23 May 2004

From the park entrance at the top of the Bobbin Head Rd, take the road to the right down to the Sphinx. Follow the sealed track from the Sphinx for about 30m, and turn right at the T-intersection. Turn left shortly after, following the Sphinx/Warrimoo Track sign down steeply down to a small creek, which the track follows down to Cowan Creek. As you get close to Cowan Creek there are some magnificent Smooth Barked Apples (Angophora costata) straddling boulders and rocky outcrops.

The lower reaches of Cowan Creek

At the bottom turn left, and follow the well-formed Warrimoo Track along Cowan Creek. The track winds in and out of a few bays along the way. It also passes an old midden where a large cave overhangs the water. After about 3.5km along the creek you pass a sign to the Bobbin Head track, and then onto a sealed track behind the back of the marina. Cross the bridge to Bobbin Head picnic area, a nice spot for a break.

From the Kiosk follow the track alongside the road for about 100m, before reaching a sign to the Birrawanna Track. Head up the hill steeply on the track. At the top there is a short detour to a lookout over Cowan Creek, although not much can be seen through the trees. Back at the main track, continue along until you reach the NPWS District Office. Walk across the car park and cross the road to a picnic area, where there are a couple of good lookouts over Apple Tree Bay at the right hand end. A path leads steeply down to the left from here to the bay, a good spot for a (likely) early lunch.

Wreck at the head of Waratah Bay

Cross the footbridge over Apple Tree Creek and head right on the track along the foreshore. Shortly you pass a sign to Mt Kuring-gai on your left. Head past this and continue around the foreshore. A boardwalk soon replaces an eroded section of path, before you head into the first of four bays fed by a freshwater creek (two creeks in the case of the third). Coming out of the second of the bays the vegetation changes to a mix of mostly Casuarina and Grass Trees.

At the head of the last bay, Waratah Bay, the track continues up the creek. After 700m, the track crosses the creek and climbs on a series of switchbacks up the hill. At the top of the hill, cross the freeway on the footbridge, which leads directly to Berowra Station.

Related walks

Bobbin Head Loop

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 9km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 180m

A pleasant walk along scenic Cowan Creek to Bobbin Head, and then back via the ridge.

Wahroonga to Mt Kuring-gai

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 15km Fitness: EM Skill: E Ascent: 200m

A great variety of scenery on this creek and ridge walk through Ku-ring-gai Chase

Hornsby to Mt Kuring-gai

Time: 7 hrs Distance: 21km Fitness: M Skill: E Ascent: 580m

An enjoyable section of the Great North Walk with varied terrain

Personal reports

23/05/2004 - Turramurra to Berowra: The Sphinx - Bobbin Head - Apple Tree Bay - Berowra (report)

Links