|Maps:||LPI Cowan 9130-4N 1:25000|
The walk from Brooklyn to Cowan is a very popular walk, especially in winter, due to people training for Oxfam Trailwalker. The nearby walk to Taffys Rock leaves the main track, and is much more secluded, with better views. The walk is good in winter as it mainly follows ridges, and is reasonably exposed to the sun. The wildflowers will be out in force in August. The track is well marked as far as the turnoff to Taffys Rock. From there it is likely to be marked by cairns, but there are no official markers, so attention should be paid to the map.
The walk starts and finishes at Cowan Station, so it is easily accessed by train.
There is parking at the station if you choose to drive.
From 12 Aug 2017, last checked 12 Aug 2017
Cross the train line to the southbound (eastern) platform at the pedestrian crossing and turn left onto the platform. Walk along the platform for 50m and turn right down the stairs. Cross the old tracks of the siding and turn left, walking alongside the old tracks for 130m to the Great North walk signs. Turn right and cross over the freeway at the pedestrian overpass. This turns into a bush track that leads steadily down into a shady rainforest gully. This is a pleasant walk, particularly on a hot day.
About 20 minutes from the start, the track crosses the gully and then descends more slowly, as the creek drops away quickly below. The track widens as you approach the tidal inlet, and circles around to Jerusalem Bay, where there is a signboard and clearing, and a large palm tree overlooking crystal clear waters. This is a good spot for a break.
Continue around the bay into the next gully until you can cross over the creek on boulders. From here it is a steep climb up to the top of the hill. There is a seat about a third of the way up, just past the steepest section, and another one only 60m before the turnoff to Taffys Rock.
A short way past the top seat, turn right onto a bush track, just behind a national park sign. This is a fairly obvious but unmarked track. At the end of the first knoll that you cross is a small lookout with views of Cowan Creek. A further 10 minutes brings you to the first of two abandoned trig stations that can be found along the ridge. This one is Cole Trig. Both of the trigs are impressive rock constructions, around 2m high.
There is a decent descent and ascent to get to the next knoll on the ridge. This is a large rounded sandstone dome with impressive tesselations. I have heard it referred to as Mackerel Rock. There is a rock outcrop on top which is worth climbing as you can see across the various branches of Taffys Gully to Taffys Rock.
From here the track gets a bit rougher and more overgrown but is still fairly straightforward to follow. It is a short walk to the next trig station, Edwards Trig, and then a couple more ups and downs before the track swings around to the north and up to Taffys Rock. Taffys Rock is a very large sandstone outcrop with great views in all directions from the various sides.
Taffys Rock is named after Dorothy "Taffy" Townson who died in Tasmania after being bitten by a snake. A memorial plaque can be found on the easternmost face of the rock about 60m north east from where you first climb on to it. This is a good spot for lunch.
After a break return the way you came.