Tracks & Trails

Callicoma Caves Loop
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | Cherrybrook | Sydney North | New South Wales

Callicoma Caves Loop

Lakes of Cherrybrook

by Susie Baber  |  18 July 2021

Cherrybrook | 5.1km | 2 hours | medium grade

Keeping our weekend walks within 10km during Sydney lockdown has temporarily halted our Great North Walk aspirations and opened up opportunities to explore more local bush tracks. Given the urban area we live in I was excited to find so many options available inside our 10km radius. The overlap with Jens 10km area limits us a bit but Cherrybrook falls in the area for both of us.

We started the Callicoma Caves Loop from The Lakes of Cherrybrook Park, opposite Cherrybrook Village shopping centre. The string of ponds through the park were formed when the creek was dammed, back when the area was rural. The park is surrounded by rare Blue Gum High Forest and has playground equipment, bbqs and bubblers.

The Lakes of Cherrybrook

Heading north toward Macquarie Drive the track goes through an underpass and comes out behind the Girl Guide Hall. The track follows the creek through an area that was once a construction site for sewer lines that it has now been rehabilitated with native plants.

A short distance down the management trail we turn down the stairs to the right and there is a set of concrete stepping stones over the creek. It has been quite dry in Sydney for the past couple of months and the creek is a mere trickle so no stepping stones were required today.

The walking track follows the creek a little further before climbing up the dry sandstone ridge and meeting Schofield Fire Trail. This trail intersects with the section of the Great North Walk that runs between Thornleigh and Hornsby. Follow the firetrail to the right and just after crossing a small creek (actually the beginnings of Berowra Creek) you will pass a clearing near the junction of Berowra and Zigzag Creeks, this is The Jungo, a basic camping area with no water or facilities.

At this point Jen and I became a little navigationally challenged and instead of following the walking track along the creek we continued along the firetrail to the left. We realised our mistake after climbing a very steep hill but by that point it was easier to continue the way we were going and come back down the Benowie Walking Track to get back on target. This added about 3km to our day, but we had nowhere else to be so it didn’t matter to much. (distance and time at the beginning of this article assume you don’t get lost like we did)

After our diversion, when we got back to Berowra Creek the area was so pretty I insisted that we backtrack along some of the path that we had missed. The shady area along the creek is almost rain-foresty with fallen logs covered in moss and ferns lining the creek bank. There are two creek crossings along this section, one over Berowra Creek via a metal bridge and the second, which has concrete stepping stones, crosses Nyrippin Creek.

After crossing Nyrippon Creek the track turns right along the creek and then swings uphill to Callicoma Caves. The change in environment from damp forest to dry sandstone with grass trees, grevillia and banksia is quite dramatic.

The Caves are a series of sandstone overhangs with beautiful golden colours and textures, weathered by many thousands of years of wind and rain.

The first overhang is the tallest and most dramatic. The track continues through the remaining overhangs and between massive boulders before dropping back down to Nyrippin Creek. For the next km or so yellow sewer inspection plates dot the way and houses are visible on the left as the creek on the right follows a narrow tongue of bush between urban the sprawl.

The track crosses upper reaches of Nyrippin Creek just above a rockpool and waterfall and again has raised concrete stepping stones, not required today with so little water flowing. The creek is surrounded by giant trees including Blackbutts and Sydney Red Gums. I can only imagine how spectacular this waterfall would look after heavy rain. Today the wide sandstone creek bed is providing a lovely play area for children exploring the bush.

From here we head up some stairs to Francis Greenway Drive and the remainder of the walk zigzags through suburban streets back to The Lakes of Cherrybrook.

A very popular walk, probably even more so in Sydney’s current circumstances. Clockwise (as we did) or you can also start from Francis Greenway drive and descend towards Nyrippen Creek following the track anti clockwise if you would prefer.

Share this story