Tracks & Trails

Cowan Creek
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | hiking | national parks | Sydney North | New South Wales

Cowan Creek

by Susie Baber  |  4 July 2021

12km | 4.5hours + coffee break

The Mt Ku-ring-gai track starts from the end of Harwood Avenue a short walk from Mt Ku-ring-gai Station. Starting as a wide shady maintenance trail it soon narrows and heads downhill to Cowan Creek.

When we got to the track intersection, there was a sign letting us know that the track between here and Berowra was closed, due to a collapsed timber platform at Cowan Creek View. Disappointed but determined to make the most of it we decided to turn right instead of left and walk to Apple Tree Bay instead. A much shorter walk following Cowan Creek to the south.

Apple Tree Bay has a popular boat ramp for accessing Cowan creek and plenty of parking. There is a kiosk, electric BBQ’s, picnic benches, toilets and drinking water. The highlight for us was the kiosk which is only open on weekends, we don’t often get a coffee stop mid walk. Due to the isolated location they are only able to accept cash (no internet). Being prepared for anything Jen had a few dollars stashed away and we picked a nice spot in the sun to sip our hot beverages.

Having taken advantage of the facilities and recharged our batteries we head back along the track with the intention of retracing our steps up to Mt Ku-ring-gai. When we get back to the ‘track closed’ sign we see several people coming from the direction of Berowra, so we stopped to ask them where they had started and the condition of the track. The closed section is a boardwalk/lookout at the creeks edge, but if the tide isn’t too high you can get around it on the rocks. The tide is on it’s way up but we decided to walk as far as the blocked path and see how it looks.

Cowan Creek View, is a timber platform lookout on Cowan Creek and indeed it was not hard to climb down to the rocks and walk under the lookout and continue the walk to Berowra. We had now extended our intended 8km walk by an extra 3km by detouring to Apple Tree Bay. To go on or go back? Either way was going to require a big uphill to get out of the valley so thought we might as well push on to Berowra.

Following the creek north to Waratah Bay on the eastern extent of Cowan Waters we come to the site of Windybank’s Boatshed. Edward Windybank was the first white settler in Cowan Creek, he was offered a life tenancy in 1888 and started a boat building and hire business. He named the bay Waratah Bay, built a small home and boat shed, and lived here with his family. Edward Windybank has been credited with introducing houseboats to New South Wales. At the site of the boat shed you can still see the original concrete peers and further up the bay a rusting metal boat hull.

At the head of Waratah Bay there is a picturesque gully crossing and the track follows the Waratah Gully Creek upstream. We cross the creek at the site of an old bridge, is a little slippery and could get difficult after heavy rain. From here it is a steep climb to Berowra Station with the track zig zagging up the hill.

At the top of the ridge there are some filtered views over the valley and while admiring these we miss a turn to the right. When the track we are on fades to nothing we backtrack and realise our mistake. The path heads up to and over the M1 before meeting Berowra Parade and ending at Berowra Train Station. Just one train stop up from where we started.

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