On a beautiful sunny autumn day which was just perfect for walking, 8 walkers met at the Lyrebird Gully Track Head across the road from Mt Kuring-Gai Station
to walk to Berowra Station, a section of The Great North Walk, in Berowra Valley NP. This was a substitute for the planned Ruined Castle Walk in the Blue
Mountains NP, currently inaccessible following multiple landslides.
Following the leaders' briefing we set off down the track through Lyrebird Gully towards Calna Creek. Sections of the track were rather degraded, uneven, with
exposed roots, sand and a number of rocky creek crossings to negotiate. Along the way, we stopped to look at some small birds making a noise in the trees,
admired some brilliant orange banksia flowers and heard the water in the Lyrebird Waterfall. Then, while making our way over some rocks that contained a pool
of water, this leader spotted an Eastern Long-necked Turtle swimming in it. Most definitely the highlight of the walk! We watched as it swam around, then
climbed out and disappeared into the surrounding bush. We were so lucky to see it.
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    Great North Walk marker                                         A nice flow in the creek                                          Lush green in Lyrebird Gully
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                        Eastern Long-necked Turtle                                                                    Some difficult creek crossings
Continuing down the track, past rock formations through more shady areas, along the creek where dappled sunshine helped create reflections in the water and
through lush areas of green vegetation, we decided to stop for morning tea beside a sunny larger area of water. We watched fish swimming around, a dragonfly
and an Eastern Water Dragon on the opposite bank.
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                            Pool with reflections                                                                          Morning tea beside Calna Creek
Resuming our walk, we continued to follow the GNW signs until we reached the junction where the footbridge across Calna Creek joins the boardwalk above the
salt marsh to cross to the casuarina forest on the other side. We passed mangroves with lots of young saplings, grass trees, colourful fungi, Aboriginal middens
and a large boulder area that can be used as a campsite.
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  Banksia ericifolia - Lyrebird Gully Track                                    Boardwalk crossing the salt marsh
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                                                        Just some of the different types of fungi seen on the track
Then we had a zigzagging, strenuous 150m ascent up to a bench seat in a small cave, where we took the opportunity for a much-needed water break, before
another 40m climb to reach the Berkeley Fire Trail. After a short detour to our left, we arrived at the Naa Badu Lookout with a wonderful view over Berowra Creek
for lunch. Naa Badu means "see water" in the local Aboriginal language of the Dharug people. Berowra Creek is believed to be the natural boundary between the
coastal and western Aboriginal clans, as well as forming a point of contact between these Traditional owners.
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      A long steep climb up                  View from Naa Badu Lookout                                  Group at Naa Badu Lookout
Refueled after lunch we retraced our steps on the fire trail and continued up to Crowley Road, Berowra. The track got narrower and steeper towards the end and
involved a climb up some metal stairs, as well as another small creek crossing. A short street walk was involved to get to Berowra RSL, where 6 of us enjoyed a
drink, then to Berowra Station for the trip home.
Leaders: Hazel and Nick S
Walkers, Celia, Dae, Leah, Pragati, Steve and Wendy C
First Aid: Nick S
Tail end Charlie: Pragati
Words: Hazel
Photos: Hazel (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 15, 17); Nick S (2, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16)