A recap of my adventures in the months of July and August, 2021

Well this is a first. A complete two month travel recap that occurred entirely in LOCKDOWN! Its hard to do up to date travel content on a travel blog when you’re in lockdown! Well luckily I live in a beautiful part of Sydney, Australia – The Northern Beaches. The only outings we were (are – lockdown is still going as I type this) allowed was outdoor exercise. So I made it my weekly goal to get out and explore some beautiful walking tracks in my local area!

Read on for some very local adventures…


On the drive to West Head or down to McCarrs Creek is Upper and Lower Gledhills falls. There is parking for about 2 cars on the side of the road and an unoffical track leads you to the falls. The day I explored was quite muddy and I didn’t fancy climbing over the rocks to the lower falls so I explored the upper falls and rockpools as they go under McCarrs Creek rd.

McCarrs Creek, with Banskias

There are unofficial paths that follow the river’s edge

The start of the upper falls

Looking down at the pool below the falls, this is a popular swimming spot in Summer

McCarrs Creek road bridge



A good friend has a National Parks pass so we use it together to go for bushwalks inside the incredible Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. The lockdown rules means we are only allowed to exercise outdoors in our Local Government Area. So happy then that Ku-Ring-Gai NP, on the northern fringe of Sydney is inside our LGA, as well as Garigal NP. With school holidays upon us, we decided to do the Challenger Track with her 3 kids. At about 3km return, with a view at the end, its perfect for little people aged 11, 7 and 5. Last year during lockdown number 1 we did the popular America Bay track. Read about that here.

The start of the Challenger Track, marked by a simple gate. 

Off road parking on West Head Road

We stopped at a flat rock off to the side of the track to have lunch

Most of the track is a nice, flat, wide fire trail

About half way along is this large rock and outlook. This would have been a more scenic stop for lunch!

At the end of the track you are rewarded with views of Broken Bay, all the way to Patonga and Brooklyn.

Looking across to Broken Bay. 

You could probably climb all the way down to the water’s edge from the end of the track. Not for us though!


I regularly walk from Bayview to Church point and back along the boardwalk next to Pittwater. My aunty and I completed the track and decided to go a bit further, where we found a track that wound away from Church Point Marina to a tiny beach called Bothams Beach, where McCarrs Creek joins Pittwater. This area was explored back in the 1800s by Governor Phillip and John Hunter, read an article on the history here. Bothams Beach is only visible at low tide and allows you to walk along the beach’s edge.

The view of Pittwater as you walk towards Church Point

The ferry wharf, at Church Point

The obelisk erected at Church Point that honors the early explorers of the McCarrs Creek area. 

Looking out over the wattle trees at the marina

The path that takes you from above the marina down into a reserve behind some houses towards the water

The view down to Bothams Beach

You could probably paddle here at low tide, great for children

Beautiful Bothams Beach – a new find!



Staying in my local area, I headed up to Avalon to do the 3km bushwalk at Angophora Reserve, a headland nestled in amongst the houses of Avalon. It’s definitely a ‘locals only’ place to walk, you have to drive up some windy bends and find street parking next to the entrance, a sort of blink and you’ll miss it stone archway.

The entry to Angophora Reserve

The beginning of the track takes you through rainforest

You gradually make your way up the headland

At the top of the ridge, with an outlook over Avalon

Rainforest ferns give way to temperate forest

On the way I saw lots of cockatoos and king parrots 

The end, or other entrance to the reserve

The reserve was declared in the 1930s

One of the oldest and largest Angophora trees was inside the reserve at the time.

That tree has since died, but the trunk remains

Being a Saturday there were a few people on the track

Along the top ridge of the track you can catch glimpses of Pittwater through the houses


For my second Covid Vaccination I had to head into the CBD one Wednesday Afternoon. I could not believe how deserted and quiet the city was! It just felt weird. Without the traffic and people, I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before; clock towers, architectural features, fountains, gardens. It really is a lovely city and I ached to see it so bare. I can’t wait for lockdown to be over!

I have never seen Martin Place so empty. Usually this pedestrian mall is a hive of activity

I had never noticed the gothic tower on top of this bulding before

The new light rail is complete, with no one to use it!

Not much going on, on a random Wednesday afteroon in the CBD.


WILKINS TRACK – Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP

In between my work and home is another section of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park that backs onto Terrey Hills and Duffy’s Forest. The 7km Perimeter Trail runs around both suburbs and off this fire trail are many short walks. After work one day I decided to do a 5.5km return trip down the Perimeter Trail and Wilkins Track. I mostly had the trail to myself, passing a few horse riders and mountain bikers. The fire trail isn’t that exciting, but Wilkins track lead to a lookout over the waterways of Cowan River. I had the whole lookout to myself!

The start of Perimeter Prack – its just a fire trail

Spring flowers were everywhere!

After about 2 km you turn off the Perimeter Trail onto Wilkins Track

At the end you are blessed with views over Cowan Creek



My friend and her kids and I headed back into the National Park to walk the Bairne track to one of the lookouts. I had been given a hot tip that this lookout was one of the best and it turned out to be true! The trail isn’t too exciting, mostly flat along the ridge. There are two lookouts to chose from, with Bairne lookout having a better outlook over Pittwater. It was definitely worth the long and hot hike! What an amazing place to stop and eat lunch after a long walk.

At the start of the Bairne Track, off West Head rd

You follow the wide fire trail for about 3 km

The fire trail isn’t that exciting, except we saw lots of wild flowers

At the end of the track there is a fork, we took the right path to Bairne lookout

And what a view waiting for us at the end!

A simply stunning view over Pittwater, looking back to Church Point and Scotland Island


I saw a hot tip on my local facebook page about a walk through Ingleside Reserve and decided (as you do in lockdown) to check it out one Tuesday afternoon. I knew it wound up behind a Catholic School and would take me around to Irrawong Falls. I meandered up a big hill, popped out in rural suburbia, then had to somehow figure out (and ask some locals) how to get back into the reserve and down to the waterfall. I barely saw anyone the whole time. It was a beautiful, peaceful track and I even spotted three wallabies! What a treat.

The start of the walk took me through a valley of ferns

Soon it began climbing up the hill through gums and past huge boulders


After coming out of the reserve on a road, I had to then find the entry back in.

Soon after I entered the gate I saw a wallaby!

You cross the ridge for a while before descending down to the falls

I saw another two wallabies on the way down

I knew I was close to the bottom as I re-entered the land of ferns!

The bottom of the walk lead to Irrawong Waterfall, which I usually access from the other end. I came out of the reserve past the falls and had to walk back along the road and through the interconnecting walking paths to the car. A nice 4km that started with a good incline. I don’t mind starting with incline, nothing worse than going up on the way back!


DUFFY’S WHARF – Ku-Rin-Gai Chase NP

Now what was I saying about not liking going uphill on the way back? Say hello to the Duffy’s Wharf walking track. I headed back to Duffy’s Forest again after work and headed down the Duffy’s Wharf and Duffy’s Lookout track. I must say, the 1.2km downhill trek had me worried… I knew I would have to come back up this way going back and I was not looking forward to it! Luckily it was a fantastic find at the bottom of the climb. These square stone stepping stones led me out to a section of the Cowan River and it was simply glorious, at the end of the day, peaceful and still. I didn’t see a soul on the whole trip.

The trail started out flat enough

Lovely late afternoon light

After a km going down I was at the bottom of the hill

There were these fantastic square stepping stones crossing the creek

I had made it to the bottom, where the creek meets Cowan River

It was high tide, so these stepping stones led the way

In some high tides you can come down here and the stones are under water

Then you pop out at the river. Gorgeous!

Then I thought I saw (and had read about) a makeshift track that would take me up the hill from where I was at the bottom to the lookout. I decide to tackle this direction, surely it would be quicker than the 1.2m fire trail back up to the ridge. I was going really well until the track sort of disappeared on me. I decided I was too far along to turn back, so I pressed on.

In retrospective, it may not have been the best idea, to ‘bush bash’ up a random hill, with dangers of snakes and injuries all alone at 5pm on a weekday. It was difficult, but I still think I prefer it to the track! Finally after many scratches I made it to the lookout, just in time to see the sunsetting over Bobbin Head in the distance. Luckily it was a flat and quick walk back to the car. This was definitely one of my favourite walks, but I’m not sure I will do it again!

Contemplating which path to take back to the top

The view as I decided to tackle the cliff back up

About a quarter of the way up

Is this a path? I thought it was, but it wasn’t

See, no path

Made it to the lookout at the top! There were some carvings in the rocks, not sure if they are legitimate Aboriginal engravings

The view to Bobbin Head Marina



As the weather warmed up, outdoor exercise turned from walking into kayaking and paddling. My local friend and I took her kids out on kayaks and stand up paddle boards and spent a lovely Sunday kayaking around Narrabeen Lake and exploring some of the uninhabitated islands in the middle. Lots of people were out on the water enjoying the day. It’s been a long hard lockdown so families are getting outside any chance they can.

I really enjoy kayaking, I should do it more often

I started in the double kayak, ended up in the single

We pulled into an inland island for snacks

Exploring the little island and jumping into the cold water


Along with all those new and exciting places I walked in July and August, I revisited some of my old favourites. We had such good weather for walking so I checked out some of the best scenic walking tracks on the Northern Beaches.


Warriewood Wetlands

Walking through the wetlands on the boardwalk

Always lots of birdlife here

The wetlands are always so green and peaceful

Hard to believe this is nestled in amongst suburbia

Ancient palms and gum trees

It was a grey afternoon, not crowded at all


Irrawong Waterfall

After walking through the wetlands I always walk out to Irrawong Falls. After such little rain its only a trickle

Irrawong Falls and pool

The waters cascade down from the bushland above

Can’t visit the falls without getting an arty shot!

The large rocky overhang at the falls


Mona Vale Beach

Rugged up for a winter walk along the beach

Looking back at North Mona Vale Headland


North Mona Vale to Bungan Beach

Walking up North Mona Vale Headland, looking back at Mona Vale Basin

In Summer, this is my favouirte place to swim

Just the perfect amount of small waves

If I’m doing a short walk, I’ll make sure there is some incline

Looking North to Bungan and Newport Beaches


Narrabeen Lagoon and Pool

A short walk along the lagoon out to North Narrabeen Rock Pool

Walking between the pool and the rock shelf


Narrabeen Lake Walk and Sunset

I park at Wimbeldon Park on the lake’s northshore and walk south


Always a popular spot for fishing and kayaking

The lake is usually protected from winds

Walking south along the boardwalk

I did a 4km return trip as the sun was setting

Beautiful seeing the sun set over the lake


Bilgola Beach and Pool

My partner swims in the middle of winter, I chose to walk around to the pool

Bilgola Rockpool, one of my favourites

Too cold for me to go swimming in August!

But why are there always the best kind of waves in Winter? 


Well that turned out to be a big post, despite two whole months in lockdown! I guess the forced stay at home orders made me more determined to get out and explore my local area and find some new places to walk and enjoy nature!

Let’s see what the next monthly recap involves, September will be another complete month of lockdown, but will we get freedom in October? Time will tell!


In the meantime, let me know something more exciting you got up to in July or August!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *