Day 5: Berowra to Cowan

After steady rain all day yesterday, the early cloud soon burnt off to a sunny morning so it was back down the link track from Berowra station to the Great North Walk spine at the top of the ridge above Sam’s Creek.

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A few hundred metres down the track I came to the Naa Badu Lookout with an unobstructed view south along Berowra Creek.

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After crossing a gully and climbing back high along the ridge, I eventually began to catch glimpses of my first destination, the village of Berowra Waters.

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Then it was down the many steps to water level.

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Just before entering the village, there was one more watercourse to cross, this one emptying into Berowra Creek down a pretty little waterfall.

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A short stroll along the creek bank brought me to the end of the first half of the day’s walking.

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It was only 10:30 and too early to grab lunch, so I waited for the ferry across the water to do some geocaching in the vicinity. No fears about paying the ferryman as this trip is free.

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The caches found and the hour of 11 reached, I wandered down to the Berowra Waters Fish Cafe for some trail tucker. Not too bad for roughing it on a bushwalk!

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Nourished and ready to go, I took the ferry back across and walked to the northern end of the car park where the next leg of the Great North Walk began.

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After more pleasant strolling along the creek bank, I finally reached the turnoff for the steep climb up the hill. Time to convert that food into energy!

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In a combination of rock steps and fairly level switchbacks, the track quickly climbed, with more nice views down over the creek.

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Finally the steps ran out as I reached the saddle point about 120 metres above the creek.

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From there it headed just as steeply back down again where it crossed the Deep Bay creek along the top of a small cascade. I’d been concerned that this and the next crossing at Joe Craft’s Creek may have been difficult after yesterday’s rain, but there were no problems here at least.

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From the crossing it was steeply up again as the track climbed to the next ridge at about 200 metres. Half way up, though, I came to a rest area under a beautiful cave, coutesy of Roland Murray.

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Finally I ran out of steps, reaching the fire trail at the top of the ridge. From the profile in the guide book, I’d expected the track to head straight back down again to Joe Craft’s Creek, but instead it remained fairly level as it followed along the top of the ridge.

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Eventually the ridge petered out into a rocky and eroded descent to the creek. Again yesterday’s rain didn’t cause any problems with the crossing, with stepping stones and a fallen tree making it easy.

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Once across, I was into the final ascent, with many more steps leading up to, I thought, the top.

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Except it wasn’t really the top, just a short section of level track to lull me into a false sense of security before more clambering up steps. Finally I did reach the top, though, where the powers that be have thoughtfully provided a seat from where one can contemplate the valley conquered.

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From there it was pretty much level walking, firstly along segments of fire trails and then onto a narrow and, in places, eroded walking track running parallel to and just below the Old Pacific Highway. On one side of the track there’d been a recent hazard reduction burn, with the grass trees demonstrating their resilience in the face of fire.

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On the outskirts of Cowan, the track joined another fire trail along behind the houses before turning right and up to the highway opposite the railway station, marking the end of the day’s journey.

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With 66km now behind me, I’m just over a quarter of the way to Newcastle!

Coming up next: Cowan to Brooklyn.

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