Looking for a healthy way to unwind? Escape the frenetic pace of city living with these stellar walks, which will put you in touch with nature and bring you back to yourself.
Settlers Walk – Toongabbie to Northmead
This 3km walk takes roughly 2 hours and 10 minutes return, beginning near Toongabbie station and continues to Oakes Road Winston Hills where it joins the Pemulwuy Loop. Forming the most Western Section of the greater Toongabbie Creek Walk, the trail takes you through the Cumberland River Flat Forest where the huge majestic red river gums are home to a variety of native birds, possums and bees. This walk is on the traditional land of the Darug Tooga tribe and passes through the Third Settlement of Australia which began as a military and convict barracks built of mud and slab wood huts. A great choice for a spot of history with your steps.
Water Dragon Way – Winston Hills, Quarry Branch Creek
Traversing through a series of gorgeous remnant bushland reserves, Water Dragon Way runs between Moxhams Road, Northmead and Goodin Road, Winston Hills, along the eastern side of Quarry Branch Creek. This 2.3km, 1 hour and 40-minute return track is a consistent incline when walking south to north so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Standout bushland features Smooth-barked Apple and Blackbutt trees, with Moxham Reserve home to several endangered species of plants, bats and birds. Keep your eyes peeled for a number of historic convict quarries along the way, as well as the natural wetlands.
Pemulwuy Loop – Northmead, Winston Hills and Old Toongabbie
Offering incredible insight into the natural diversity that still exists in the gullies and reserves around the area, the Pemulwuy Loop is named after a Darug First Australian man who led the resistance against the Europeans spreading west from Sydney Cove. The richness of the history of this trail is matched only by the beauty of the Sydney Blue Gums which dominate the more fertile gully. Traveling from Moxham Road in Northmead to Edison Avenue, Winston Hills, this trail skirts the south bank to Hammers Road, Northmead, then back up the east bank of Quarry Branch Creek to Moxham Road. This walk will take just under two and a half hours return, and is 5.4km long. The track surface is natural earth as well as rock and wooden stairs, so this walk is not particularly well-suited to wetter days.
Lake Circuit Walk – Lake Parramatta
This is a 4.3km circuit loop through 75ha of lush remnant bushland that circles the 11ha man-made lake. A mix of wildflowers, shrubs, trees and grasses of the Sydney Sandstone Gully Forest offer a truly glorious experience, where hollows in the trees make homes for Sugar Gliders and the root buttresses cater for the Echidnas. This place was declared a Fauna Sanctuary in 1960 and since then major regeneration projects have brought the bushland back to life and improved the water quality, making Lake Parramatta lovely for a dip if you’re having a crack at this one in the warmer months. Keep in mind this trail is completely impassable in wet weather, and on a fine day will take around 1hr and 55 minutes to loop.