The earliest record of Indigenous people in the Bidjigal Reserve was found in a rock shelter where 10,000 years ago, they left many stone artifacts along with numerous animal bones. The area was part of the territory of the Bidjigal clan of the Darug people and provided fresh water, fish, shelter and a wide range of plants and animals for food, medicine, weapons and tools.
Address: There are at least a dozen places where you can access these tracks. Probably the easiest is at the end of Exelsior avenue in Castle Hill. There is a reserve that usually has the gates locked but you can park on the street and If you want to use the bathroom or picnic areas it is an easy walk. This is the most direct starting point to the popular platypus trail, starting to the left of the Eric Mobbs reserve’s driveway.
Distance: -Platypus Track: 1.7km Loop (1 hour) Medium– Blue Track -Burraga Track: 4.7km Loop (2.5 hours) Medium– Yellow track -Murri-yanna Track: 8km One way (4 hours) Medium – Red Track The Playpus track and Burraga track connect together in the middle of each to form almost a squishy, messy figure 8 between them. The two tracks together only took me about 2 hours and I am not a very fast walker. The tracks are well signposted, just follow the coloured arrows.
While it is called Platypus Track, there are no longer any in Excelsior Creek. They were regularly seen up till the 1970’s before the installation of the sewer. There is something very lovely about these walks though. Besides the Ancient history and startling natural beauty of the surroundings I also found all the man made devices along the creeks fascinating. Old stone walls and pipes, small dams and the other accoutrements for rerouting water to where they wanted it, some of it new and some old and broken.
There is a lot to explore in this beautiful reserve.
The creek is just gorgeous and the track remains close to it and crosses it often.
Sometimes on interesting man made crossings like this.
Sometimes on the more natural and usual slippy wet rocks. Kids and dogs everywhere will love it!
There are also some very interesting cascades to check out along the creek.
How pretty is this old rock walled dam?
We were lucky enough to be here after a week of decent rain which made the creeks a little more lively and the forests more showey.
Infamous 1820’s bushranger Jack Donahoe, who carried out many robberies in the surrounding area, is reported to have used the gorge as a hideout. Maybe he lived in one of these cool caves. Look at those amazing colours!
It’s a great walk in a great place and a great way to leave the outside world alone for a few hours and just appreciate the beauty around you.
and all these steps mean that maybe we can treat ourselves to that dessert tonight 🙂
If you choose to take on all or park of the Murri-yanna track then you will come across the very colorful North Rocks Dam. Although in truth it is not a dam at all but a flood retaining basin for the area. In case you are interested, Here is a video of the basin doing its job and why you will see so many warnings about vacating the area in any sort of heavy rain.
Whenever I have been to visit there have been families there with children who seem to love all the bright colours on the walls. If you can spend a day doing something to wear out and entertain both dog and small human at once… that has to be a win!
If you live in the west of Sydney you would have a hard time finding a dog friendly place spectacular as this one, let alone one with so many interesting things to see.
I know it kept my little demon child happy for the day and that’s a good enough reason 🙂