Balaka Falls is up there with Lake Parramatta as a wonderful, hidden natural gem in the City of Parramatta. There are short and medium length bushwalks to get to the falls and for wandering along Hunts Creek. It’s a great spot for bushwalking with kids of all ages and particularly spectacular after rain. Did you know that Hunts Creek actually feeds into Lake Parramatta at the western end?
City of Parramatta Council has recently upgraded parts of the Hunts Creek Reserve walk. The most noticeable sections are around the waterfall itself, with sandstone stairs now leading down to the bottom of Balaka Falls. As well as the path from Ferndale Ave.
There is a fire trail running the length of the reserve, just under 2km. It goes from the end of Norfolk Place to Parkland Road, Carlingford and is a shared pedestrian and cycleway. You could easily take an all-terrain pram along this path.
From Norfolk Place, the fire trail runs along the south side of the creek and then crosses over about midway along (after the falls). Where the fire trail runs along the south side, there is a walking track running on the north side. This track weaves and twists a bit more and includes climbing up and down rocks so isn’t suitable for a pram.
As you can see from the map above, there are lots of different entry points – that are varying distances from the falls and different types of track. This allows you to choose one based on the age of your kids (and how far they can walk), time available and energy levels. Our four favourite walks at Hunts Creek Reserve are from:
- Ferndale Ave (~50m)
- Norfolk Place (~250m)
- Lesley Avenue (~500m) at the new playground
- Northam Drive (~700m) at the playground
Entry from Ferndale Avenue
If you just want to sit and enjoy the falls, without much walking, then this is the entrance for you! It’s only about 50m but down some stairs so not pram or wheelchair friendly.
You will find the stairs next to house 6 on Ferndale Ave in Carlingford. There is unrestricted street parking.
Just follow the path down to the top of the waterfall and then take the stairs down to the bottom on your left.
It’s only about a 5min walk and we like doing this walk on rainy days to see Balaka Falls in all their glory.
Entry from Norfolk Place and Walks Around Balaka Falls
This is one of the quickest ways in and I recommend it for little ones who haven’t bush walked much. You park on Norfolk Place and Balaka Falls are roughly 250m away. About 50m in, you will notice a path to the left of the fire trail. This path is an alternative track to the falls, going down the escarpment and along the creek – so not pram friendly.
Once at the falls, you now just need to walk down some sandstone stairs to enjoy the falls from the bottom. You will most likely though need to leave your pram at the top if you have one.
From the falls, you can continue along the fire trail, going along the south side of the creek. Note: There is a small water stream (as pictured) at the top that you will need to lift your pram over. Or, you can cross over the falls to the north side of the creek where there is another walking track (which isn’t pram friendly).
Our favourite walk is a loop from Balaka Falls. We cross over the falls at the top and then take the path to the left. This path goes through the reserve heading west, crosses a small stream and then takes you back down to the creek. You will need to rock hop again across the creek, before walking back up to the falls.
Along any of the tracks, you should hopefully be able to find some water or beaded dragons, see lots of birds and hear the falls.
Entry from Lesley Avenue
For a little bit of a longer walk in to Balaka Falls, you can start at the newly upgraded playground on Lesley Avenue.
The entrance to Hunts Creek bushwalk is to the right of the playground when looking at the street. Follow it down a small hill and then go right to reach Balaka falls, which are about 500m walk away (west).
When you reach a fork in the path, go left and down the rocks. This will take you to the top of the waterfall, which you will need to cross over to get down to the bottom.
Entry from Northam Drive
Another fun (though longer) route is to start at the playground on Northham Drive in North Rocks. This nature based playground is great for little climbers. And heading through the back gate will take you to the Hunts Creek walking track.
Once through the gate, the walk down to the creek is steep and then you need to rock hop across the creek. You will then arrive at a paved path for pedestrians and cyclists. To walk to Balaka Falls, go left where you will soon reach Northam Drive….confusing because Northam Drive is a loop road.
At Northam Drive, turn left, walk up the hill a bit and then cross the road. You will find the Hunts Creek walking track again, though there isn’t any signage here. Follow the track in and you will see markers pointing you to the falls.
This walk is very well shaded and there are lots of gorgeous large trees to admire and rocks to sit on.
There are a number of risks associated with bushwalking. The bushwalks in Hunts Creek Reserve are relatively easy, though there are creek crossings and rocks to climb over. Please ensure you:
- wear appropriate footwear
- bring adequate drinking water
- let someone know where you are going
Finding Hunts Creek Reserve and Balaka Falls
The Google Map below shows the key entry points to Hunts Creek Reserve. There is only street parking at each of the entry points. You can also access the reserve by bus 546 that goes from Parramatta to Epping station via Oatlands and North Rocks. It does however stop near the Parklands entry point – the furthest from Balaka Falls.
There is an small, old playground on the edge of the reserve, on Lesley Ave. This playground will be upgraded in 2018.
Places of Interest Nearby
- Hunts Creek East playground on Lesley Avenue
- Hunts Creek West playground on Northam Drive
- Lindisfarne Reserve
- John Wearn Reserve
- North Rocks Park
- North Rocks Shopping Centre
- Carlingford Court
Other Kids Friendly Bushwalks
Looking for more wonderful bushwalks to take the kids on? Well you are in luck! We are fortunate to have a lot of great, kid friendly bushwalks in and around the City of Parramatta. See our list of close to 30 bushwalks here.