North Rocks Dam, in Bidjigal Reserve, is actually not a dam. Rather a flood retarding basin. But it is still impressive and North Rocks Dam sounds a lot nicer. Your kids should really enjoy checking it out. I know ours do and keep asking to go back. Plus Bidjigal Reserve is a lovely spot to escape the city and go for a bushwalk.
Now don’t be expecting a large body of water. As a flood retarding basin, it’s there just in case of a major flood, rather than holding back water all the time. But you will see more or less water depending on when you go.
Here is a YouTube clip of the dam during a big storm and lots of rain. So keep in mind that this isn’t the best walk to do after heavy rain with young kids! And there are detours in place to get around the retarding wall when there is this much water flowing through.
Finding North Rocks Dam
The most direct entry point to North Rocks Dam is from the end of Loyalty Road, North Rocks. The flooding retarding basin actually sits on the North Rocks/ Northmead boundary and is sometimes referred to as the Northmead Dam. But I have gone with North Rocks Dam as the main entrance is at North Rocks.
You then walk down a hill towards the Darling Mills Creek, which is only about 350m away. This path is sealed but rather steep. So doable with a pram but it will be a hard push back up.
For a much flatter walk to the flood retarding wall, we recommend starting from the end of Ventura Road in Northmead. There is just a short, steep sealed road at the beginning and then it is a flat, wide fire trail for about 600m.
Google Map of Key Entry Points
Here is a map of the key starting points to walk to the North Rocks Dam.
On the way, there is a viewing platform for the flood retarding wall on your right, which is worth checking out. It can though be easy to miss the path if the kids are running down the hill. Just look for a clearing of vegetation on your right hand side about 5mins down the path.
You really get a feel for the size of this thing from this vantage point. My boys LOVED running up and down and hearing echoes. Plus standing up on the railing looking down.
A bit further down the sealed path, on your left, there is the Murri – Yanna Track. This finishes at Whitbread Place, North Rocks, about 2km away. Continuing down the sealed road, there is a second smaller viewing platform where you can see the tunnel.
Bottom of North Rocks Dam
Next to the second viewing platform are stairs going down to the creek and the bottom of North Rocks Dam. This area can only be accessed when the water level is low and it was incredible to see some videos online of the area after a lot of rain. On our visits, the water level has been low and contained within the mesh covered channel.
We normally spend a fair amount of time at the bottom of the dam. Our boys love splashing sticks in the creek, dropping leaves down the grate to watch them flood out and playing on the rocks. Plus running into the tunnel.
There is a large amount of graffiti on the walls, despite (or in spite of) the sign saying no graffiti. I really think this would be the perfect spot for a graffiti art competition and it would make for more ‘attractive’ graffiti. Unfortunately there was a lot of empty spray cans when we went and I walked out with a large bag full of them.
Other Side of North Rocks Dam
The most direct way to reach the other side of North Rocks dam is to walk through the tunnel. This can obviously only be done when water levels are low and not after heavy rain.
The view of the flood retarding basin is impressive from the other side as well.
The Murri – Yanna Track continues here and goes all the way up to Heidi Place, West Pennant Hills about 6km away. A short walk along, you will reach a bridge crossing the creek. This is the alternative route, around the flood retarding basin, when the water level is too high to go through the tunnel.
The track here is unsealed but wide and flat. Along the walk there are logs to sit on and little creek/ bridge crossings. There is an entry/ exit point at Ventura Road, Northmead, about 700m from the tunnel.
It takes a bit longer to go back up the steep walk to Loyalty Road then coming down but our 4yr and 3yr still made it without being carried – thankfully! It is just slow going.
Family Friendly Bushwalk
We found this a really interesting, family friendly walk. The bush is gorgeous and you do feel a million miles from the city.
Keep in mind that there are no toilets or taps along this part of the walk. Plus there isn’t much street parking at the end of the cul-de-sac on Loyalty Road where the walk starts. So you may need to park a little further away.