Have you loved going on a (teddy) bear hunt in your local neighbourhood? Or taking a wander around your local streets looking for fun chalk art?
With most of us spending almost all our time at home at the moment, it’s understandable that we’re looking for fun ways to safely exercise with our kids outdoors – keeping our distance from others and practising good hygiene.
We like walking to a local street library and swapping books. Or going for a walk up to our local cafe for a take away coffee or lunch. Plus also going on bushwalks and ‘hiding’ kindness painted rocks along the track. But we recently heard about a Where’s Wally trail in the Camden area and just loved the concept! So we’ve come up with a few walking trails for you to enjoy and hope to move them around every few weeks…. or just keep adding more!
Now I had wanted to do a Where’s Wally walking trail to start with and then a native animal one. But my kids had other ideas! Mr 5 had his heart set on an echidna walking trail – it’s his favourite animal and we’ve had no luck seeing them on our bushwalks. And Mr 7 couldn’t be moved from a Star Wars trail. Seeing they were both so excited, we started with their picks. It’ll be my turn next though and I can add some fun facts with the pics (which they weren’t keen on) to make it a bit educational as well.
Walking Trail Fun
The walking trails are simply little signs stuck up along a track for families to spot when you’re out for some exercise. They are numbered, 1/9 for example, so you know which one you’ve found and how many more there are. It’s just that little bit extra to make walking with young kids a bit more exciting during the coronavirus pandemic… though I think they’ll be just as fun once life goes back to ‘normal’ again.
While walking along, you can get your kids to count the signs and guess the next number and picture. Plus, work out how many more there are. We also like to chat about our favourite one and imagine what the animal/ character in the photo would do if they were real and ‘playing’ at that spot. Plus, it’s the perfect time to listen and watch for birds, look for flowers and maybe even some animals.
So far we’ve set up 10 walking trails and have about six more that we’re working on. PLEASE make keep your distance (1.5m) from other families and practise good hygiene.
- Echidna (20th April) – Redbank Track, Northmead [pram/ bike friendly]
- Star Wars (21st April) – Vineyard Creek, Oatlands/ Telopea
- Bluey family and friends No. 1 (23rd April) – Hazel Ryan Oval, North Rocks
- Bluey family and friends No. 2 (25th April) – Upjohn Park, Rydalmere [pram friendly]
- Bluey family and friends No. 3 (25th April) – George Kendall Riverside Park, Ermington [pram/ bike friendly]
- Where’s Wally North Epping (26th April) – Ron Payne Park
- Native Birds (1st May) – Reynolds Park/ Sue Savage Reserve, Toongabbie
- Bluey trivia edition (9th May) – Terrys Creek Epping
- Our Living River (15th May) – Hunts Creek Reserve (West) from Northam Drive playground
- Gumnut Babies ABC – Hunts Creek Reserve (22nd May) – Hunts Creek Reserve (East) from Lesley Ave playground
- Rainforest Riddles – Brush Farm Park
- Superheroes (coming soon)
- Native Animals (coming soon)
- Old MacDonald Had A Farm (coming soon)
- Fav Kids TV Shows (coming soon)
We have listed the date we ‘installed’ the walking trail signs and will update this article if we move them. Keep in mind that other people may decide to move them around without us knowing. Feel free to send through any theme suggestions or location requests. And we hope you may set one up yourself. Plus PLEASE let us know if a sign is missing.
The walking trails are mostly on kid friendly bushwalks. We strongly recommend taking water, snacks (even if your kids just ate!) and mozzie repellent with you. Plus it’s best to wear sturdy shoes and a hat.
Remember the current public health orders allow us to go outside for exercise with our family as long as we keep our distance from other people and practice good hygiene (washing our hands/ using hand sanitiser regularly). And we are encouraged to exercise for our mental and physical well being. But we are asked to stay close to home. So it’s best to stick to bushwalks within your local Council area or surrounding suburbs. We’ve done our best to select bushwalks that are generally less popular and are easy to keep your distance from other families.
1Echidna Walking Trail – Redbank Track, Northmead
We’ve just discovered a nice little section (which is pram and bike/ scooter friendly) along the Redbank Track. It goes east and west from Redbank Road in Northmead along Toongabbie Creek – just down from Bunnings before the bridge, going towards Cumberland Hospital.
I thought it would make a nice spot to add our first walking trail to as it’s very easy for families with little ones to walk along.
Our echidna walking trail has 9 echidna’s to find – 1 to 5 are on the east side and 6 to 9 are on the west side. Both walks go for a few hundred metres along a flat path.
The echidna walking trail was ‘installed’ on 20th April 2020 along the Redbank Track from Balfour Street going west to the end of the boardwalk behind Coca-Cola.
2Star Wars Walking Trail – Vineyard Creek Track, Telopea
We installed this walking trail on 21st April 2020 along the Vineyard Creek track. It starts from Fred Robertson Reserve (behind our street library) to about mid way along the track to the Roberts Road exit. There are 11 different Star Wars characters to find. And we did our best to place the signs with scenery that matches the character. So Princess Leia is on a ‘throne’ chair. Darth Vader is near a bridge – like the ones he battles Luke Skywalker on in Empire Strikes Back. So your extra challenge is to find a connection between the character and where’s it’s placed.
The Star Wars trail starts in Fred Robertson Reserve ‘behind’ our street library, on Bells Road in Oatlands.
You then go behind the playground and head to the back corner of the reserve where you’ll find Rey and the grassed track along the creek. Continue along this until you get to the bridge, which you cross and then go left onto the track. The last Star Wars character is Emperor Palpatine and he’s located about 2/3 along the track towards the Roberts Road exit.
3Bluey Family and Friends Edition No. 1 – Hazel Ryan Oval, North Rocks
By popular request, we set up our first Bluey walking trail on 23rd April along the Orange Pye Loop Track. It has 14 family and friends from the much loved Aussie tv show. And starts from Hazel Ryan Oval in North Rocks.
The track is about 900m long and starts from the carpark near the toilet block.
Walk along the concrete path and then take a right turn down the bush track when you see the sign for the Orange Pye Loop Track.
Follow this along until you reach the fire trail, behind a row of houses, and go right to head back to the carpark (going left takes you to the North Rocks ‘dam’ – a 2km walk).
The track is mostly flat but there’s a short rock slope near the start of the walk – little ones may be best to go down on their bottoms like my Mr 5 did.
We normally have a pit stop at the ‘cave’ (near sign no. 9) and make sure to look out for the bower bird nest (full of blue and yellow items) shortly after sign no. 11. The track goes along Darling Mills Creek but you’re never close.
Darling Mills Creek joins with Toongabbie Creek further down stream to form Parramatta River. PLEASE join us in picking up litter along the track – every bit helps! 💚
4Bluey Family and Friends Edition No. 2 – Upjohn Park, Rydalmere
Upjohn Park in Rydalmere is a hidden gem in our books. It’s tucked behind houses, with almost no street frontage and there’s so much to explore with kids. We installed a loop Bluey walking trail here on 25th April.
It starts in from the carpark off Kirby Street next to Homart. You follow the main concrete path down the hill, across the bridge and then just before the other carpark the walk goes onto the grass and around the perimeter of the park.
Bingo was her cheeky self and went off the path a little. Nana needed a little sit down and Bluey’s friends got up to some mischief along the way as well as finding beautiful autumn leaves and some lovely chalk drawings
5Bluey Family and Friends Edition No. 3 – George Kendall Riverside Park, Ermington
The third Bluey walking trail can be found in the large George Kendall Riverside Park, along Parramatta River in Ermington. This park is usually buzzing with sports teams but at the moment it’s more humming with lots more people on the cycle path. We’ve stuck the Bluey walking trail along the top/ back/ north path and looped it down to the fenced dog all leash area from the main carpark on Broadoaks Street.
This Bluey walking trail was installed on 25th April. It’s pram and bike friendly.
6Where’s Wally North Epping – Ron Payne Park Loop Through Lane Cove National Park
You’ll now find Wally. Wanda, Wizard, Woof and Odlaw wandering through the bush in North Epping. Our Where’s Wally walking trail is a 1.8km loop from Ron Payne Park, via Whale Rock in Lane Cove National Park. IMPORTANT to remember to go left at the intersection near Whale Rock and walk up the hill past Whale Rock.
We installed the Where’s Wally North Epping walking trail on 26th April. This is a gorgeous bushwalk and thankfully clean of litter (as far as we could see).
There are 30 numbered signs to follow/ find, plus a few extra missing items.
The first section of the walk is a steepish walk down rock stairs and sloped narrow path for about 200m.
Then you reach the creek and a weir. The kids love exploring here.
To continue on the Where’s Wally walking trail, stay on the south side of the creek. Walk along the wide fire trail path for about 1km.
You’ll reach an intersection of paths, with the Whale Rock just up slightly on the left path. Turn up and enjoy the big smiling whale!
It’s just a few hundred metres up a slight slope to Boundary Road.
Once there, go left and follow Boundary Road along until Woods Street. Then turn left and walk to the end where you’ll find Ron Payne Park again.
For a pram and bike friendly version of this walk, start from the Boundary Road entrance where you’ll find sign 22 and follow the signs backwards to about number 7 at the 2nd weir.
7Native Birds – Reynolds Park/ Sue Savage Reserve, Toongabbie
You’ll now be able to meet 16 native birds, commonly found in the Parramatta area, along a loop track in Toongabbie. And we hope you actually see/ hear some real ones too!
The native birds walking trail starts from behind the playground in Reynolds Park, next to the old basketball court.
It’s about 800m in length, with two creek crossings.
The path is flat and easy to manage with little ones, though they will need some help walking across the stepping stones on the creek crossings.
Toongabbie Creek is sadly one of the most polluted with litter in the greater Parramatta area. PLEASE help us clean it up by picking up a few pieces of litter while out on your walk. We suggest taking gloves and a bag to put the rubbish in.
8Bluey Trivia Edition – Terrys Creek, Epping
We installed our first Bluey trivia walking trail on Saturday 9th May. It starts from the service road at Epping Aquatic Centre and goes out to Terrys Creek ‘waterfall’ before crossing the creek and looping back around. NOTE: this is the smallest we’ve seen the waterfall…it’s usually flowing a lot more! But thankfully it’s also the cleanest we’ve seen it, thanks in large part we imagine to a man we meet along the way who had removed bags of litter.
More photos and info to come.
9Our Living River Walking Trail – Hunts Creek, North Rocks/ Carlingford
What lies behind this ‘secret’ gate at the back of the playground on Northam Drive in North Rocks? Well follow the Our Living River walking trail to find out!
There are 30 signs to find along the way to Balaka Falls, with a little loop back to the playground. And each sign has a did you know question. With the first 19 having a photo and interesting fact about an animal or plant that calls the Parramatta River catchment area home.
The last 10+ signs have info on how each of us can become river aware and help improve the health of Parramatta River.
The track from the playground on Northam Drive to Balaka Falls can be a bit tricky to follow correctly. So our signs take away the hassle and we placed a lot more at the beginning to show you the way. Keep in mind that at a ‘decision point’ (intersection in the track), we’ve stuck a sign just afterwards along the right path.
The Our Living River walking trail is about 1.5km in total and has a few creek crossings. Including walking cross the top of Balaka Falls.
Unfortunately the falls are looking very dry at the moment.
But it’s amazing how a bit of rain can make all the difference….so fingers crossed for some rain soon.
10Gumnut Babies ABC – Hunts Creek Reserve (East), Carlingford
Installed 22nd May from the playground on Lesley Ave in Carlingford. It’s a 1.5km loop trail via Balaka Falls.
More details to come soon.
11Rainforest Riddle – Brush Farm Park, Eastwood
Being developed and will be installed soon.
12Native Animals – Richard Webb Reserve, West Pennant Hills
To be developed
13Old McDonald Had a Farm – Pioneer Track (Eastern), Carlingford
To be developed
14Superheroes – North Rocks Dam
To be developed
15Favourite Kids TV Shows – Upper Terrys Creek Walk, Carlingford to Eastwood
Being developed and will be installed soon