Did you love going on a (teddy) bear hunt in your local neighbourhood? Or taking a wander around your local streets looking for fun chalk art?
When most of us were spending almost all our time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to understand why a lot of us were looking for fun ways to safely exercise with our kids outdoors.
For us, it was 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 then we heard about a Where’s Wally trail in the Camden area and just loved the concept!
So we went to work setting up a few walking trails for you to enjoy! And of my goodness what an AWESOME response we’ve received!! We’ve so LOVED seeing and hearing about all the families out enjoying nature thanks to our walking trails. For some, it’s been their first time bushwalking together as a family. #parraparentswalkingtrail
Walking Trail Fun
The walking trails are simply little signs stuck up along a track for families to spot when out in nature. They are numbered, 1/14 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… coronavirus pandemic or not!
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. And, it’s also the perfect time to listen and watch for birds, look for flowers and maybe even some animals.
Plus, while out on a walking trail, we’d LOVE for you to help keep the bushwalks rubbish free by removing a few bits of litter. It’s ugly, unhealthy and unsafe!
We’ve set up 14 walking trails since April. Sadly though, only 4 remain! With the easing of restrictions, our walking trail signs have been damaged and/ or removed by other people. We’ve decided to not repair/ replace them once someone’s taken them down. But are putting up the odd new one along less popular bushwalks. We’re also exploring ways to make a version of them more permanent as clearly they’ve made going on a bushwalk fun for so so many families!
- Bluey family and friends (23rd April) – Hazel Ryan Oval, North Rocks
- Native Birds (1st May) – Reynolds Park/ Sue Savage Reserve, Toongabbie
- Bush Riddles Eastwood (5th June) – Brush Farm Park
- Bush Riddles Oatlands (6th August) – Vineyard Creek track
Walking Trails Now Gone
- Echidna (20th April) – Redbank Track, Northmead [pram/ bike friendly] – most signs missing
- Star Wars (GONE) – Vineyard Creek, Oatlands/ Telopea
- Bluey family and friends No. 2 (GONE) – Upjohn Park, Rydalmere [pram friendly]
- Bluey family and friends No. 3 (GONE) – George Kendall Riverside Park, Ermington [pram/ bike friendly] – a few signs missing
- Where’s Wally North Epping (REMOVED) – Ron Payne Park.
- Bluey trivia edition (GONE) – Terrys Creek Epping – a few signs missing
- Our Living River (GONE) – Hunts Creek Reserve (West) from Northam Drive playground
- Gumnut Babies ABC (GONE) – Hunts Creek Reserve (East) from Lesley Ave playground
- Superheroes (29th May) – Bidjigal Reserve from Ventura Road in Northmead – most signs vandalised
There are also at least four other walking trails in the local area set up with other families:
- Where’s Wally walking trail in Third Settlement Reserve, from Edison Parade in Winston Hills
- Harry Potter walking trail on Water Dragon Way, starting from opposite Charles Herbert Reserve in Northmead
- Pokemon walking trail along Subiaco Creek from Park Road in Rydalmere [GONE]
- Ladybird walking trail on Pemulwuy Loop, starting from Hammers Road in Northmead
All the local walking trails (by ParraParents and other families) that we know of are listed in this handy Google Map.
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.
With the easing of COVID19 restrictions, we are currently allowed to be out and about with up to 20 people as long as we keep our distance (1.5m) and practice good hygiene (washing our hands/ using hand sanitiser regularly). There is no limitation on how far we can travel within NSW.
1Bluey Family and Friends – 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! ?
2Native 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.
3Bush Riddles – Brush Farm Park, Eastwood
The Bush Riddles Walking Trail is hands down our favourite theme of all the walks. Thanks to the wonderful Jody and Julz, there are 20 fun rhyming riddles to solve about Australian animals.
The ‘who am I?’ riddle is on the front of the sign. Once you’ve attempted to solve it, you can see the answer on the back by flipping up the sign.
The Bush Riddles Walking Trail follows the Brush Farm Loop Path (anti-clockwise) and is under 1km in length.
It starts from behind the Scout building – from the carpark, walk to the sports field where you’ll find a map of the park (the You Are Here spot on the map above). From there, go right along the concrete path and around behind the buildings. You’ll then find the start of the track and Bush Riddles Walking Trail.
The Brush Farm Loop Path is well signed posted. Think there’s only one spot where there is a fork in the path and no sign – but you just need to keep going left!
We installed this walking trail on World Environment Day (5th June) and think it’s a great way to take time for nature with kids.
4Bush Riddles (2) – Vineyard Creek Track, Oatlands
Our newest walking trail (installed 7th August) goes along the Vineyard Creek track. It starts from behind the playground at Fred Robertson Reserve in Oatlands and goes for about 1km to Robert St in Telopea.
There are 20 numbered signs, with the same bush riddles as on our walking trail at Brush Farm Park. The track is mostly flat, but rocky, and there’s a few little creek crossings. We don’t consider it pram friendly.
5Echidna Walking Trail [GONE] – 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.
6Star Wars Walking Trail [GONE] – Vineyard Creek Track, Telopea
We updated this walking trail, along the Vineyard Creek track, on 27th May 2020. It still starts from Fred Robertson Reserve (behind our street library). But now goes all the way up to Robert Street in Telopea and is 1.5km one way.
There are 30 different Star Wars characters and vehicles to find.
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, passing Luke Skywalker and X-Wing Fighter. Before continuing along the grassed track by the creek.
Keep going until you get to the bridge, which you cross and then go left onto the track.
After sign 25 (before the Ewok at sign 26), there’s a little side path on your left that will take you down to a little waterfall, if it’s been raining.
Once back on the track, you need to go right at the fork and this takes you to Robert Street and the end of the Star Wars walking trail.
At this point, you can retrace your steps. Or walk up Robert Street to Telopea train station and enjoy a drink or bite to eat from Courtyard Dining cafe. You can then catch the train replacement bus to Dundas station and it’s a 10min walk back to Fred Robertson Reserve.
7Bluey Family and Friends [GONE] – 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
8Bluey Family and Friends [GONE] – 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.
9Where’s Wally North Epping [REMOVED]- 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.
10Bluey Trivia Edition [GONE ]- 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.
11Our Living River Walking Trail [GONE]- 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.
12Gumnut Babies ABC [GONE] – 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.
13Superheroes – North Rocks Dam [most signs damaged or gone]
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound… it’s our Superheroes Walking Trail! It takes you through the lovely Bidjigal Reserve on the Murri Yanna Track. The walking trail is about 2km return and half of it is a loop (assuming you can walk through the tunnel).
There are 30 numbered signs to find, with a host of superheroes including some modern day ones.
For safety reasons, we’ve taken the walk along the detour track to start with so that if you can’t walk through the tunnel due to rising water levels then you can still do the walk (and know how to get back!). Unfortunately the detour track is not well sign posted.
The Superheroes Walking Trail starts from the end of Ventura Road in Northmead. There’s a playground on the corner with Winton Ave – which is currently being upgraded.
The walk starts off on a sealed road and is a steep slope down.
Once at the bottom, you go right onto the main track that is flat and wide.
When you get to the bridge, cross it to take the flood detour track around to the top viewing platform. This 1st section of the walk is pram friendly and you could continue onto the ‘dam’ wall, skipping signs 11 through to 20, if you have a pram or want to make it a shorter walk.
The walking trail path from the bridge is narrow and steep and there are some stairs.
Once at the top, head towards the flood retarding wall – where you’ll find Superman.
After checking out the view from the top of the flood retarding wall, head down the fire trail road (go right).
Once you get to the end of the road, and the bottom viewing platform, you’ll find Spiderman.
Now if water levels are low (not covering the tunnel path), then walk through the tunnel to loop back to the main track. But if water levels are high, then you will need to retrace your steps back along the detour track.
There’s a nice spot at the bottom of the ‘dam’ wall where the kids usually play.
Once out of the tunnel, there are signs 21 to 30 to find. And make sure to look back at the massive wall!
The Black Panther sign marks the spot where you need to turn to take the road back up to where you started. On the way back up, make sure to go up close to sign number 30!
Here is the cheat sheet of superheroes to find.