I’m slowly discovering the many charms of the Hornsby Shire area. So often I head to the Blue Mountains for the full bush experience, but there really is no need with so many lovely bushwalks and picnic spots about 45mins north of Parramatta. Plus, with the NorthConnex now open, going north along Pennant Hills Road is a much more pleasant experience!

A while ago, I saw Hornsby Shire Council post about Crosslands Reserve and it looked so tranquil and a great natural swimming spot. We tried to visit earlier this year but it was closed due to repairs following the bushfires. Going through my bushwalking bucket list recently, I decided to give it another go – and boy it was even more beautiful than the photos I’ve seen (and my pics).

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

Crosslands Reserve is in Hornsby Heights, about 45mins north of Parramatta within the Berowra Valley National Park.

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

It’s a lovely tranquil spot, on a weekday at least, with swimming in the creek, playground, bushwalks, BBQs, picnic tables, toilets, beautiful views, plenty of grass to spread out a rug or kick a ball around, lots of onsite parking and even campsites.


We walked north on a section of the Great North Road called the Place of Winds Interpretive Trail or Crosslands Trail, which is a mixture of short boardwalks and flat bush track.

It starts from the north end of the picnic area, not far from the toilets. There were lots of interesting information signs along the way as well as views over Berowra Creek.

The end point can either be a look out platform or you can continue onto the Calna Creek Bridge, which we did. Silly me forgot to take a photo though of the bridge (well except for the sign)!

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

We would have continued further on the Great North Walk but the path was covered in water and we didn’t want to walk back with wet shoes… and it’s deeper than it looks!

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

This ‘false ground’ phenomenon actually happens in a number of spots along the track, where the water looks like it is ground that you can walk on. So make sure to play extra attention! Thankfully we were warned by another walker (but didn’t get any photos).

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

All up the walk to Calna Creek Bridge is about 2km one way. Except for the boardwalk sections, it’s mostly rocky and hilly and there are lots of tree roots across the path. It’s doable with small kids, but given the closeness of the creek and narrow, uneven path, I’d recommend it more for kids 5yrs+.  The short boardwalk is of course a great one for kids of all ages and abilities. Just hold your little ones hand – the water is crystal clear and very inviting and there’s no railing!

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

You can also walk south from the main carpark and there’s a trail along the creek. Plus, it joins up with the Great North Walk. We look forward to exploring this section more next time.


Right near the entrance is Crosslands Reserve is the playground. It’s pretty simple with just swings and a flying fox. But given there’s so much else to do here, it works well.

There are a few spots where you can access Berowra Creek and go for a swim. We really liked the sandy one at the north end of the picnic area. The water was crystal clear and we could see fish swimming around.

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

Keep in mind that there are varying deeps and a gentle current that may float you down stream! You should never swim at a natural swimming spot like the one at Crosslands Reserve for 3 days after heavy rains. And you can check water quality for Berowra Creek here.

4Picnic Facilities

There are lots of small picnic shelters spread across Crosslands Reserve, plus one larger one that you can hire. The (free, gas) BBQs though are only located in the south section of the reserve.

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

There are taps and bins nearby to the picnic areas and BBQs.

5Other Facilities

Photo Credit: Hornsby Shire Council

At either end of the reserve is a toilet block. And there are campsites in the south side. Plus you ca launch canoes/ kayaks near the main carpark.

Crosslands Reserve Hornsby Heights

Crosslands Reserve was very tranquil when we visited on a weekday. But can imagine it gets busy on the weekend. Have you visited Crosslands Reserve before?

Finding Crosslands Reserve

Crosslands Reserve is located within the Berowra Valley National Park, about 45mins north of Parramatta.

Entrance is from the end of Somerville Rd in Hornsby Heights. There’s a gate which is open from 8am and closed at 7:30pm during daylight saving or 5:30pm otherwise.

Places of Interest Nearby