Berry Island Reserve and the Gadyan Track

Last updated: May 9, 2021

Berry Island Reserve is a green oasis in Wollstonecraft, featuring a short bush walking track, picnic areas, a fenced playground, and panoramic Sydney Harbour views.

Doing the Gadyan Loop Track is the perfect way to experience the beauty and serenity of this unique spot located only a stone’s throw away from the city.

How to Get There

Berry Island Reserve is very easily accessible, by car as well as by public transport.

The reserve is located at the very end of Shirley Road in Wollstonecraft. Free street parking is available on this road, or otherwise a bit further away.

Map of Berry Island Reserve

The Wollstonecraft train station is located about 0.5 km north of the reserve.

Catch a train from Wynyard in the city directly to Wollstonecraft and walk along Shirley Road all the way to Berry Island Reserve.

About Berry Island Reserve

Now a peninsula, Berry Island used to be one of Sydney Harbour’s islands. It is connected to the mainland of Wollstonecraft by a man-made grassed area.

Berry Island Reserve in Wollstonecraft
The reserve is connected to Wollstonecraft

In the early 19th century, Berry Island became part of a large land grant made by Governor Macquarie to Alexander Berry and Edward Wollstonecraft.

In 1926, along with Balls Head Reserve, Berry Island was dedicated as a nature reserve for public recreation.

Berry Island Reserve
Beautiful Berry Island Reserve

Initially attached to the mainland by a small stone causeway over mud flats, in the 1960s the causeway was transformed into a large grassed area created with relocated soil and other materials.

Playground on Berry Island
Playground

Berry Island Reserve is now a pleasant recreational spot with BBQs, picnic areas, a fenced playground, a large grassy area, a short circular walking track, and even a small beach.

Dogs are more than welcome in the reserve, but they need to be on a leash.

The Gadyan Track

The short but fascinating Gadyan Track is a 750 m circular walk that loops its way around Berry Island.

The starting point of the track is clearly visible with a large signpost and information board with interesting background information about the walk, the island and its significance to Aboriginal people.

Gadyan Track in Berry Island Reserve
Views from the Gadyan Track

Berry Island, along with other spots on the Harbour shores, was important to Aboriginal people as there was plenty of fish and shellfish to eat.

In addition, the many sandstone overhangs provided much needed shelter against the cold temperatures, as well as shade against the hot sun.

Gadyan is a local Aboriginal (Cammeraygal) word for the Sydney cockle, a shellfish common in the middens on the island.

Berry Island Reserve as seen from Manns Point in Greenwich
Berry Island as seen from Manns Point

The short walking track guides visitors along several rock engravings and shell middens. One particular engraving stands out as one of the biggest engravings ever found in Sydney.

As you start the walking track, one of the first things you’ll notice is the large oil tanks in Greenwich on the other side of the bay.

Greenwich oil tanks
Greenwich oil tanks

Now operated by Viva Energy, the Gore Bay Terminal has been an important fuel import and storage facility since 1901.

The tanks are a bit of an eyesore, but the terminal is still an important part of the fuel supply chain in New South Wales, supplying fuel to the Sydney cruise and maritime industries.

Aboriginal Engraving

The highlight of the walk is a large Aboriginal engraving on a flat rock surface.

The well preserved engraving resembles a 10 metre large creature with a boomerang shape near the tail and a large circle shape in the centre.

Aboriginal engraving site on Berry Island
Aboriginal engraving site

Next to the engraving is a small yet deep rock pool, and two shallow grooves.

As noted on the information board, it is believed that the pool functioned as a freshwater storage and the grooves are a result of grinding the edges of stone axes to sharpen them.

Lookout Point

A short side-track leads to a small wooden lookout point at the southernmost point of the Berry Island peninsula.

Sydney CBD views from Berry Island Reserve
Sydney CBD views

It’s a fun and unpretentious lookout with scenic views of Greenwich in the west, Waverton and Balls Head Reserve in the east, and Barangaroo Reserve in the south straight ahead of you.

Gadyan Track
Distance: 750 m (circuit)
Time: 30 minutes
Grade: Easy
Dogs: On a leash
 

Discover Berry Island Reserve in Wollstonecraft

 
 
4 Comments
  1. Hi,

    I’m a teacher at Mosman High School and would like to book Berry Island for our Yr 12 Picnic on the 20 September 2019. There will be 8 staff and 180 students who will have a BBQ. Please advise availability.

    Cheers,
    John Feros
    Mosman High
    99681006

    Reply
  2. There is some good exploring in that area. Walk to Greenwich Wharf as your destination and you will see lots of great scenery. Cyclists can enjoy it too if they take a bike lock. Search for Wollstonecraft on biketrail.blog.

    Reply
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