Last updated: February 7, 2023
The 4 km Blue Gum Walk in Hornsby explores various landscapes, from high gum trees and green ferns to creek crossings and valley views.
It’s a moderately challenging yet family-friendly bushwalk with various highlights and landmarks on the way to take in.
We liked the Blue Gum Walk so much that it has earned a spot on our list of the best bush walks in and around Sydney.
|Blue Gum Walk|
|Distance:||4 km (circuit)|
|Duration:||1.5 – 2 hours|
|Grade:||Moderate (uneven surfaces, some steep sections)|
How to Get There
Since the Blue Gum Walk is a loop walk, there are multiple entry and exit points. However, the most logical starting point of this walking track is at the Rosemead Road picnic area in Hornsby.
Plenty of free street parking is available at this park, which has a “Hornsby Park” signpost but is marked “Rosemead Road picnic area” on Google Maps (see map location).
Public transport is also an option, with the Hornsby train station approximately 1.2 km from the picnic area. To get there, walk into Dural Street, followed by Quarry Road.
On Quarry Road, you will see an entry point to the Blue Gum Walk on the left side of the road (see map location).
Blue Gum Walk Track Notes
The Blue Gum Walk is a moderately challenging walking track with a few steep sections and some sections on rough and uneven surfaces.
But overall, the walk is not too hard and can be completed by anyone with a reasonable fitness level. Good hiking shoes are strongly recommended.
We are going to describe the walk along the following highlights and landmarks:
- Gum Forest
- Joes Mountain
- The Fishponds
- Valley Views
- Forest of Ferns
- Waitara Creek Crossing
The below map has these highlights and landmarks marked from 1 to 7, starting and finishing at the Rosemead Road Picnic Area.
1. Gum Forest
Once you’ve parked your car at the picnic area or arrived there from the train station, look for the start of the walk at the signpost.
This is where the walking track heads into the bush, first crossing a creek, followed by an ascent into a forest area of beautiful gum trees.
As you can tell by the name of this walk, the dominant tree here is the Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna), recognisable by its smooth slate-grey bark and rough brown bark near the base.
The trees form part of the Blue Gum High Forest, a tall open forest community that has been classified as critically endangered.
Other trees you will spot along the track are Sydney Red Gums, Turpentine trees, and Sassafras. Also take note of the beautiful bird sounds as you’re hiking through this forest.
2. Joes Mountain
As the track continues, you will notice a steep hill on the western side of the trail, which is referred to as Joes Mountain.
The track soon hits an intersection where you need to veer to the right to continue the Blue Gum Walk.
However, you can also do a short detour around the western side of Joes Mountain by staying on the service trail, if you have extra time to spare.
3. The Fishponds
Not too far away from that intersection, the track arrives at the Fishponds, a series of picturesque waterholes on Berowra Creek.
The warning sign at the lookout tells you that swimming there is not recommended, as Berowra Creek is susceptible to water contamination from sewage and stormwater runoff.
At the Fishponds, the track continues to the left. However, for better views of the ponds, it’s recommended to walk an extra bit in the opposite direction.
That is where you will enjoy much better views of the ponds, and a set of stepping stones allows you to cross the creek and get closer to the water.
Once you’ve finished enjoying the scenery at the Fishponds, continue the main walking track heading south towards the Washtub.
The track follows Berowra Creek and then Waitara Creek for a while until it meets the Washtub, where you will need to cross over to the other side.
The Washtub refers to a section of Waitara Creek with various cascades and pools. This is where the flowing water through these small pools creates a washtub effect.
This is quite a scenic part of the walk, with a couple of pretty locations to have a picnic next to the creek.
Crossing the Washtub is a bit tricky as you have to step over the rocks, but as long as you pay attention, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
5. Valley Views
After crossing the creek, the track climbs out of the valley onto higher grounds.
It’s not too steep, but the track can be quite rough at times, with rocks and boulders to negotiate.
Once you’ve reached the top, the track follows a narrow ridge between Berowra Creek and Waitara Creek.
The views of the Berowra Valley aren’t spectacular by any means, but it’s a nice change in scenery after all that hiking through the forest.
6. Forest of Ferns
The scenery gets even better, as the walking track heads into a beautiful forest of lush green ferns, followed by another section with Sydney Blue Gums.
This is where the path turns quite narrow in some sections, which only adds to the experience.
The track turns wider towards the end of this section and eventually arrives at the Ginger Meggs fire trail, where you will need to make a left turn.
7. Waitara Creek Crossing
This is the last stretch of the Blue Gum Walk through bushland, before arriving at a concrete weir to cross Waitara Creek.
From the Waitara Creek crossing, it’s a short stroll through suburban streets, past the playground at Ginger Meggs Park, and back to the starting point of the walk at the picnic area.