Sydney: Parramatta to Five Dock 28km

In Sydney for a few days, I repeated a personal “hiking classic”; walking from Parramatta along Parramatta River towards Sydney Town.

Although today I reached only Five Dock. Running out of time with another 9km remaining. Tonight, I was catching up with an old friend for a few beers… Priorities, man…

So, distance 28km completed instead of approximately 37km. Today’s map…

Early morning train to Parramatta station, immediately escaping the morning rush walking Smith Street down to Parramatta River. Another, much calmer, world…

Parramatta River in Parramatta, looking east
Parramatta River in Parramatta, looking west

Some years since my last walk here… More apartment buildings, more construction… and sometimes more paths too.

I crossed Parramatta River through James Ruse Drive and bridge, looping back down to the river. Now there is a new path, below left, with signpost for Parramatta.

Progress… Next time…

New path to Parramatta (left)

Parramatta River looked picturesque with its mangroves this still and mild winter morning. Not always so, but certainly here.

Parramatta River close to University of Western Sydney campus
Signposts

The combined cycle / pedestrian path occasionally crosses through light industrial areas. Sometimes, like below, between properties. And sometimes accompanied by mature gum trees.

Give me a path among the gum trees…

Post Subiaco Creek, more new infrastructure. Earlier, the path utilized streets leading to industrial units before returning to Parramatta River.

Now this… Following the creek to the river, I was mighty impressed. Bridged so not interfering with the vegetation below. Respect!

New infrastructure along Subiaco Creek
Looking back north at the above

Mangroves appeared in pockets throughout. Once likely to accompany the full length of the river.

Mangroves

Today’s first break at Rydalmere Wharf “required a selfie”. The Sydney to Parramatta ferry is tidal dependent and frequently finishes here. Insufficient water depth to travel into Parramatta itself.

Quiet today, just me occupying the benches.

Me at Rydalmere Wharf

Parramatta River’s industrial past is gradually being replaced with apartments. Immediately east of Silverwater Bridge was a huge, cleared area during my last visit. Today…

More and more residential along Parramatta River

Arriving at George Kendall Riverside Park, you first enter Ermington Bay Nature Pathway…

Ermington Bay Nature Pathway – 1 of 2

…an elevated path over the mangroves.

Ermington Bay Nature Pathway – 2 of 2

Earlier at Silverwater Bridge, you could cross and continue opposite. In the past, that would take you deep into the bay towards Sydney Olympic Park before continuing east.

Now, a new bridge crossed the Parramatta River inlet between Wentworth Point and Rhodes.

I didn’t know. Let’s try that next time…

New bridge between Wentworth Point (right) and Rhodes (left)

My intended crossing was the railway bridge here at Meadowbank. Its ferry wharf also provides another great spot for a break…

Train bridge Meadowbank to Rhodes

The pedestrian bridge crossing parallel to the trains always fascinated me. Industrial history, the bridge fits perfect here. Every so often, not just commuter trains but also goods trains rumbling past on your right.

On the bridge

Rhodes Park has this “odd” Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway. That name doesn’t reveal that the memorials “talk”. Triggered by motion sensors while passing, you hear spoken WWII stories. Must be darn spooky walking here at night. Strange during day time.

Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway

Don’t get fooled here… The Foreshore Trail sign points straight ahead, but then you arrive at Concord Repatriation General Hospital’s parking lot. Walk left, circumvent the parking and…

Turn left. Ignore straight ahead sign.

…you arrive at the grounds of Rivendell School, occupying the headland behind the hospital.

Suddenly, all green…

Even more puzzling, the Foreshore Trail sign reappears. The foreshore is behind me. Seems right…

Rivendell School in the background

Rivendell School is today a publicly owned mental health facility. Once privately owned, it opened in 1893 as the free Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital.

The grounds and parts of the building are still available to the public. Well worth visiting…

Rivendell School

Naturally, early visitors arrived by boat necessitating a jetty. Probably not used much anymore…

Me at Rivendell School’s jetty

The Sydney skyline appeared across Parramatta River…

Distant Sydney skyline

Circling Concord Repatriation General Hospital, the “foreshore path” turns ugly and trashy. Don’t be fooled because…

Perhaps not today’s most scenic part

…round the corner, up a small hill and a different world appears.

Countryside within the city – 1 of 2

During my previous visits, horses featured here. No longer, judging by the fence’s condition. Still, so close to Sydney’s city centre, Dame Eadith Walker Hospital and its grounds provide a country oasis.

Countryside within the city – 2 of 2

On the headland, the colonial home Yaralla is now Dame Eadith Walker Hospital. Unique as one of the last large 19th century estates remaining in metropolitan Sydney. The estate incorporates the entire original 1790s land grant within its boundaries. No subdivision ever occurred.

Hence that country feel…

Dame Eadith Walker Hospital by the water

Moving right along and then it’s back to Sydney suburbia. Beyond the boundary of Dame Eadith Walker Hospital is Majors Bay Reserve. Where a formal surfaced path doesn’t quite align with the estate’s path (see right below).

Hopefully they will not push through here one day and remove the estate’s tranquility.

Leaving the Dame Eadith Walker Hospital estate

Crossing suburban Mortlake, you arrive at the Breakfast Point promenade. A most successful development in my view.

Breakfast Point – north-west corner

A wide walkway along affluent American looking houses makes for a most pleasant stroll. Others did too.

Breakfast Point – looking north

Next is Cabarita Park and below Cabarita Wharf.

I should mention that regular commuter ferries stop at these wharfs. You may have to wait for the next ferry, but you can always “bail out” walking if required.

Me, I continued…

Cabarita Wharf

…south towards and through Cabarita. Which doesn’t look quite as exclusive as Breakfast Point.

Cabarita

Briefly diverting into Cabarita suburbia before reaching the foreshore again off Phillips Street. Passing Harmony Point, which has an untested restaurant called Angelos on the Bay, I squeezed in between the water and Massey Park Golf Club. Foooooooore!!

Just kidding, I experienced nothing of that kind…

Looking south from Massey Park Golf Club

The path then diverted inlands alongside a stormwater channel (? / name unknown) which I followed…

Leaving Parramatta River

… until the off-road path discontinued at Gipps St.

Looking north from where I arrived

Today’s remaining walk was along busy Queens Road east (not recommended, but as noticed, I ran out of time).

Final destination, Five Dock, as…

  1. Buses would take me to Sydney city centre from there
  2. Great North Seafood on Great North Road in Five Dock has excellent and inexpensive food

My final picture from my late lunch; blue eye cod, chips and plenty of greek salad. Yes, from Great North Seafood. Happy to plug them because they have never disappointed me. Yummy yet again (thumbs up).

A hiker’s lunch…

In summary, a most pleasant mild winter day took me along some beautiful parts of western Sydney along Parramatta River. The walk can easily be altered as plenty of alternatives exist.

A minor point… walking is mostly on hard surfaces and I wore sand shoes. Some “minor complaints” from my feet and knees later…

Leave a Reply