Sydney: Thornleigh to Boronia Park 24 km

Today’s hike forms part of the Great North Walk, which connects Sydney Cove with Newcastle over 250km.

At 6.45am, I was on the bus to St Leonard’s from where I changed to the train for Thornleigh.

Interesting enough, there seems to be a drive by Sydney public transport to check tickets as I had barely sat down on the train exiting St Leonard’s before I was approached by a Transport Officer and asked to show my ticket. Then again as I exited Thornleigh station, they were checking everybody’s tickets.

This is Thornleigh station and you may faintly see 2 of these guys at the top of the bridge.

Being the Great North Walk, special signage is required. This one in Thornleigh suburbia as the walk crosses that suburb from one end to the other. I was going to walk it southeast towards town.

The actual bush walk started from Thornleigh Park where signage was plentiful.

This section of the Great North Walk follows Lane Cove River from where it is not more than what you see below and is inside Lane Cove National Park.

This particular sign explaining the ins and outs of Lane Cove Valley could be found in a few places, obviously with the arrow moved to reflect the current location.

Yes, it is lush and green and plenty of birds but few people down in the Lane Cove Valley this Friday morning. I felt good.

Parts of the trail is seriously rocky as per below. Of course, it is good for balancing and stability to walk across them but it does go on for quite a while.

Every so often you cross Lane Cove… Ehh… creek or other side creeks as per below.

This section must have had a small bushfire not long ago as the yellow warning banners were still around trees and shrubs in a few places.

Here I am approaching the A3 bridge with Lane Cove Road above spanning across Lane Cove River and connecting West Pymble with Macquarie Park.

The local noons had found themselves a huge graffiti palette underneath the bridge but that was clearly not enough as signs, steps and even the ground had to be “decorated” as well. Berlin Street Art, it ain’t.

Moving right along…

Yes, it is a fantastic hike following Lane Cove River…

…underneath boulders…

…and along the Lane Cove River itself.

This is Lane Cove Weir which I crossed to get into the Lane Cove National Park’s picnic area on the other side, a perfect place for lunch so I had my two cans of tuna there.

After lunch, I was continuing southeast along Lane Cove River but now on the southern side.

Just before I entered the old Fairyland Pleasure Grounds (not much evidence of that now, nature had reclaimed what was rightfully its), I was given a bit of a scare. Suddenly in front of me on the track, behind a rock, was a 1 meter or so long black snake, presumably a red-bellied black snake although I didn’t see its belly.

Who jumped higher, him or me? Who knows? The snake very quickly moved away from the path and into the tall grass, too fast for me to get a photo of him. Oh well… Needless to say, I did keep my eyes open a bit extra for snakes for the next half hour or so…

This was apparently where the vessels let off their passengers looking for a relaxing time at the old Fairyground. Not much to see there now, a sign and a bench and that was it.

The Great North Walk trail then went underneath the bridge for the Lane Cove Tunnel and Epping Road…

…up over and across the bridge…

…before it crossed the Lane Cove River yet again but this time on a pedestrian and bicycle bridge only, courtesy of the Water Board apparently.

Lots of mangroves with occasional boardwalks and small wooden bridges followed.

As I came to Hunters Hill and Boronia Park I decided to call it quits. Bye Great North Walk for today and hello local buses. 

I knew that there was a bus here going directly to Circular Quay (bus number 506), but today that one was MIA. Plan B arrived with another bus going towards Chatswood and I took a punt that it would go through Lane Cove and then north along Pacific Highway. If it did, I could switch to bus 143 or 144 on Pacific Highway to travel in the other direction all the way home to Manly. 

And it did. All good, and home in a reasonable time.

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