Leader: Adrian Jones

Royal National Park and Garawarra SCA: Helensburgh Circuit

27 April 2019

An 80 leaders walk

Photos Adrian Jones

Meeting at Helensburgh Station

Paralleling the Burgh Track

First morning tea

Break on Hacking River

Karingal Track

Second crossing of Hacking River

The End


Adrian Jones, Julie Jones, Kris Moore, Wayne Moore, Rob Gibson, Jayne Gibson, Elaine Lau, Margaret Tung, Maureen Carter, Betty Chow, Allison Boyle, Margaret Friedli, Anne Milson, Soo Lee Chen , Sandra Kreckler, Judy Mifsud, Jennie Kelso, Jennifer Fisher, Janette Allan, prospectives Greg Layman & Roger Park

Walk description:

Commencing with a short steep climb from the station followed with a 210m gradual descent on a variety of un-named tracks to the Hacking River. Cross river and ascend 220m to Garawarra Farm. Follow cliff track visiting a variety of lookouts. Descend 190m on the Lilyvale Track and locate and follow the Red Cedar and Karingal tracks to again cross the Hacking River. Pick up the Hacking River Fire Trail and ascend steep off track section to pick up tracks and follow to Helensburgh. Map: Otford/Appin


After our meeting and introductions at the station car park we started with a steep but short ascent to meet the tracks heading down to the Hacking River. The theme of the Helensburgh Circuit was to basically follow the Burgh and Lilyvale Tracks. These historic tracks were once used by early settlers and miners' families to reach the coast and beaches.The start of the Burgh track is a fire trail. However, there are numerous tracks that parallel the fire trail and provide much better walking. These tracks have been put in by walkers and mountain bike riders over the years.

Our first break, morning tea number one, was held on a rocky outcrop one third of the way down to the river. We then continued down, walking through pristine rainforest areas. Our second stop, morning tea number two, was held at the Hacking River. Due to the lack of rain it looked more like a creek than a river. A worrying sight. A nice cuppa and snack were consumed by members on the banks and rocks of the river!

After the break we continued on, crossing the main road through the park and ascended up to the old Garawarra Farm. The farm has changed a lot since the 1960s. There used to be a small shop and walkers and campers could buy eggs, fresh vegetables and chickens. There also used to be a pound for stray domestic animals. How things have changed. Now the site is used mainly as a car park for tourists walking to see the Figure of Eight Pool. Numerous parking with a pay station and port-a-loos are also present. A comfort stop was had by some and then we followed the top cliff track to meet the the Lilyvale Track.

After a gradual downhill walk we had Lunch. Another rocky outcrop overlooking the bush. Once lunch was consumed we continued downhill and picked up an off track section marked by coloured ribbons. This route led us to the Karingal and Red Cedar tracks. These rarely used tracks were easily followed and were a highlight of the walk. Beautiful rainforest vegetation in the small creek beds with scattered ferns and cabbage palms were a delight. After this section we crossed the road and the Hacking River again. We then ascended an off track section which led us to a variety of tracks eventually leading us back to the station.

The first time the leader did the Burgh Track was about 15 years ago with Maureen Carter as the leader back then. It was good to see Maureen on this walk and she expressed delight in the memories and that there were now so my variations to such an iconic area. Thanks to everyone who attended the walk. Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk immensely and a special thanks to all the "tails". As a leader it is always great to see members volunteer to go tail and contribute and assist in the walk.

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