Crosslands Reserve in Hornsby Heights: Picnics, Swimming + Camping

Crosslands Reserve is a beautiful natural setting for the perfect picnic with family or friends and is one of the best picnic spots close to Sydney, if you love nature. The picturesque scenery make the reserve a great choice because of its beauty but also its great facilities.

Crosslands Reserve boardwalks 1
Explore the boardwalks at Crosslands Reserve

Crosslands Reserve is in Hornsby Heights, about 70 minutes drive from central Sydney. Unlike other picnic areas nearby, like Bobbin Head in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, this one is completely free. 

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The always beautiful Berowra Creek, from Crosslands Reserve.

Hornsby Shire Council has maintained the reserve since 1921. In 1987, the reserve was incorporated into Berowra Valley National Park. Nowadays, Crosslands is a well-equipped reserve, with several signs that provide the visitors some information about its history, flora and fauna.

Besides having a picnic, you might like to go for a swim in the creek, explore the Benowie Walking Track (a section of the iconic Great North Walk), watch the ducks or people in kayaks pass by from one of the platforms next to the creek. With so much to do, you cannot get bored at Crosslands Reserve.

Tip: For a better experience, try to go there in the middle of the week. Serenity is the word that captures this scenic and unique place. You will feel miles away from the city.

Crosslands Reserve

Crosslands Reserve

Somerville Rd, Hornsby Heights NSW 2077

By Mireia Garriga Seguranyes

Crosslands Reserve is simply beautiful. The reserve is well maintained and it offers two separate areas with ample parking. The North Area has the attraction of “The Place of the Winds”, a kid friendly board walk The South Area, which is the one closest to the entrance, is a bigger grassy space, with plenty of room to kick a ball, a playground and a bicycle track to keep the kids entertained.

The reserve also has a boat ramp. Alternatively, on the other side of the creek, you can hire canoes or kayaks from the Crosslands Convention Centre.

Crosslands Reserve boardwalks
We’re off for an adventure!

North Area

The northern section of Crosslands Reserve is a less established picnic area compared with the southern area. There is a toilet block and some picnic tables. If you are looking for a good spot to have a swim, you can find some small pockets of sand with direct access to the creek.

The eastern side is home to the ‘Place of Winds’ Interpretative Trail, which explores the estuarine wetland next to the creek. The trail is 1.2km long and takes between ½ hour and 1 hour to complete.

The boardwalk goes through saltmarshes and mangroves. After a short walk, it changes onto a trail and then the boardwalk resumes until you will find a viewing platform, where you can observe the Berowra Creek. This section is not technically pram or wheelchair friendly but is very flat so easy to do with little kids.

At low tide, keep an eye out for the crabs. In between boardwalks, there is some woodland where you might be able to spot some local fauna. Listen carefully the sounds; it might be a lyrebird mimicking another animal!

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Little ones love to see the ducks and little ducklings from the platforms
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South Area

The southern section of Crosslands Reserve is bigger than the northern one comprising a flat and spacious grassy area with some tall trees at the back. In this section you will find the playground, which has enough elements to entertain the kids, and a bicycle path.

It is the perfect picnic spot to go with family or friends as it has several barbecues and shelters, including one which seats 12. It is advisable that you book ahead this shelter, as it is very popular. Hiring fees apply, see contact below.

Not too far away from the shelters, the new toilet block offers disabled toilets, and has water and energy features, using innovative and environmentally friendly technology to treat sewage on site.

Also, there is a large communal fire pit, which is very appealing if you are planning to camp on this side.

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Crosslands Reserve 4
Crosslands Reserve 3
The reserve has several picnic shelters and lots of space for the kids to run or kick the ball

Camping at Crosslands Reserve

Crosslands Reserve is also a good entry-level campground due to its proximity to the city. For an overnight outdoor adventure under the stars, camping blocks can be booked, although you will have to get back to basics, as there are no showers or power.

It’s also important to note that it is not suitable for caravans, trailers or camper vans. There aren’t any concrete slabs and the car park is clearly well marked, not allowing vehicles to access in the camping site area.

Bookings for camping at Crosslands Reserve can be made online here or contact Council on 9847 6666. 

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Although there aren’t any showers, the toilet block is good enough for the ones that decide to camp

Crosslands Reserve – The Details 

Access: sealed road, gate at entry.
Gate opens: 8am.
Gate closes: 7:30pm during day light savings, 5pm the rest of the year.

Toilets: Yes, including accessible ones.

Nearest takeaway coffee: No, BYO.

Playground: Yes, but not enclosed.

Shade: There are plenty of trees next to the open grassy area. The playground is exposed so don’t forget sunscreens and hats!

Dogs allowed: No, dogs not permitted

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There’s plenty of shade in the picnic areas

Extra Things To Do:

Other great ideas to spend the day in the area are:

Crosslands Reserve may be closed at short notice during fire bans, flooding and extreme weather. Phone Council on 9847 6666 for information about park closures.

If you plan to have a swim, please click here to check the water quality. As a general rule, avoid swimming after storms, when rainfall increases the likelihood of pollution being present, and so, the risk of contracting illness.

Finally, if you have a toddler or young kids, be always vigilant, as the reserve is located on the shores of Berowra Creek.

Crosslands Reserve is one of our favourite picnic spots, when we desperately need some fresh air.

What other places would you recommend?

Crosslands Reserve Lizard
Whenever we visit Crosslands Reserve we see plenty of fauna, including this fine fellow!

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  1. says: Helen D

    Awesome!! We love it, and are very lucky to have such a gem literally 1km from the front door. Do be aware if planning to camp or have a large group gathering that sometimes large Scouts groups camp there…. particularly the Easter weekend… so always book ahead.

  2. says: Maxine Hill

    If you struggle to secure a camping space.
    You can try across river at Crosslands Youth & Conventio centre.
    Complimenray use of canoes, hot showers, heated swimming pool and outdoor kitchens
    Super complimentary to the reserve options

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