Cumberland State Forest
95 Castle Hill Road, West Pennant Hills
by Melanie Cross
Covering 40 hectares of native forest, Cumberland State Forest is Australia’s only metropolitan State forest hidden just off a busy road in the Hills District. It is amazing how peaceful it is as soon as you turn into the forest, high tree canopies cover the road making it feel like a secret passage.
On your way to the main carpark beside the visitor centre you pass by two picnic areas with BBQs and picnic tables (some covered), and a dam.
There are a further two picnic areas beside the main parking lot also with BBQs as well as the Forest Visitor Centre.
Café Saligna is within the visitor centre, perfect if you don’t want to bring your own picnic or just fancy a coffee. There is also a private Garden Centre if you want to create a forest of your own!
There are four walking trails well mapped out within the forest, we have done two with our two and three year olds.
The Sensory Trail is absolutely perfect for little legs, prams or wheelchairs. It’s a 350m loop of flat, compacted dirt track with signs every 20 metres. These describe different aspects of the plant life, encouraging you to rub the bark, look for different things over your head or see if you can get your arms all the way around different trees.
There are also a couple of bridges that my kids love checking for trolls!
The signs say that this trail takes 30 minutes but even stopping at all the signs and checking for trolls we did it in under 15.
We have also done the Palm Gully Trail, a 1km loop that has steps and hills, again not too hard for our three year old although the two year old needed carrying (or just wanted to be on Daddy’s shoulders!)
This trail would not be pram or wheelchair friendly and doesn’t have the interactive stations but is very beautiful.
Again the sign said an hour but we travelled at a very sedate pace and still finished in about 20 minutes. Dogs on leads are welcome on the trail.
Toilets/Baby change: Yes, there are three toilet blocks, some with baby change
Parking: There is parking near the various picnic areas
Mum’s report: A beautiful change of pace within suburbia, great for getting the kids outside walking and noticing nature, educational and fun.
Extra: There are a number of different activities run from the Forest Visitor Centre such as Wildlife Patrol, Animal Spotlight and the Early Bird Brekky all based around different animals found in the forest, details on the website.
Thank you Melanie!
Have you visited Cumberland State Forest?
Any tips for getting little ones to enjoy their walks?