The Heath Track at Manly Dam
The Heath Track is my favourite of all walks around Manly Dam. With sweeping views across the Dam, Manly Beach, Wakehurst Golf Course and Chatswood, plus loads of beautiful wildflowers, this track offers something for the grown ups and kids.
Heath Track Walk
The Heath Track is a short loop walk. At about 20 minutes walking time, it’s the perfect length for children and those who simply want to get back to nature – albeit briefly.
Unlike many of the walks at Manly Dam, the Heath Track starts at Allambie Heights. As the suburb’s name suggests, it’s in a lofty location, well away from the water.
To access the walk, head to the back of the Allambie Heights shops (Roosevelt Ave), go past the school and turn up the first side street to the tennis courts.
Next to the courts is a fire trail that leads to the Circuit Track which circumnavigates the dam.
Start walking down the trail until you see a sign pointing right for bushwalkers. This is the start of the Heath Track.
If it has been raining, the first part of the track will be a little boggy, but once you get through the avenue of trees and out in the open, the ground will be drier – and the views spectacular.
The trees open up onto a wide rock ledge, which provides 180 degree views over Manly Dam and Manly Beach.
PS For all the info about picnics, more walks and swimming at Manly Dam, click here for a full post.
I love to simply sit here for a while and take in the panorama while the kids go off and play.
If you have small children however, this is where you will need to grip their hands tightly as there is a several metre drop over the rock ledge.
Follow the track around, past the grass trees and wildflowers, until you come to vistas over the Wakehurst Golf Course and Chatswood.
It feels a bit surreal being surrounded by all this gorgeous bush and seeing a satellite city popping up out of the trees on the horizon. You kind of feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie.
Continue on the track and you will wind up back at the tennis courts. Sometimes the track can get a bit hazy, but just look out for the arrows on the rocks. If you look up, you’ll probably see the lights for the tennis courts, so you can’t get too lost.
Toilets: No, but there are at the Allambie Heights shops, and the café Mr Grigor’s has its very own toilet.
Nearest takeaway coffee: Allambie Heights shops
Mum’s report: If you have toddlers who tend to do a runner, this may not be the best walk for you. There are no fences to keep them in and there are some steep drops of rock ledges.
Bus stop nearby: Yes, at Allambie Heights shops.
Extra: Read all about the picnic areas, swimming and walks at Manly dam itself here.
Tips on getting kids off screens and out bushwalking
Studies in recent years have shown that walking in nature is not only beneficial physically, but mentally, too, with improvements to moods, creativity, focus, memory and self-esteem. So it really is worth getting your kids outside for a bush walk.
When our kids were young however, we found them a little unwillingly to go on a bush walk. So we got advice from other parents and tried out a few techniques and now, I’m happy to say, our kids don’t need prompting at all.
Here are a few tips you can try to get kids to enjoy bushwalking:
- Start bushwalking with your kids while they are still young.
- Make sure the walk is just long enough so they don’t get overly tired. The Heath Track is perfect for beginners, it is short – 20 minutes tops – and there is lots to see.
- Have a few lollies in your pocket and reward them with a treat when they reach certain points along the track.
- When the kids are older, swap the lollies for challenges, such as who can be first to the top of the hill/the tall tree/the big boulder. Our kids do this without any intervention from us now, and usually scramble up anything and everything that can be climbed.
- Make the walk interesting by pointing out the pretty wildflowers and listen out for different bird calls. Try and find where the birds are in the trees – it’s really rewarding when you see the bird that is singing.
- If your kids love animals, tell them that they may see wildlife during the walk. Animals you may see on the Heath Track include lizards and even an echidna.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to discovery more fun activities on the northern beaches that are free, visit Diane’s blog at www.northernbeachesdiscovery.com