Please welcome Diane Godley of the very useful blog Northern Beaches Discovery.
Today Diane is taking us all around the excellent trail at Narrabeen Lagoon.
Narrabeen Lagoon Trail
Any time of year is a good time to visit Narrabeen Lagoon. This large coastal lagoon is located half way along the Northern Beaches peninsula and is a great place for kids to cycle – whether they are toddlers on training wheels or school-aged kids needing to burn off some energy.
Narrabeen Lagoon Cycle Circuit
My family loves cycling the Narrabeen Lagoon circuit. I love it because it is easy on my knees, it gets the kids out in nature, and you can take it as fast or as slow as you like.
The 8.4 km off-road nature trail winds through parklands and lush ecosystems that are home to over 190 bird species, such as egrets and black swans.
Strategically placed around the circuit are four picnic grounds, Middle Creek, Jamieson, Berry and Billarong.
You can start the circuit from any of these locations, however if you have little ones and are likely to only be cycling part of the trail, then I would suggest starting at Berry Reserve on Pittwater Road or Billarong Reserve off the Wakehurst Parkway, both of which have fabulous playgrounds.
Toilets: All four reserves have toilets. Berry Reserve has toilets at the northern end near the shops and playground, but not near the playground at the southern end.
Other facilities: All the reserves provide tables, shelters, electric barbecues and water bubblers.
Nearest takeaway coffee: Berry Reserve is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. None of the other reserves have shops close by.
Shade: Loads of shady trees.
Playground: Yes, two at Berry Reserve, one fabulous playground at Bilarong Reserve, read Seana’s post here
Bus stop nearby: Yes. Pittwater Road shops at Narrabeen for Berry Reserve.
Parking: All four reserves have metered parking. Berry Reserve tends to fill up pretty quickly, as does Middle Creek on weekends.
Alternative free on-street parking can be found in residential areas at North Narrabeen and Wheeler Heights.
We generally start cycling from Middle Creek Reserve, off the Wakehurst Parkway.
The grounds at Middle Creek and the section of trail either side of it were the last pieces of infrastructure to be completed on the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail, and are still looking pretty schmick.
You can travel in either direction, but we usually ride over the bridges on the south side first, past the Sydney Academy of Sport.
This joins up with the old section of the trail to Jamieson Park where you cycle through lush ecosystems with endangered vegetation communities, such as Cabbage Palm Woodlands.
I get the sensation that I’m in the middle of some jungle when I ride through this section. You really do feel a million miles away from Sydney.
From Jamieson the trail continues along a path next to the road for a short distance before turning into a long narrow parkland that is Berry Reserve.
If tummies are rumbling by the time you reach Berry Reserve, stop and take advantage of the wide variety of eateries along Pittwater Road – the only spot on the trail where you can buy your lunch.
Tip: if you get a takeaway and eat it at Berry Reserve, don’t feed the birds or they won’t leave you alone!
If your kids spot the playground at Berry Reserve but you’re keen to move on, then persuade them that a better playground awaits at the next picnic ground.
Although still off-road, the section of trail between Berry and Billarong is the most child unfriendly..
The trail runs alongside the road for a small section and includes crossing a road bridge. Although there is a barrier between riders/pedestrians and the cars, the trail here is narrow and it can be a little daunting.
My suggestion is if you don’t feel comfortable riding across, hop off your bike and walk it over the bridge.
The trail then brings you to Bilarong Reserve – a lovely open space with an enchanted playground and a good clear bike path for learners.
Regardless of the age of your kids, they are going to love the playground at Billarong. Besides a climbing net and spinning wheel, the sandpit has loads of mythical creatures carved out of sandstone.
From dragons to fairies, dungeons and sea creatures, the fantasy playground will have kids (and adults) intrigued and scrambling to see what they can find next. This is obviously a work in progress as every time we come here there seems to be a new sculpture!
The trail continues by hugging the foreshore back to Middle Creek, and includes a bridge and extensive boardwalk to protect the environmentally sensitive foreshore here.
If you’ve brought a picnic, then sit back and enjoy it at Middle Creek and be mesmerised by this big beautiful body of water.
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