With the school holidays on the horizon and families needing to find funds for entertainment and activities, many mums and dads are trying to find ways to entertain kids without dipping into the piggy bank.
Today I discovered a bush walk in Hornsby that is central to most parts of Sydney, is very scenic, is not too challenging and is absolutely free.
Today’s walk was organised by Alfie’s scout group. From where I live on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, it took us around 35 minutes to drive to Rosemead Park where we began our walk.
We went on the Blue Gum Walk that is 4.3kms and takes around two hours, depending on how speedy you want to be.
But, there are many walks on offer at Rosemead Park so if the Blue Gum Walk isn’t challenging enough for you, you can choose the 220km walk to Newcastle. We’ll leave that for another day. Do be warned that at Rosemead Park there are no amenities so you do need good bladder control.
The Blue Gum Walk begins and ends in almost the same position. It’s named the Blue Gum Walk for the obvious reason that on the walk, you’ll see lots of blue gum trees. The walk has a lot of variety in terms of scenery and terrain. It is a little challenging so probably not manageable for anyone under the age of around five years.
We crossed over streams, climbed up and down rock walls, squeezed between rows of trees and ran along wide rocky platforms. We had a lot of children aged between seven and 12 years and all managed extremely well. We had a couple of rest spots to not only pause for a drink but also take in the views.
About 4kms into the walk I did start to hear a little bit of whinging from a few of the children. I said, ‘All those who don’t whinge will be given an ice cream on the way home’. All whinging stopped; happy faces once more. They even rushed to the finish line.
We emerged from the bush near the Ginger Meggs Park. The park is fully fenced however, once again, there are no amenities. Kids always seem to have some energy reserves and after appearing fatigued, suddenly were running towards the swings, slides and flying fox.
They ran around for a while before I had to fulfil that promise of an ice cream.
If you’re looking for a holiday activity where the only cost is a few sandwiches and a bottle of water in a backpack, consider the Blue Gum Walk. It’s not only free, it gives children a great day in the great outdoors and some overdue time-out from electronic devices.
Verdict: Old-fashioned fun.
Blue Gum Walk: Rosemead Park, Rosemead Avenue, Hornsby, NSW.