This great circuit walk enjoys a variety of landscapes in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The walk starts at the historic Sphinx war memorial and follows a series of popular walking tracks that loop around Bobbin Head, including historic Aboriginal engravings, temperate rainforest and a lookout. As the track passes through Bobbin Head, it provides a great opportunity to take a break and pick up a snack at the kiosk before continuing on the return leg.
(open in app)
Cross sectional view of the Bobbin Head Loop bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Bobbin Head Loop bushwalking track
Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.
Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
Short steep hills (3/6)
Quality of track
Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Storms may impact on navigation and safety (3/6)
Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing
Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk. Gradient
6km of this walk has short steep hills and another 4.1km has gentle hills with occasional steps. The remaining (2.6km) is flat with no steps.
Quality of track
8km of this walk follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles and another 2.9km follows a smooth and hardened path. Whilst another 1.5km follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely and the remaining 200m follows a clear and well formed track or trail.
Around 9km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 3.4km is clearly signposted.
Around 8km of this walk requires some bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 4.9km requires no previous bushwalking experience.
Around 8km of this walk is affected by storms that may impact your navigation and safety, whilst the remaining 4.9km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).
Around 9km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced), whilst the remaining 3.4km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats).
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Private Shirley spent one and a half years carving this monument whilst a patient of the Lady Davidson Convalescent Hospital. William Shirley was in hospital, being treated after serving in WW1. Shirley died in 1929, leaving this memorial to fallen A.I.F. comrades.
"To my glorious comrades of the A.I.F
by the late W. Shirley
No 5756 Pte. 13th Battalion
Died 27th August 1928" More info
Int of Sphinx Memorial Track and Sphinx fire trail Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 57 m
Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -6 m
From the 'Sphinx Memorial', this walk follows the asphalt footpath, behind the picnic tables gently downhill for about 50m to a T-intersection with the 'Sphinx Fire Trail'.
Int of Sphinx Memorial Track and Sphinx service trail
Int of Sphinx walking Track and Service trail Walk: Easy - servicetrail
Length = 9 m
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -1 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Sphinx Fire Trail' sign gently downhill along the wide trail, keeping the valley to your left for just over 10m to an intersection marked with a 'Sphinx Walking Track' sign (on your left).
Int of Sphinx walking Track and management trail
Int of Sphinx walking and Warrimoo Tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.05 km
Time = 25 mins
Climb = 17 m
Descent = -140 m
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Sphinx Walking Track' sign fairly steeply down the series of timber steps. This walk follows the rocky track and timber steps for 300m to flatten out and pass between two tall eucalyptus, then just shy of 150m later this walk comes to a shallow sandstone overhang (on your right). The mostly flat track continues along the side of the valley for about 30m to then head down a series of and carved stone and timber steps for 50m to cross a usually small creek on a sandstone rock platform. From here the track leads gently downhill along the side of the valley among the grass trees for almost 200m to cross a smaller often dry creek on a sandstone rock platform. Here the track gently undulates along the side of the hill crossing a few pleasant rock platforms for 130m to pass under the high tension power lines. Now the track begins to zig-zags quite steeply in places, for almost 250m, down a series of timber and stone steps to a T-intersection in a flat ferny forest. Here there is a 'Sphinx Track - Nth. Turramurra' sign pointing back up the rocky track.
Int of Sphinx walking and Warrimoo Tracks
Int of Warrimoo and Bobbin Head Tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 3.71 km
Time = 1 hr 32 mins
Climb = 242 m
Descent = -245 m
Turn left: From the intersection this walk follows the 'Bobbin Head' arrow on the 'Warrimoo Track' sign along the clear track that leads through the mostly flat ferny section, keeping Cowan Creek some distance to your right. After about 100m the track leaves the ferns and passes under a set of high tension power lines where the track undulates along the side of the hill close to Cowan Creek crossing a few small gullies for about 900m to then pass along a long natural sandstone wall. About 150m after this wall the track leads just below a notable sandstone overhang (up to your left) where the track then starts to head downhill for just over 100m
to a fairly open grassy salt marsh. The walk stays just to the left of the salt marsh then leads along the edge of a section of mangroves for 100m where the track bends left and leads along side the creek for another 100m to then cross a creek at a wide rocky gully. This is a pleasant cool spot with the usually small creek flowing over the sandstone rock platform with naturally carved holes. For the next 200m the track undulates gently along the foreshore through the casuarina forest to come to a tall overhang that is on a rock platform right on the edge of Cowan Creek, a pleasant place to rest. This section of track may become covered with water at high tide.
From the tall overhang the track continues along the shortening natural rock wall for about 150m
to then lead along another section of mangroves for 150m. About 60m past the mangroves the track crosses a short flat timber bridge, then over the next 200m the track crosses a mossy gully and densely forested gully where the rocky track climbs over a rise, past some large smooth bark angophora's then down to another tall and long rock wall and some more pleasant water views.
Just 20m past this rock wall the track bends left and leads alongside the edge of the mangroves for 200m, were again the track may be covered with water at high tides. From the end of the mangroves the rocky track climbs for about 200m before continuing along the water side through a casuarina forest as the track gently undulates over some rocky sections passing some pleasant water views for 400m to pass below another fairly large sandstone cave/overhang (up the hill to your left). Over the next 250m the track leads through a grassy section beside the creek before crossing a shallow gully over a scattering of sandstone blocks. Over the next 300m the mostly flat track leads through a tall wooded forest filled with ferns and crossing a few middens to come to an three-way intersection, just before the marina, marked with a 'Warrimoo Ave & Sphinx Memorial' sign pointing back along the track.
Int of Warrimoo and Bobbin Head Tracks
Empire Marina Walk: Easy - bushtrack
Length = 173 m
Time = 3 mins
Climb = 6 m
Descent = -5 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Bobbin Head Picnic Area' sign along the mostly flat track following the foreshore, keeping the water and boats to your right. After about 30m this walk follows a fence and handrail behind a dry dock for 40m. Here the track narrows a bit to head between the rock face and buildings for 100m to turn right at a 'Warrimo Track' sign and a yellow painted walker (on the ground). Here the walk heads through the hallway, past the public toilets to the water front of Empire Marina, beside the 'Kiosk' (on your right).
Empire Marina - Galley Foods cafe
Alt = 6 m
Empire Marina, in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, provides facilities and services for people on boats and on foot. The marina is home to "Galley Foods" kiosk and restaurant. The kiosk provides a variety of food priced between $4-$16, and is open from 8:30am to 5pm seven days. The restaurant requires reservations, and is open for lunch Thurs-Mon, breakfast on the weekend, and in dinner on Fridays and Saturdays in summer. Phone 9457 0477 More info
Bobbin Inn Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath,road,road
Length = 418 m
Time = 8 mins
Climb = 13 m
Descent = -10 m
Turn left: From beside the Kiosk at Empire Marina, this walk follows the concrete path keeping keeping the water just to your right. After about 20m this walk follows the 'Bobbin Head Picnic Area' sign along the elevated path past a series of information signs  about the local heritage, beside the car park for 150m to leave the marina through the lockable gate. This gate is locked outside of 'park operating hours', that is 8pm to 6am during daylight savings periods, and 5.30pm to 6am at other times of the year. Here the walk passes a sign pointing back to the 'Warrimmo Track' and continues along the waterside then through the car park for another 60m to find another sign pointing back to 'Warrimoo Track', next to the 'Pay Here' station. Veer left: From the intersection, this walk follows the driveway out of the car park a short distance to the intersection with Bobbin Head Road, just beside the bridge. Here there is a toilet block (ahead and on the left), a shelter and phone both (just to your left). Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the footpath beside the road over the wide bridge, crossing Cowan Creek. On the far side of the bridge, this walk continues beside the road along side 'Orchard Park' to pass a side road (on the left). Just 60m later along the main road (Ku-ring-gai Chase Road) this walk comes to the end of a small set of car parks just beside the 'Bobbin Inn' building (on your left), home to cafe and 'information centre'.
Alt = 9 m
Bobbin Head is a historic recreation area which is still popular today, suiting the needs of many people. At the center of the Bobbin Head area is the old 'Bobbin Inn', built in the 1930s - it is now the park information center and cafe. The area is popular with picnickers, boaters, walkers, canoeists, family groups and people who like to fish. Bobbin Head is roughly divided into three sections (north, south and east).
Southern Bobbin Head is a popular picnic area for families and large groups. The area is surrounded by a car park and dotted with picnic tables, electric BBQs, shelters and a large playground. There are toilets[fac=8042] nearby, and 'The Station' is a sheltered accessible area with BBQ and tables that can be booked NPWS.
The northern Bobbin Head (Orchard Park) area is a more formal picnic area. There is a large picnic shelter, surrounded by 14 smaller octagonal shelters, each of these divided into 4 walled-off compartments, ideal for small groups.
The eastern side of Bobbin Head is dominated by the Empire Marina and a public wharf. The marina is home to a nice restaurant and public toilets.
Bobbin Inn Cafe
Alt = 16 m
At the centre of Bobbin Head picnic area, in the old 'Bobbin Inn' building, is a cafe offering inside and outdoor dining, and a range of foods and drinks. Food includes fish and chips, wraps, focaccia, sandwiches and snack foods. Tea, coffee and cold drinks are also on offer. Opening hours are 9 - 4pm Mon to Fri (closed Tuesdays) & 9 - 5pm weekends. For more information, phone the cafe on 9457 7170.
The NPWS Bobbin Head Information Centre is open 7 days a week (closed Christmas Day) 10 - 4pm (closed 12 - 12:30pm lunch).
Ramp access available on the southwestern corner of the building. Ramp access to the information centre through the cafe.
Bobbin Head Kiosk
South End of Bobbin Head Park Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - road
Length = 506 m
Time = 9 mins
Climb = 5 m
Descent = -10 m
Turn sharp left: From the back of 'Bobbin Inn' cafe, this walk heads over the grass heading gently downhill towards Cockle Creek, keeping Ku-Ring-Gai Chase Rd to your left. Soon this walk crosses the car park entrance to follow a brick paved path to the waters edge. Here the path bends right and this walk follows the foreshore path alongside Cockle Creek for almost 200m to find a set of sandstone stairs (that provide access to the creek). The walk continues past the stairs for another 50m, past the children's play ground to where the footpath becomes a compacted dirt for 100m where this walk passes the signposted 'Canoe Launch Area'. Here the now asphalt footpath continues beside the car park for another 100m to find a small constructed sandstone wall with a 'Gibberagong Track Mangrove Boardwalk' sign.
South End of Bobbin Head Park
End of the Mangroves Boardwalk Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - duckboard
Length = 276 m
Time = 5 mins
Climb = 9 m
Descent = -8 m
Veer left: From the far southern end of the Bobbin Head car park[fac=8033][fac=8034], this walk follows the footpath behind the 'Gibberagong Track. Mangrove Boardwalk.' sign (away from the car park and picnic tables[fac=8035][fac=8036]) for about 20m to the sheltered 'Welcome to the Mangrove Boardwalk & Gibberagong Track' information sign. Here the walk continues along the patterned concrete path beside the water for just under 20m to pass a bench seat[fac=8037] where the path bends right. After just shy of 20m the path leads past another bench seat[fac=8037] to find a sandstone cave (with a 1.9m clearance)with a 'Rock Solid?' information sign. Here the path bends left and crosses Cockle Creek on a cable-stayed foot bridge[fac=8039]. Enjoy the great water and cliff views from the bridge. The walk now follows the fenced timber boardwalk for about 25m to come to a viewing area marked with a 'Teeming with life' information sign. Continue straight: From the viewing area, this walk follows the timber boardwalk away from the fenced area initially keeping the main view of water to your left. This section of boardwalks does not have handrails or side capping[fac=8040]. Over the next 100m the boardwalk winds among the mangroves and saltmarsh and past the 'Natural Recycler' and 'Land Developers?' information signs to come to the end of the boardwalk, marked with a 'More? You want more?' information sign. There is a turning area for wheelchairs at the end of the boardwalk[fac=8041].
End of the Mangroves Boardwalk
Aboriginal Axe Grindings Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 325 m
Time = 8 mins
Climb = 23 m
Descent = -17 m
Continue straight: From the end of the boardwalk, this walk heads past the 'More?' sign and up the timber ramp. The rocky track then leads past a small sand stone overhang then up some steps that lead through a cleft in the rock. Here the walk leads across the top of the rock platform then follows the track uphill for just shy of 300m to the top of a rise where the is a unfenced view over the water (just of the track to your right)
Then over the next 80m the sandy track heads gently downhill along the ridge, before leading up a series of stone steps where the track mostly flattens out to come to a the signposted Aboriginal 'Axe Grinding Grooves' site (on a short detour track, on your left).
Aboriginal Axe Grindings
Alt = 11 m
This protected site clearly shows 23 oval-shaped grooves that were worn by Indigenous Australian people, making axe heads from hard rock. Using a blank axe head, the Aboriginal people would use this rock platform, with water from the nearby creek, to sharpen the stone into a useful tool. The rubbing ground the axe head to a sharp edge and left behind these tell-tale signs. More info
Aboriginal Axe Grindings
Int of Bobbin Head and Rainforest tracks Walk: Easy - bushtrack
Length = 21 m
Climb = 3 m
Descent = 0 m
Continue straight: From the Aboriginal 'Axe Grinding Grooves' site this walk follows the track gently uphill along the ridge, for just shy of 20m to come to a T-intersection where a 'Bobbin Head 500m' sign points back downhill.
Int of Bobbin Head and Rainforest tracks
Bobbin Head Rainforest Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 194 m
Time = 5 mins
Climb = 15 m
Descent = -7 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Rainforest 500m' sign gently uphill along the clear track heading south east. After about 60m the track starts to lead gently down the side of the hill among the grass tree and eucalypt forest for about 100m before leading down a series of timber steps into the more densely forest gully. Here the walk comes to a sandstone rock bed and creek in a pleasant rainforest setting. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then continue straight to continue along this walk.)
Bobbin Head Rainforest
Alt = 22 m
A well-protected piece of rainforest is found just a short walk from the popular Bobbin Head picnic area in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. The rainforest is distinct when compared to much of the dry eucalypt forests that dominate the area. The rainforest is beside a small creek, just below Bobbin Head Road, and is a safe haven for many birds that frequent the area.
Int of Bobbin Head and Rainforest tracks
Gibberagong waterhole Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 3.2 km
Time = 1 hr 9 mins
Climb = 170 m
Descent = -129 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Wahroonga 5km' sign down a few steps to a rock platform with filtered view over Cockle Creek, where the track bends left and leads more steeply downhill. The track leads down the side of the hill to come beside Cockle Creek and follow a 200m long section of mangroves with a scattering of open casuarina forest. The views over the creek now start to open up a little more to as the track leads alongside this tidal section of Cockle Creek among the mixed forest of casuarina, grass trees and tall eucalypt as the track undulates along the side of the hill for just shy of 300m before walking alongside a tall 150m long natural rock wall. About 50m past this rock wall the track leads through a notably flat and open sandy area with some bracken fern beside the creek. Now the mostly flat track continues upstream beside the creek for 300m before leading past a the rocky creeks edge again, near the upper reaches of the tidal section. Here the track climbs the side of the hill again for another 200m to cross a shallow gully with several tall palms among the mostly tall eucalypt forest, under a set of high tension power lines. Over the next 200m the track leads down the side of the hill to cross over a mostly flat rock platform beside the creek to continue upstream for another 100m to find a pleasant, fairly open forest of the sandy bank of a long pool in Cockle Creek (with a few small cascades upstream). From here the track undulates along the side of the hill, in view of the creek for just over 1km to lead under a set of power lines (a bit tricky to see through the canopy), then just over 100m later the track leads through two tall overhangs (the second larger one has a notable hole in the roof). Just over 120m later the track leads down close to the edge of the creek again then back up the side of the hill for another 120m to pass alongside an 2m high natural rock wall. About 100m past this rock wall the track passes a rock platform (on your right) with a good view over a bend in Cockle Creek. Now the walk heads gently downhill along the still clear track for just shy of 100m to cross a small side creek then just 25m later comes to a flat area beside at the northern end of the Gibberagong waterholes. This is a short distance before a section of metal fencing and just were the terrain on your left becomes much more open and flatter.
Alt = 58 m
Gibberagong waterhole is an informal name for a wide section of Cockle Creek that run for over 150m north of the confluence with Lovers Jump creek. This secluded and shady spot is a great place to sit and enjoy the waterholes, cascading water and the view to the sandy banks on the other side. If you sit quietly enough you may see lyrebirds scratching through the bush by the creek.
Int of Gibberagong and Murrua Link Tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 35 m
Time = 1 mins
Climb = 2 m
Descent = -1 m
Continue straight: From beside the northern end of Gibberagong waterholes, this walk follows the clear track gently uphill, keeping the creek a short distance to your right, for about 10m to passes a section of metal fencing propped up by a tree. Then just shy of later 20m this comes to an intersection with a faint track (on the left) beside the large smooth bark angophera, Marked with a very obvious 3 way NPWS sign pointing back 'To Bobbin Head'.
Int of Gibberagong and Murrua Link Tracks
End of Murrua Road Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.46 km
Time = 35 mins
Climb = 122 m
Descent = -10 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'To Murrua Road' sign gently uphill along the faint track, heading south east directly away from the creek. After just shy of 50m this walk steps up on to a rock platform where the still faint track starts to climbs more steeply. The track climbs steeply in two main sections for just over 300m to a point where the track mostly flattens out again. Here the clearer track continues much more gently uphill for just over 100m to a T-intersection with the wide Murra Trail. From here, this walk turns right and follows the trail through the pleasant eucalypt forest for a while, passing a few overgrown trails before continuing through a National Park gate (signposted 'Murrua Trail' to the end of Murrua Road.
End of Murrua Road
Sphinx Memorial Walk: Easy - road,footpath
Length = 1.66 km
Time = 28 mins
Climb = 7 m
Descent = -35 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows Murrua Road to the first intersection, turning left onto McTaggart Road. The walk then turns right onto Kirkpatrick Street, continuing past the oval to the end, where it turns right onto Du Faur Street and then left onto Bobbin Head Road. From here, the walk follows this road past the high school and all the houses, coming to the National Parks and Wildlife Service toll booth. Turn right: From the toll booth, this walk follows the 'Sphinx War Memorial' sign through the metal gates and along the road. The walk continues down the long gentle hill until coming to an intersection with an asphalt path, at the information sign on the left of the road. Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads downhill, north-east along the footpath, until reaching the Sphinx Memorial picnic ground (the Sphinx will be just off to your right).
Fire Danger This walk passes Greater Sydney Region fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place. (Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 4 years ago) Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.
Ku-ring-gai Chase National ParkLink to official closures and fire bans page A largely untouched wilderness on the northern boundary of Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase NP is one of Australia's oldest national parks. Here at the head of the Hawkesbury River, you'll find Aboriginal engravings and sites, as well as sandstone escarpments, Region: Sydney & Surrounds Park feesCampingFacilities I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.