Part of the struggle of bush walking, I find, is motivating the kids to come along and most importantly finding a walk that is suitable for their age group. Many people are often asking me for advice for the best walks for kids, so here is the Top 3…based on the feedback from the little people I know!
1: Mt Keira Scout Camp Chapel Walk (+ toddlers)
This is a personal favourite, ideal for people big and small. A great starter trail for people walking with toddlers or want to trial how their family likes a walk in the bush. To access the Scout Camp, follow Mt Keira Road towards the lookout and you will find excellent signage on the left which takes you up their driveway to a reasonable size car park. There are plenty of things to look at around this area, but base the time you spend here on your toddlers or kids, let them explore, get their hands dirty and experience some new sounds and ‘feels’.
The area offers a great mix of natural and historical features including the beautiful lodge designed by Paul Sorensen. Baden Powell’s wife described this Scout Camp as “surely one of the most beautiful campsites in the world” – I think she was pretty spot on! The Scout Camp has done an amazing job of beautifying the area, including child friendly trails and signage to ensure an educational element also. The wildlife is exceptional in this rainforest, particularly on the Chapel Walk, often followed by a chorus of birds not forgetting the interesting call of the Lyrebird.
This walk is an incredible testament to Wollongong, the Scout Camp should be highly commended for the history and natural beauty they have maintained here.
2: Cascade Trail, Macquarie Pass National Park (+5 years)
This is a cool little track to step it up a little for the slightly older kids. As the name suggests there is a water element here, so supervision needs to be diligent. The trail is easily accessible on the Illawarra Hwy up from Albion Park at the base of Macquarie Pass. There is a big car park on the right going West, and the track is clearly marked and easy to get through. The track is relatively flat and takes about an hour to explore.
The kids and adults can easily jump of the track through some existing minor trails and follow the tributary creek of Macquarie Rivulet up for some fun rock hopping up to the beautiful rock pool and waterfall. The trail hosts some super friendly Lyrebirds within the sub-tropical rainforest, boasting some great vines, birds nest ferns, fungus, ferns and palms. What a feast for their eyes and senses!
This is a great trail after rain when everything is lush green and alive – and to further enliven you, try a dip at the base of the waterfall, even in summer ‘invigorating’ is really an understatement! This is a great trail to insight a love of nature for the older kids.
3: Jump Rock, Macquarie Pass National Park (+10 years)
The Jump Rock trail is just across the road from the Cascade Trail car park on the left. The track is flat in the beginning and quickly turns into a mountain goat trail with very thin steep sections and obstacles of tree roots, mud, slippery slopes and the occasional dodging of Giant Stinging Trees. It’s a really fun track and a great view down the steep slope to the river – there is even a little rope section which the kids love!
You can follow the river up past the causeway, however it’s important to find the high trail when you hit a dead end, the high trail takes you to a crossing perpendicular to the rivulet allowing you to get further upstream to Jump Rock. The crossing is easy for the ten plus kids and very awkward but doable for uncoordinated big people – just laugh it off Mum and Dad! Once you make it across the creek crossing you head around to the gorgeous cascades. The canyon has high cliffs to the South which makes a lovely vista (for the parents, let’s be honest the kids just want to get wet and dirty!). There are ropes and footholds for fun in the summer, lots of supervision is advised, but is basically just a lot of fun for the older kids and adults alike.
This walk takes some flexibility negotiating some larger rocks and jumping across the muddy sections. A fun walk for the kids and adventurous big people. The walk is definitely worth it, I’ll be certainly returning in the summer!