A Year of Yes, Week 20: Aboriginal Heritage Walk

We ventured off on a family outing this weekend north of Sydney to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. I had been poking around on the NSW Parks page and discovered this interesting hike not too far from home that looked easy to do with the three kids. What made it more enticing was the bit of culture we would discover along the way. The area at one time had been inhabited by the Guringai people and traces of the past still remain.

IMG_1671IMG_1673We enjoyed seeing a Goanna at the start of the walk hanging out trail side as if to greet us. His size was shocking at first as we were so used to seeing finger length lizards more commonly, it was very exciting. Along the path we encountered many bull ants and way too many giant spider sightings for comfort.

We walked the Red Hands Trail and the Resolute Trail with the kids. It was around a 4.5km easy walk with a few steep climbs. The path had beautiful cliff side views of the ocean, small waterfalls, trails that lead to small secluded beaches, and was shaded for 2/3 of the way with the last portion consisting of an exposed fire road.

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The biggest drama for the day was that someone needed to have a poo behind a dead tree. The one day we didn’t bring a pack, no tissues, and no wipes. Naturally, today was the day the urge presented itself halfway through our walk. I managed to tear an inner pocket out of the cloth bag I carried snacks and water in as makeshift loo paper. Never a dull moment with kids in tow.

We learnt about the local aboriginal tribe, the Guringai. We saw traditional cave dwellings, cave paintings and rock engravings. We also discovered that the people here were completely decimated within one year from the arrival of the first fleet due to their gift of small pox. It was the beginning of Australia’s phobia of anything being brought in. Something anyone visiting or living here has to deal with today as a result.

 “The First Fleet of 11 ships, left Portsmouth, England in 1787 with more than1480 men, women and children onboard. Although most were British, there were also African, American and French convicts. After a voyage of three months the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay on 24 January 1788.”

The park is lush and so close to home that I couldn’t believe it’s taken us two years to visit since moving to Sydney. There were many more hiking tracks to explore, beaches to visit, and beautiful roads to cycle. I expect we will be back to try another route out in the future. The start of the trail head start was an easy one-hour drive from home. The $12 fee to enter the park included parking and made for a cheap day outing with the reward of beautiful scenery and much to discover.


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