I’m now a member of the “Friends of Berowra Valley” group so I figured it’s time I ventured out and do a few of the signature walks in the southern part of the valley that were showcased in a book put out by the group many years ago. I had a couple of hours to myself so I decided to head to Cherrybrook and do the short walk to Refuge Rock and hopefully add on a side trip to a Natural Arch that the locals call London Bridge.
I parked at the entrance to the management trail on Trevors Lane Cherrybrook. There were a couple of intersections a some side trails but it was a very easy walk. In no time at all I reached the beginning of Refuge Rock.
I was a little disappointed! I’d seen rock platforms like this one many times and I couldn’t see how this one was more worthy of mention than the others. I noticed a gap in the trees ahead and sure enough the trail continued. I came out on a huge exposed rock face with views up the valley. I began exploring and found there were lots of little trails to other exposed rock outcrops. I spent a bit of time exploring and just generally enjoyed myself.
I decided to try to find the Natural Arch. I followed the path to reach a rounded rocky area in the forest and I continued following the track thinking it would lead me to my destination. After five or ten minutes I realised I’d been walking for far too long. My GPS was not working so I couldn’t get an exact position but it was clear I had gone too far. I pulled out my track notes (from WildWalks) and saw my error. It spoke about turning at a Banksia tree and following a gully. I hadn’t done either of those things so I headed back. Soon enough I saw the tree and a gap in the rock that formed a gully. It’s amazing what actually reading the track notes can do for you! I followed the gully down but soon ended up bushbashing. I didn’t mind as I want to see a cave that I spied from above. I read the notes again and it spoke of a second gully. Well I hadn’t seen that anywhere, so I backtracked and worked my way along a rock wall until I came upon the arch. It wasn’t what I was expecting as it was an arch in front of a rock face rather than an arch standing out in the open. I explored a bit and climbed under the arch. I realised that it was actually separated from the rock wall behind it and I began to appreciate what others saw in it. To the left was a tight squeeze between two rocks that formed the second gully that I had been seeking! Now that I had seen the whole thing I understood the attraction. It was quite a spectacular little hidden wonder!
I climbed out the way I was meant to have gone in, via the second gully. In no time at all I was back at the car.
It was a short walk and I had not known what to expect. It was a bit of a tease really in that the first encounter was underwhelming but once you explored the area fully and grasped the size of it, it turned out to be spectacular! I really enjoyed this walk and will bring my kids back one day to do the gully squeeze to Natural Arch!