If you're short on time but still craving a dose of nature, this is a great walk only about an hour north of Sydney.
We set out early for our regular Wednesday walk. This particular walk, the Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head loop trail, is a Grade 4, 10km track through Ku-ring-gai National Park.
We had planned to begin our walk from the Sphinx Memorial however missed the turnoff and as it's pretty much impossible to turn around due to hairpin turns on a single lane road, we made our way down to the lovely Empire Bay Marina.
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise - we were able to enjoy a coffee at the marina before our hike and started along the relatively flat Warrimoo Track which runs alongside the still morning waters of the Cowan Creek. The track was easy enough to follow, passing through rocky sections and past a large area of mangroves, incredible rock formations and rainforest.
It's here we may have become a little lost, or maybe it was further along? The path appeared to carry on through some above head height grass reeds, over a small bridge and along the edge of the creek, getting closer and closer to the edge of the creek before coming to an abrupt end!? Looking up we could see what looked like a very narrow, very steep, rocky path which in hindsight was possibly water runoff from the previous day's rain. Either way, we scrambled up to another track and continued on our way through more rainforest, before we came to the turnoff to the Sphinx Track. This is where the fun began!
No sooner had we taken the right turn on to the Sphinx Track than it became a steep incline that went on and on. And on. Twisting and winding its way up the mountain towards the Sphinx Memorial, each time we thought we must be nearly there the track cruelly took another turn. Our legs started to burn and the conversation slowed, before we eventually turned a corner to see the Sphinx Memorial ahead of us.
After enjoying a shared lunch, we headed back out, continuing upwards along wide fire trails lined with scribbly gums and beautiful pink and yellow wildflowers before finally turning to make our way back down the mountain, with gentle switchbacks ensuring it was not too steep a climb down and offering amazing views back down to the bay.
Before we knew it, we'd come to the end of the track with a final steep climb down some steps cut into the rocks and into the marina!
This really was a beautiful hike and we're now excited to explore more of the hikes of Ku-ring-gai National Park!