About half an hour’s drive from the Hills, this short little track – the Gadyan Track – at Berry Island Reserve is a perfect introduction to bushwalking, as well as Aboriginal culture and heritage for little ones. There’s plenty to see, it’s short and there are stunning harbour views with glimpses of the Harbour Bridge. And it’s part of a larger reserve with a playground and lots of space so it makes a lovely day out.
You’ll find Berry Island Reserve by the harbour at the bottom of Shirley Road in Wollstonecraft. It’s a comfortable drive from the Hills down the M2. It’s a gorgeous spot and also an area rich in Aboriginal culture and history – the original occupants of the region, the Cammeraygal, lived along the foreshores and in the bushland and the area is dotted with cultural remains, including on the Gadyan Track. ‘Gadyan’ is the Aboriginal name for the Sydney Cockle.
The track is a short 750m loop around the headland and is bascially flat. We did the loop clockwise, but you can certainly do it the other way. It’s an easy path to traverse and is mostly dirt with a few rocks and logs. There are parts with railings or small platforms for viewing. There are a few steps to negotiate and of course, it’s around a headland by the harbour, so if you have kids that like to veer off course, you’ll need to keep a close eye on them.
There are also spots where you can go right down to the water’s edge which is fun. We went recently on a weekday and it was very peaceful – the perfect spot to perch for a few minutes and reflect on the beauty and history of the spot.
Over the course of the walk you’ll come across several signs which explain the Aboriginal history and significance of the area – the signs talk about the destruction and survival of the Cammeraygal after Europeans arrived, the food the Cammeraygal would have collected and eaten in the area and how they would have done this.
There’s also a large rock engraving in one spot of a creature about 10 metres long, part of the spiritual life of the Cammeraygal. Due to the loss of these peoples from conflict and disease the story told by the engraving is no longer known but some believe it represents a stingray inside a whale or a large sea creature being attacked or beaten off.
At the end of the walk, or the beginning depending on where you start, there’s a little playground with one of the best views going! There are also toilets, benches and a bbq too.
Berry Island Reserve, the Gadyan Track
Harbourside, bottom of Shirley Road Wollstonecraft.
About half an hour’s drive from Castle Hill via the M2. Parking is on residential streets nearby.
Wollstonecraft is also on the train line – it’s about 650m from station, approximately an 11 minute walk, however it will be uphill in parts when you are returning to the station.
Dogs must be on leash.