Ex­plore the magic of Narrabeen La­goon

Get up early or wait till dusk to see this north­ern beaches gem in its best light, writes Ce­cily Ryan

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - More: war­ringah.nsw.gov.au

All shim­mer­ing sil­ver and gold at dawn when mists tease its still wa­ters, Narrabeen La­goon turns to molten red and or­ange in the evening as the sun’s last rays slide below the western hori­zon.

Then there is the wildlife. Black swans cruise along the grass-cov­ered banks, ducks with fluffy ba­bies in tow wad­dle seem­ingly with­out fear among walk­ers and pic­nick­ers, and last year a bril­liant green tree python took up tem­po­rary res­i­dence in a tree fern, be­com­ing a so­cial me­dia sen­sa­tion in the process.

If it is beau­ti­ful scenery you crave, you have come to the right place.

But there is more to this body of wa­ter be­tween Narrabeen and War­riewood on the north­ern beaches, recog­nised as a State Park in 2014. Since the fi­nal miss­ing link in the 8.4km track that cir­cum­nav­i­gates the la­goon was com­pleted in mid 2015, it has be­come a firm favourite with lo­cal walk­ers and cy­clists.

Tak­ing be­tween one and two hours to com­plete de­pend­ing on your pace and in­cli­na­tion to stop and drink in the views, the Narrabeen La­goon Trail of­fers ex­er­cise, fresh air and scenery all rolled into one eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, dogfriendly pack­age with­out the jostling crowds that can make bet­ter known tracks across the city more chal­leng­ing.

The new­est part of the track passes along­side Cromer Golf Course and Syd­ney Academy of Sport and Recre­ation, cross­ing the wa­ter at Middle and Deep Creeks via two new steel bridges.

The track can be ac­cessed at sev­eral points, but the Berry Re­serve carpark on Pittwa­ter Rd and the Middle Creek carpark off Wake­hurst Park­way are best for non-lo­cals. Just re­mem­ber to bring some change for the park­ing me­ters. The Berry Re­serve en­try is also handy for buses run­ning north and south.

Walk­ing is level and for the most part shaded, travers­ing board­walks, crushed gravel and lo­cal foot­paths with no steps. Walk­ers are well ad­vised to stay on the left at all times and keep alert for cy­clists, many of whom ne­glect to sig­nal their ap­proach de­spite the many signs re­mind­ing them to do so.

There are benches along the way for those who re­quire a rest, play­ground fa­cil­i­ties for chil­dren who can’t do the whole loop, and sev­eral toi­let spots. Fish­er­men can cast a line from the grassy banks or throw down a pic­nic rug and take ad­van­tage of the bar­be­cue fa­cil­i­ties.

Walk­ers can also take in some lo­cal his­tory as they pass un­der the trees. The re­mains of the his­toric Never Been Beaten Lime and Ce­ment Works lie be­tween Middle and Deep Creeks and a sec­tion pass­ing the RSL AN­ZAC Re­tire­ment Vil­lage is home to var­i­ous plaques list­ing the sac­ri­fices made by Aus­tralian sol­diers in var­i­ous the­atres of war over the last two cen­turies.

Coffee lovers can get their fix and rest weary feet along the stretch be­tween Berry Re­serve and Narrabeen St, which is dot­ted with water­side cafes and restau­rants. Or time your walk for the third Sun­day of the month and fin­ish at the Berry Re­serve Mar­ket, which of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of arts and crafts stalls and a cou­ple of good food stalls.

Narrabeen La­goon Trail is an ideal place for walk­ing, kayak­ing, swim­ming, spot­ting wildlife and mess­ing about in boats. Pic­tures: Chris Pavlich

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