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
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