The Cascades: Middle Harbour walk

Garigal National Park

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Overview

Bring the kids on this family-friendly bush walk to the Cascades in Garigal National Park, in Sydney’s north. Get ready to explore lush bushland, waterfalls and rockpools.

When

Sunday 25 June 2023, 10am to 2pm

Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Grade
Easy. Suitable for adults and children 5 years and over. Basic level of fitness required.
Price

Adult $15 per person. Child (5-17 years) $10 per person. Concession (Student, Australian pension, Veterans Affairs and Seniors card holders) $10 per person. Family $40 for 2 adults and 2 children.

Meeting point
Opposite 77 Cambourne Avenue, St Ives, at head of Upper Cambourne trail
Bookings
Bookings required. Phone 1300 072 757 for more information or book online.
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Only a 25 minute drive from the city, this guided bushwalk is sure to entertain people young and old. Pass through pristine bushland as you make your way to the Cascades.

The Cascades is named for a series of little waterfalls, rock platforms and rockpools formed where Middle Harbour Creek and French’s Creek meet. Bring a picnic and enjoy a bite to eat at this special place. The kids are sure to have a blast exploring the tiny streams. Let them dip their toes into the cool cascading water.

You’ll also see the remnants of a 1930s Depression era swimming hole. Your guide will regale you with stories of the area dating as far back as Governor Philip in 1788.

Bring at least 1 litre of drinking water, lunch and snacks. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable, enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen and all-weather clothing.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/guided-tours/the-cascades-middle-harbour-walk/local-alerts

Bookings

Operated by

Image of: NSW National Parks logo
  • NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service

Park info

  • in Garigal National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • Garigal National Park is open 6am to 6.30pm (8pm during daylight savings) but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day applies only at Davidson Park only. Day passes are available from on-park pay machines that accept coins and credit cards, and you can also pay for your visit via the Park’nPay app.

    Bus: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day).

    Daily entry fee exemption for teachers and educational supervisors (1 adult per 10 children) applies only for organised and pre-arranged group bookings.

    Buy annual pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about The Cascades: Middle Harbour walk.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Sydney:

    • Heading north on Mona Vale Road, turn right onto Douglas Street. 
    • Follow Douglas Street until it meets Cambourne Avenue and turn left.
    • Travel 270m until you reach the head of Upper Cambourne Trail.
     

    Parking

    Free street parking is available.

    Maps and downloads

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - no wheelchair access

    Not wheelchair-accessible

    Learn more

    The Cascades: Middle Harbour walk is in Garigal National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Outdoor action

    Davidson picnic area, Garigal National Park. Photo: Shaun Sursok

    There are countless ways to pass the time in Garigal. Explore the park's trails and tracks on horseback, mountain bike or on foot. If you enjoy water activities, launch your canoe or boat from the ramp at Davidson Park or drop a line in one of the great fishing spots throughout the park, like Middle Harbour, where you can catch flathead, flounder, mullet and bream.

    • Cascades trail Cascades trail is ideal for walking, horseriding and mountain biking in Garigal National Park. A medium difficulty walk or ride along a fire trail, it traverses Middle Harbour creek.
    • Davidson Park picnic area and boat ramp If you're looking for something to do in Sydney, Davidson Park is a pretty harbourside park with boating and canoeing access, just a short drive from the Sydney CBD.
    • Natural Bridge track to Davidson Park This challenging walking track winds through Garigal National Park, and features impressive sandstone rock formations and spectacular water views.

    Rich Aboriginal heritage

    Cascade trail, Garigal National Park. Photo: Kim McClymont

    Aboriginal people have been custodians of the land in Garigal National Park for thousands of years and this connection and legacy is evident throughout the park. Garigal has extensive Aboriginal art sites, with over 100 Aboriginal sites recorded to date, including cave art, rock engravings, shelters, middens and grinding grooves.

    Wartime stories

    Pipeline and Bungaroo tracks to Stepping Stones trail, Garigal National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    There are many places of historical interest in the park, such as Bungaroo and the former Bantry Bay Explosives Magazine complex. Both sites played a key role in the early establishment of Sydney and are important reminders of our history since colonisation. Enjoy a walk to Bantry Bay, where you'll see a collection of historically important buildings surrounded by stunning foreshore and bushland views.

    • Governor Phillip heritage walk See Garigal National Park through the eyes of Governor Phillip on this 6km, 4-hour guided walk. Learn about his 1788 exploration of Middle Harbour and what his party thought of the Australian bush.
    • Hawkesbury to harbour walk: Stage 3 Join this great 7hr, 14km guided walk and explore Garigal National Park in northern Sydney. It's the third walk in a series of 5 walks.
    • Hawkesbury to harbour walk: Stage 4 Explore the sights of Garigal National Park by joining this 7.5hr, 16km guided walk on the Sydney's lower north shore.
    • Pipeline and Bungaroo tracks to Stepping Stones Crossing This short steep walk is one of the most beautiful on Sydney’s upper north shore. Beginning at St Ives, it leads you through Garigal National Park to Middle Harbour creek.
    • The Cascades: Middle Harbour walk Bring the kids on this family-friendly bush walk to the Cascades in Garigal National Park, in Sydney’s north. Get ready to explore lush bushland, waterfalls and rockpools.

    Wildlife haven

    Silver banksia (Banksia marginata), Garigal National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Garigal is part of an important wildlife corridor that spans all the way from Sydney Harbour to the national parks of the Blue Mountains. It's the natural habitat for a number of threatened native animal species, such as tiger quolls, broad-headed snakes and red-crowned toadlets, so keep your eyes peeled. If you see a hole in the ground it may be that of the endangered southern brown bandicoot.

    • Cascades trail Cascades trail is ideal for walking, horseriding and mountain biking in Garigal National Park. A medium difficulty walk or ride along a fire trail, it traverses Middle Harbour creek.
    • Hawkesbury to harbour walk: Stage 3 Join this great 7hr, 14km guided walk and explore Garigal National Park in northern Sydney. It's the third walk in a series of 5 walks.
    • Hawkesbury to harbour walk: Stage 4 Explore the sights of Garigal National Park by joining this 7.5hr, 16km guided walk on the Sydney's lower north shore.
    • Stepping Stone Crossing to Cascades trail Located in Garigal National Park, Stepping Stone Crossing to Cascades trail is an easy walk that you can enjoy by walking, horse riding or mountain biking.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

      The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

    Plants

    •  Grey mangrove, Towra Point Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

      Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

      Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

    • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

      Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

    • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

      An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

    • A red triangle slug on the trunk of a scribbly gum tree in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

      Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

      Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)