Wilderness within reach: Sydney's bush backyard

Manly Dam through the trees

Manly dam is just one nature centre close to Sydney.

Credit: Warringah Council

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Jurassic Park

The Wolli Creek Nature Reserve is the only stretch of dense eucalypt forest still standing in Sydney's south west and it's only a 20-minute train trip from Central Station on the East Hills line.

So we set off for a morning walk in this skinny 60 hectares of largely untouched bushland.

Once you plunge onto the bush trails from the grassy picnic area, you feel immersed in the wilderness.

The kids were so taken with the idea that we were far away from the civilisation, they hid amongst the bracken and pretended to hunt for dinosaurs. Rocks were mattaburrasaurus eggs, broken twigs evidence of T-Rex having passed this way.

The path, while being clearly visible and well used, is lined with waist-high ferns and stands of eucalypts tower over it.

My intrepid explorers scampered up rocky stairways and jumped over muddy stretches with ease, but the steep declines (lined with handrail and chains) proved tricky, even for junior palaeontologists.

While houses and even the railway tracks are visible from parts of the trail, this little pocket of forest provides a natural habitat for local skinks, turtles, native bats and birds.

It's also a great spot to introduce kids to bushwalking without too much effort, particularly if you live in Sydney's inner city suburbs.

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