Linden Creek, Faulconbridge

Last Sunday marked our family’s return to bushwalking since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. We headed to the small village of Faulconbridge to follow a trail leading to Linden Creek, a popular walk among the locals. Linden Creek criss-crosses many suburbs in the Blue Mountains and is a major tributary of the Grose River which then feeds into the Hawkesbury River.

“The bad news is, there are leeches on this track. The good news is, there are leeches on this track and the sooner you learn about them, the more places you can explore when you grow up.” The pre-bushwalk spiel to the family was really to prepare me – I have an aversion to slugs, snails and leeches which Miss 7 and Master 5 have, thankfully, not picked up. The spiel was accompanied by a generous drenching of insect repellent and clothes shuffling as pants got stuffed in socks.

On the way to Linden Creek via Highlands Road Fire trail

It rained the day prior to our walk which made the path muddy and slippery. The sounds of boots squelching, bell miners calling in their punctuated tinkling bell calls, and the wind rushing through the trees accompanied our slow walk to the end of the fire trail. Here we were greeted by the steep descent to Linden Creek and one of Miss 7’s favourite things: rock boulders.

There were plenty of giggles from Master 5 who found it amusing to slide down the rocks on his bottom. The walk down to the trail near the creek bed took us a bit over an hour as we slowly and carefully made our way down the boulders littered with loose rocks. The sunlight became more and more muted by the towering eucalyptus canopy and the air was noticeably cooler as we reached the fern-lined path next to the creek.

“Walk faster please”, “Don’t touch the ferns”, and “They can also drop from above” I nervously called out as I ran and peered to the left to find suitable stepping stones that led to the creek. Andrew walked at the same leisurely pace, the appointed leech remover. I couldn’t bring myself to walk further into the trail where more densely clumped ferns and the glistening wet track apparently housed (I was told by a local after the walk) the said leeches and a wagon wheel of potential historical value or was originally one of the wheel displays from the front yard of 49 Highlands Street above. The wagon wheel had to wait another day, when I am finally ready to deal with leeches.

Miss 7 led our run up, away from the ferns and the creek towards the steep boulder ascent to return the way we came. When we reached the fire trail, we walked together in silence for a few minutes then she held my had before saying, “Mummy, you should stop being scared of leeches so you can explore more places.” Touché.

Want to try another rock scrambling track (without leeches)? Check out our post, Berowra Waters Scramble, for a day hike or an overnight camping trip on the banks of the Hawkesbury River.

Elysian Rock Lookout and Olympian Rock Lookout, Leura

1 January 2019

2: 45 am – Alarm rings. Andrew and I both go back to bed.

3:10 am – Andrew’s stomping about the room wills me out of bed. Morning bodily business followed by rugging up the sleeping kids. 

3:30 am – “Why do they have fireworks on New Year, I heard some last night?” Miss 6 asks sleepily as I help her buckle her seat belt. “I’m still sleepy, can I keep sleeping?” Master 4 pleads. “I’ll tell you more later, you both go back to sleep,” I reply efficiently. Andrew waits by the burring Nespresso machine making our first dose of coffee for the year. 

3:45 am to 4:45 am – We get ourselves on the Great Western Highway and ascend to Leura. Andrew and I spot a highway patrol car stopped behind a P-plater and debate whether or not an imposition of road-work-induced-80-kph-zone is appropriate on a 110 kph road without any visible road works ongoing. Ensuing silence is punctuated by mine and Andrew’s “Wows” at magnified starlit paths along unlit parts of the highway, accentuated by the dim waning crescent moon. 

4.46 am – Arrive at the spot GPS told us to go but it turns out to be a private driveway. We back out the driveway as the household’s outdoor automatic lights reveals our intrusion. Consult our go to guide for all New South Wales related walks, Wildwalks. 

4.48 am – Success! We find the track entrance to Elysian Rock Lookout located to the left of the white boundary fence to the public gardens and amphitheatre in front of the Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum. With first light at 5:22 am, we have plenty of time to navigate our way down the unlit 10-minute track. 

4:52 am – I piggyback sleeping Master 4. Andrew back lights our way with his mobile phone while fielding Miss 6’s questions on whether snakes are more active at night or in the morning. I drag my shoes along the dirt path to make as much noise to herald our presence to any snakes about. 

5:10 am – We are the first to arrive at the lookout and position ourselves on one of the benches. As we get used to the stillness of the fog-filled valley before us, cricket chirping becomes more apparent. Morning flute calls of a lone magpie is answered by a laughing kookaburra perhaps echoing from another part of the valley. “I want to go home,” Miss 5 complains. “Let’s wait for the sunrise so we can sing ‘NANTS INGONYAMA BAGITHI BABA’ like the sun rise in Lion King,” I explain. “Umm, okay,” she replies then resumes pensively looking at the orange streaked horizon. When Master 4 takes his sister’s lead, I bribe them both with McDonalds breakfast. Andrew takes photos. 

5:22 am – Sunrise. Our annual attempt to witness the first light of each new year is rewarded. We celebrate the first sun-lit part of the new year in silence among a dozen strangers before greeting those awake and friendly enough with a “Happy New Year!”. 

5.50 am – Bush toilet search yields another lookout. Should we go? Of course! It’s 2019! We’ll strive to seize today and each and every one of the 364 days that follow. 

Elysian Rock Lookout, Leura
Elysian Track Lookout to Olympic Track Lookout, Leura

Distance:

600 metres, return

Pram/Wheelchair:

No

Map: