Out of the vast number of trails she’s explored in Berowra Valley National Park, Erin reckons the Lyrebird Gully Circuit is the best.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants, for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Lyrebird Gully Circuit is a 9km, one way, Grade 5 hike located in Berowra Valley National Park in New South Wales, Australia. It takes around 3.5 – 4 hours to complete.

About Lyrebird Gully Circuit

Only a one-hour train ride from Sydney CBD, the trail combines all the best parts of hiking in greater Sydney – forests, rivers, mangroves, a saltmarsh, and an impressive vista at the end.

Lyrebird Gully Circuit History

Lyrebird Gully Circuit forms part of the famous Great North Walk, a trail which is 250km long and starts at the Obelisk in Macquarie Place, Sydney, ending at Queens Wharf in Bicentennial Park, Newcastle.

The Great North Walk originated in 1981 from Leigh Shearer-Heriot and Garry McDougall’s spur-of-the-moment desire to walk along the length of the Lane Cove River. However, as they thought more about it, they were curious whether they could form a trail all the way from Sydney to Newcastle using existing bushland. Committed to the cause, they spent several weekends over a couple of years mapping out the trail and pitching the idea to local government councils to get funding.


There are heaps of walks to choose from… but the Lyrebird Circuit is the best by far


Finally, the funding came through in 1985 and the trail’s construction began. The Great North Walk officially opened in 1988, deriving its name from the first road built to join the Hunter Valley with Sydney Town.

So, as you hike Lyrebird Gully Circuit and other parts of the Great North Walk, it’s quite extraordinary to realise that you’re walking on that trail because of the passion project of two blokes motivated enough to make it accessible and preserve the land’s history. You’ll see that part of its charm is that it intertwines with urban areas and bushland. The trail also reveals hints of the history of the land such as Aboriginal rock carvings and relics from the land’s colonial past.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace


Surrounded by new friends fronds

How to Get to Lyrebird Gully Circuit

You can start the trail from either Mount Ku-ring-gai or Berowra Station, but I recommend starting from Mount Ku-ring-gai Station (to finish the hike with the Naa Badu Lookout).

It’s easiest to get to the trailhead by catching the train from the Sydney CBD to Mount Ku-ring-gai Station on the T1 line, which takes about one hour.

You can also access the trail by car, about a 45-minute drive from the Sydney CBD to the station, and there’s plenty of parking at Mount Ku-ring-gai or Berowra Stations.

However, I recommend taking public transport if you can – it’s more environmentally friendly, takes about the same amount of time, and is a great way to relax into your latest book or podcast and gaze at the beautiful scenery out the window.

The trailhead at Mount Ku-ring-gai is a short walk from the station, just off Glenview Road. The trailhead at Berowra Station begins at the intersection between Berowra Waters Road and Crowley Road.

The trail is one way, so once you’re done you can catch the train straight back to Sydney, or ride one train stop to get back to your car.

Skill Level


Lyrebird Gully Circuit is a Grade 5 hike, with several steep climbs and creek crossings, so be ready for a bit of rock scrambling! Sometimes when the water levels are high the creek crossings can be more difficult – but it’s usually very straightforward.

It’s relatively achievable as a half-day hike and a great way to start building your fitness for longer hikes.


Grippy shoes = essential

Distance / Duration / Elevation

9km (plus an extra 1km detour to Naa Badu Lookout) / 3.5-4 hours / 550m

Essential Gear for Lyrebird Gully Circuit

  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Plenty of water (1.5-2L)
  • Shoes with grip (you can get away with runners, but proper hiking boots are better)
  • Snacks or lunch
  • Long pants to avoid leeches and scratches on trail

What’s it Like to Hike Lyrebird Gully Circuit?

Lyrebird Gully is a very pretty, understated hike. It’s not like some of the extraordinary and showy coastal scenery you might see elsewhere in Sydney, but there’s a reason it’s my favourite track in this national park.


Gotta love those moments when a trail unexpectedly opens up: ‘Hello sunshine!’


The trail is so quiet that it provides a wonderful opportunity to spot wildlife. One morning I went and didn’t see a single other hiker!

As you can probably guess from the name, you can spot Lyrebirds on the trail (I have before). I’ve also seen echidnas, a variety of small bird species – like honeyeaters, Silvereyes, red robins – and water dragons.

If you’re very lucky, you can also spot the beautiful red Waratahs in peak season (September – October).

As soon as you enter the trailhead and start your descent, the noise of the Pacific Highway falls away, and you’re immersed in delicate Australian bushland. The unique scents, shapes of the leaves, colours of the wildflowers, and singing of the birds brings you out of the fast pace of city life and into a peaceful hideaway.


Juicy reflections if you time it right


The hike descends to the forest floor, where you’ll follow Calna Creek past modest falls, mossy rocks, and sandstone overhangs. As the creek widens, the trees clear, opening up into Calna Creek Campsite.

One of the most unique parts of the hike is when it opens up onto a grassy saltmarsh, which you cross on a boardwalk. You’ll then pass tranquil mangroves and begin the climb up towards Berowra.


It’s amazing that all of this is only an hour from Sydney


It’s very important in your ascent that you don’t miss the turn-off towards the end of the hike to Berowra Waters, which will take you to the spectacular Naa Badu Lookout. ‘Naa Badu’ means ‘see water’ in the language of the Darug people and shows off the point of confluence between Calna Creek and Berowra Creek.

Once you reach the lookout and spend a quiet moment enjoying the view, it’s time to head back towards Berowra Station. Spot some more wildflowers and beautiful sweeping views on your way out, ready to re-enter suburbia.

Read more: Where to Find Wildflowers Near Sydney

Tips for Hiking Lyrebird Gully Circuit

  • Start the trail in the morning, around 8am or 9am. That way, you end up finishing around lunchtime and can stop by Wise Monkey Café in Berowra, a great place to relax and celebrate the day’s achievement with some delicious food and coffee. The kitchen closes at 1:30pm – so start early to make it in time!
  • It’s a fabulous trail to hike all year round, but particularly in winter to enjoy the cool weather, and spring for wildflower season. In my opinion, the best time to go is September or October to spot the beautiful red Waratahs. Happy hiking!


‘We’re off to see the Wizard…!’

FAQs Lyrebird Gully Circuit

How long does it take to hike the Lyrebird Gully Circuit?

It takes approximately 3.5 – 4 hours to complete the Lyrebird Gully Circuit.

How hard is the Lyrebird Gully Circuit?

The Lyrebird Gully Circuit is a Grade 5 hike involving steep climbs, river crossings, and some rock scrambling.

Where can I go for more information on the Lyrebird Gully Circuit?

For the most up to date information on this circuit walk, visit the NSW National Parks website.

How much does it cost to do the Lyrebird Gully Circuit?

It’s free to complete the Lyrebird Gully Circuit. Yay!

What hikes are similar to the Lyrebird Gully Circuit?

If you’re up for a longer walk you could give one of these day hikes along the Great North Walk a go. Or consider taking on the full 250km!