There is nothing like the feeling you get when you have been and explored somewhere new.
We ventured off the well worn track on the Great North Walk (GNW) to Taffy’s Rock.
I have passed this turn off so many times on this part of the trail from Cowan and Brooklyn and never knew such an exquisite trail existed.
We started the trek at 7am on a winter’s day in the fog that soon turned into the most gorgeous sunny, brilliant blue sky day.
The walk starts at Cowan Station and crosses the old tracks of the siding and then alongside the old tracks to the Great North walk signs, turning right and crossing over the freeway at the pedestrian overpass. This turns into a bush track that leads steadily down into a shady rainforest gully. The track crosses the gully and then descends more slowly, as the creek drops away quickly below. The track widens as you approach the tidal inlet, and circles around to Jerusalem Bay, which has the most gorgeous view out to crystal clear waters.
Continue around the bay into the next gully until you can cross over the creek on boulders. From here it is a steep climb up to the top of the hill. There is a seat about a third of the way up, just past the steepest section, and another one only 60m before the turnoff to Taffys Rock.
A short way past the top seat, turn right onto a bush track, just behind a national park sign. This is a fairly obvious but unmarked track. At the end of the first knoll that you cross is a small lookout with views of Cowan Creek. A further 10 minutes brings you to the first of two abandoned trig stations that can be found along the ridge. This first one is Cole Trig. Both of the trigs are impressive rock constructions, around 2m high.
(TRIG - A triangulation station, also known as a triangulation pillar, trigonometrical station, trigonometrical point, trig station, trig beacon, or trig point, and sometimes informally as a trig, is a fixed surveying station, used in geodetic surveying and other surveying projects in its vicinity.)
There is a decent descent and ascent to get to the next knoll on the ridge. This is a large rounded sandstone dome with impressive tessellations. It is referred to as Mackerel Rock. There is a rock outcrop on top which is worth climbing as you can see across the various branches of Taffys Gully to Taffys Rock.
From here the track gets a bit rougher and more overgrown but is still fairly straightforward to follow. It is a short walk to the next trig station, Edwards Trig, and then a couple more ups and downs before the track swings around to the north and up to Taffys Rock. Taffys Rock is a very large sandstone outcrop with great views in all directions from the various sides.
Taffys Rock is named after Dorothy "Taffy" Townson who died in Tasmania after being bitten by a snake. A memorial plaque can be found on the easternmost face of the rock about 60m north east from where you first climb on to it. It took us a bit of time to find the plaque as it is not obvious but hidden on the side of a rock.
We stopped for morning tea in the glorious sunshine with the most stunning views out to Brooklyn, Dangar Island and Wobby beach.
This trek is out and back and worth every up and down and scramble and took us about 6 hours including our break and many photo stops.
It’s been a secret to me and now happy that we have been able to have done it and on such an incredible winter’s day.