Adventure Day: Crosslands Walk

I’ve gotten out of the habit of thinking to blog about our Adventure Days. We still have them and we’re planning a lot more. We recently went on a bush walk at Crosslands in Hornsby. This small walk is part of a much larger walk called The Great North Walk which is a 250km walk connecting Sydney to Newcastle. One day we’d love to walk the whole thing but for now, micro-adventures like this one are more our style.

Crosslands is located at the end of Sommerville Road in Hornsby Heights. To get to the start of this walk you need to travel down quite a windy road and then park at the far north end of the carpark. It’s free parking (and entry) with gates opening at sunrise and setting at sunset (there’s a call out fee if you’re locked in so make sure you’re on time!). You can even camp overnight at the reserve but there is a fee involved for this and for more information you can check out Hornsby Council’s website.

At 2km it was our longest Bushwalk, however, as the kids walked the whole way I think I’ll actually take that as a matter of pride. I left the walk thinking that there’s a good business opportunity for someone to teach parents how to bush walk with their kids. I felt I was a bit out of my depth with the “don’t touch that tree – see the spiders” and “let’s not put our fingers down the holes we see, little things live in there that might bite you” and knowing when to let them scramble over rocks and when not to… On the whole I want to be a stand off parent and let the kids adventure/find their limits, however, I also think there’s a responsibility to know how to educate properly and be prepared for what might happen. I’ll be brushing up on my knowledge in these areas before my next walk.
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Pregnancy Rating:
 5 – Until we turned around (we walked up until the track got a little less toddler friendly and then turned around) it was a lovely walk with very little incline
. You could push a pram along the first kilometre or so and getting out in nature like this and the ability to sit by the water is lovely.

Toddler Rating: 4 – Adventure Girl and Dash both really enjoyed their outing and felt a great deal of pride in being able to do it. The walk does go along water though and, as it’s a bush walk there are hazards and creepy crawlies… this is why it got a 4
not a 5.

Older Kid Rating: 5 – You can hike for as long as you want and afterwards even go for a swim!

Thank God it’s Friday Adventures: #1 Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden

For some time now, Adventure Girl and I have been celebrating the end of the week by going somewhere new, having lunch and an explore. While we’ve been to the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden before for an hour’s walk around the paved loop track, I really wasn’t up for pushing her pram up the quite steep hills (come to think of it, I wasn’t up for it the first time either!). We decided instead to check out the playground we passed on our walk the time before and had a wonderful time looking at the swamp wallaby (and her joey) along with enjoying the outdoors.

The Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens are located on Mona Vale road, quite close to St Ives. There’s ample parking 3 minutes walk from the playground marked as Lambert’s Clearing Picnic Area. There’s bathroom and BBQ facilities along with a covered seating area that can be booked for parties.

Ku-ring-gai Wildflower GardenPregnancy Rating: 3.5 – The play area isn’t enclosed so there is the possibility for needing to run after children, but there’s also plenty to children entertained and tables to sit at. The walk from the car park isn’t too strenuous and can easily be accomplished while pushing a pram.

*warning: please be aware that the loop track (taking about an hour) is considered wheelchair friendly and is marked easy. When I did this in the early stages of pregnancy I was exhausted by the steep bits and did find the walk much harder than anticipated. It was doable but only just.

Toddler Rating: 3.5 – Adventure Girl rather enjoyed her outing but the bark chip playground was used a bit like a sandpit (sigh) and the play equipment soon got crowded with bigger kids. There is quite a lot to explore though and given a carer with more energy she could have stayed much longer.

Older Kid Rating: 5 – The bike paths are great, along with quite a lot to explore and enjoy.

Adventure Day #1 Jenolan Caves, NSW

When Mr Incredible suggested Jenolan Caves for our anniversary I was skeptical… 6 months pregnant and a toddler in tow, how would we cope and would it be worth it? Are the caves really that good? Speaking of the caves, there’s more than one! Which one do we choose??

Pre-kids, Mr Incredible and I explored the caves at Waitomo, NZ and did the Black Abyss tour with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. http://www.waitomo.com/caving-adventure.aspx . This was incredible and we have very fond memories of the time. It was filled with fun that my pregnant body now couldn’t cope with and loads of beautiful glow worms. It was against this high standard that I’d been holding any caving trip, and one that we’d only walk through with a tour group better be really beautiful if it was going to compare at all. Thankfully, I was really blown away by the Jenolan Cave we visited – yes, we only walked through but the decorations of the cave were incredible and it was very well conducted.

A few tips:

  1. We used The Jenolan Caves Guide (http://members.optusnet.com.au/rawhyte/) to help us choose which cave was best for us. We wanted a cave with a low number of people in the group, not too strenuous but also really beautiful. In the end we chose the Orient cave and were not disappointed. The guide gives you a description of each cave and also has the tour numbers.
  2. Take a baby carrier, not a hiking backpack. We rocked up to the ticket office with Adventure Girl in her hiking backpack and were informed that she wouldn’t fit through some of the cave areas! Thankfully we had the Ergobaby in the car and we used this instead.
  3. Pre-book! The tours fill up fast.

Little one rating: 2/5 – it was doable with a toddler, but not an activity for a toddler. There was one point in the tour where the lights went completely out and she got very scared. We carried her the entire time and there was also one element of our tour that we couldn’t take her into, so I stayed with her while Mr Incredible went into the well. Let’s face it, at 14 months this adventure was more for us!

Pregnancy rating: 4.5 – While there was quite a lot of walking combined with ups and downs, there was also HEAPS of stopping. With this in mind it wasn’t as strenuous as I thought it would be and I finished the tour feeling refreshed and energised.

Adventure days!

After an incredible weekend away at the Jenolan Caves to celebrate three years of marriage, our family has decided that once a month we’ll have an “adventure day”. A day set aside to get outside and enjoy some activity, adventure and explore our surrounds as a family.

Our family consists of one very fit and healthy dad, a 14 month old who’s active and walking but quite limited still in what she can accomplish and me, a 30 something pregnant lady! With these things in mind, each “adventure day” will be classified by how suitable it is for little people (both Adventure Girl and her sibling when they arrive) and also for pregnant women.