Escape the concrete jungle of Sydney and go for a nature walk at Willoughby’s Flat Rock Gully. Less than 10 kilometres from the inner cities, this bush track is accessible by bus, car, bike or foot.

The Flat Rock Gully in Willoughby covers 10 hectares of land but the walking trail covers four kilometres of rugged bush track. The walk itself might be short for some outdoor enthusiasts but there are sections with steep and wet terrains that could be challenging for others.

Most people begin their Flat Rock Gully walking track at the Willoughby Leisure Centre at Flat Rock Drive. Walk a few meters down this road and you’ll get a glimpse of the Flat Rock Creek’s waterfall that flows under the Long Gully Bridge, also known as the Suspension Bridge.

Photo Credit: Sydney Bushwalking Dogs/Facebook

Built in 1892 to help with the residential developments of the suburbs Northbridge, Cammeray, and Willoughby, this bridge has distinctive and grand sandstone turreted towers. Succeeding constructions and reinforcements to the structure were completed in 1939.

As a historical landmark and a tourist attraction, the Long Gully Bridge became a heritage structure in 2003.

Photo Credit: Martin7d2/Flickr
Photo Credit: Australian National Maritime Museum

Take note, however, that if the rain is particularly strong, you might not be able to pass the bush tracks by the creek since it could be flooded or slippery. Instead, stay on the footpath or bike path that will take you towards Tunks Park and playground, which marks the end of your walk.  

But if you’re visiting the Flat Rock Gully walking track on a fine day, you may take a short side-track and find some notable historical points of interests as well, such as:

  • Fatty Dawson’s Ruins – This is the former residence of a pig farmer named Mr Fatty Dawson from the 1860s. Parts of his house and garden are still accessible through the bush track although most of it is now covered by the sandstone walls that around the area.  
  • Privet Forest – This is the home to many species of birds that are protected by the government. Hence, if you’re going through this bush track with a dog, it’s important to have your pet leashed and well-behaved so as not to disturb the wildlife.
Photo Credit: Yf. J/FourSquare

However, take care and mind the side tracks you follow to prevent soil erosion and avoid disturbing the wildflowers and plants in the area. Visitors of the Flat Rock Gully walking track are also encouraged to clean up after themselves and their pets to keep rubbish off the reserves.

For questions about this bush trail, you may also verify and call the Open Space Branch of the Willougby City Council at  9777 7755.