Bushwalking. Rambling. Tramping. Whatever you call it, it’s one of my favourite things.
A day filled with new forms, terrain, the colours, the smells. A waking, walking, day long dream. But a dream with snacks, sweat, new discoveries, and the occasional blister.
But here’s the thing. I’ve found fitting rambling and motherhood together a fairly large challenge, since Ashar got too big to carry on my back.
Darn him and his healthy little growing body. Lucky he’s got plenty of energy to go with all this sprouting.
Despite his formidable energy, saying “hey do you want to go on an 12km walk with cliffs and gullies and a great view in the middle?” Doesn’t really cut it with my 5 year old.
He’s just not interested in ‘views’ yet, I guess. Take him to a lookout and you’ll get a grand total of 2 seconds gazing before asking where we’re off to next, and are there any seaweed crackers left.
Or maybe it’s the 12km factor. I suppose that is a bit far for a little person.
Time for a bit more strategy to make this work. I am not giving up bushwalks. Neither for myself, nor for him.
Because a day spent walking in nature is a day of small, beautiful brain explosions – and until/unless my kid voices a definite opinion that bushwalks are absolutely and completely not his thing, we’re going to keep walking.
That said, obviously a day where everyone has a great time is the best sort of day. So I’ve been searching for walks nearby that I rekon everyone will be excited about doing.
Short walks. With something amazing in the middle.
Prime contender: Barren Grounds – a hanging swamp on the Illawarra Escarpment, just at the top of Jamberoo Mountain.
A 4km walk should do for starters, I think.
And so we were off on the walk to the ‘natural stone bridge’ – a place where the creek has burrowed its way through and under a limestone outcrop.
This place is a small patch of gorgeousness.
Along the way we talked about the evolution of Gondwanaland, and banksias, and hanging swamps.
We saw frogspawn, and sundews – which led to the inevitable ‘carnivorous plants of the world and could one dissolve your finger if you left it there long enough’ discussion.
We rambled, got wet feet, found echidna spines, saw the largest ant in the world, and ate seaweed crackers. We played stick boats in the stream, near the natural bridge.
And then we walked back, got caught in a shower, and saw lightning strike on the horizon. The frogs started calling in the puddles all around.
And we drove home wet, happy, and ready for a hot meal.
We poked our collection of echidna spines around on the table. And went to bed and dreamed of banksia leaf patterns and the gurgling creek in the rocks.
Brains swept clean, washed by the rain, un-digitalised and re-set. Ready for the week ahead.
Got any excellent kid-friendly bushwalk/rambling/tramping trails to share? We’d love to know about them – thanks in advance…
Wow- I want to come bush walking with you guys! My mum used to make bush walking like that. Her BSc Dip Ed plus her verve made the natural world come alive. Reading this post gave me flashbacks. Maybe when my two girls are a bit older we can walk to a place that has things that may or may not dissolve our fingers. Something to look forward to. Thanks.
What’s a slightly dissolved finger between friends, eh?
The walk at the base of Macquarie Pass is sweet. The one of the north side has a simple track parrellel to the creek that leads to a small waterfall. It’s lush verdant rainforest, a wonderland compared to the clear paddocks of Albion Park. I don’t know if Asher would be up for the walk on the south side of Macquarie Pass. It’s a bit sketchy (more frightening for my Mum than a lithe 5 year old), with steep bits but it leads to the most stunning jump-rock, with a fun natural waterslide, and a full-on 5m-high rock to jump… Read more »
Aaarg I remember that one from my teen years! Such a good spot. Thanks for the reminder cath!
Bomaderry Creek makes for a good family walk too. Can be 2-6km depending on where you cross the gorge. Some lovely rock over hands and a variety of scrambles and stands of trees, water to paddle in and can take a dog on a leash with you too! Right at the second round about when heading south through Bomaderry on the highway… There’s a lovely BBQ/picnic ground too.
Looks like you & Ashar had a great time. I look forward to more posts on your walks.
Good stuff, keep walking, it’s the greatest gift and a fine ‘class room’ for Ashar. You are setting him up to grow into a fine, inquisitive, well informed adult. Thanks for sharing those photos and your thoughts. Happy wet feet!
I like the Drawing Room rocks bushwalk, which is also in the Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. It is slightly over 4 km (return) and leads to a strange formation of rocks, which look like a cluster of small tables.
Thanks! Will try that one out
Hannah, Silas and I used to get so grumpy with my parents for dragging us on bushwalks as children, but now it’s one of our favourite activities! I got forced to walk the 6-Foot track (three night walk) as an 8 year-old!
The Hard-core Horselyes! What a great bunch 🙂
I’m no help with suggestions for walks near you, just a few in Victoria. But, I recall a walk club rule-of-thumb from years ago…one km per year of age (5-12),easy/med grade, with day-pack. Seemed to be about right for my own children and school groups. Adding a friend or two as well can make the day even better!
Good to know, thanks 🙂
I totally agree, as a mum of a 4 and 3 year old I miss the carry on the back and even the push along stage for being able to get out in the wild. Remembering to walk at a very slow pace seems to be key and of course they and you notice all sorts of interesting things that you might miss if you tramp a bit quicker. I got out for a night in a hut recently and can’t wait for family adventures! Your photos are beautiful.