I have lived in Sydney for over 7 years on this stint, and at least 15 in total throughout my life. Not once had I ever heard of Fairyland.
When I first thought of this travel blog, a childhood poem came to mind:
When I looked at nearby bush walks for the family, I came across The Fairylands Loop Track and instantly wanted to know more.
It’s a fairly easy walk with kids (we carried 2yo Z most of the way), over 5km and about 3hrs long with kids.
It starts at Fullers Bridge, near the beginning of the Great North Walk. Follow Fullers Road away from Chatswood and take the first left after the bridge. You can park on the side of the road for free, compared with $8 across the road in the Lane Cove National Park.
The first half of the walk shares with the Great North Walk, so there are plenty of markers to guide you along.
The Fairylands Pleasure Grounds were privately owned by the Swan Family back in 1905. They started off farming watermelons and strawberries, adding markets and a tea house at the suggestion of a few family members. The area became so popular with parties, the family cleared the land for picnics, adding a Dance Hall and a jetty.
It does not look like that anymore. The grounds closed in the 1970s and later became part of the Lane Cove Park.
The kids had a lot of fun on this walk. It’s maintained well enough for them to follow easily but with a bushy-feel so they feel like it’s an adventure.
There are some beautiful places to stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. And even with the vegetation reclaiming the land, you can still feel the magical appeal of the area.
Keep an eye out for wildlife – we heard lots of scurrying around us, catching the merest glimpse of lizards and birds. There were plenty of flowers to admire, and scorch marks on trees prompted an interesting discussion on bushfires and lightning strikes.
After you pass through Fairylands, follow the path downwards and along the river. A couple of times the path would split; stick to the left and follow the river. This will take you all the way to Epping Road and a fair-size bridge.
Go under the bridge ( the pedestrian path is on the other side), walk across, and take the first set of stairs on your right – back under the bridge again. From here the markers will take you out on the Great North Walk across a second bridge, so make sure you follow the stairs to loop back to your car.
This second passing under the bridge shows off some fantastic artwork.
If you do stop for lunch, stick to the water edge – there are some lovely bench seats to enjoy the view.
To be honest, we all handled it fine. Even with B carrying Z in one hand. Unless you have a severe impediment, I would suggest staying by the river for the walk. It is far more enjoyable than Mowbray Road.
The appeal of this walk was the proximity to home. And while I was specifically looking for a walk to entertain the kids, I was pleasantly surprised to learn something new about the area as well.
I kind of wish I had seen Fairyland in its heydey, but I can settle for the natural adventure park it has become.