Berry Island Reserve – Gadyan Track

Aboriginal engravings on Sydney Harbour

Berry Island is one of my favourite secret Sydney spots. Located just 2km west of Circular Quay, this tiny island is one of the best examples of what the land around Sydney Harbour would have looked like when the British arrived. The Gadyan Bush Track is a short bushwalk that offers some insight into the lives of the Cammeraigal people who lived here in the 19th century.

The “track” is an easy 750m loop walk that takes about 20 minutes to complete. Dotted along the way are signs highlighting the Aboriginal significance of the area and explaining the way the land was used by the original inhabitants. It’s a great way to ease into your New Year’s resolution of more exercise and a lovely spot for a picnic.

Gadyan Walking track at Berry Island Reserve Sydney

Artefacts found in this area suggest it was a popular campsite for local indigenous tribes because it provided plentiful hunting and fishing opportunities. As you stroll, keep your eyes out for Aboriginal engravings including a carving of a sea creature. There are also remnants of several middens and many markings on the rocks where tools were sharpened.

Gadyan Bush Track Berry Island signage

It’s worth taking the time to read the informative signs detailing the local Aboriginal history and Dreamtime stories to learn more about their culture.

Berry Island Reserve Sydney

Berry Island Today

In the early 1900s, enterprising locals decided to join the island to the mainland by building a stone causeway to provide easier access. In the 1960s the local council filled in the muddy ground to give us the lovely flat park we see today.

Our dog Molly at Berry Island Sydney

We discovered this little piece of paradise when we were looking for a new place to explore with our dog, Molly.  Sadly there are very few dog-friendly walks along the harbour.  Berry Island is also a great picnic spot for families with a fantastic play area for kids.

Where: Shirley Road, Wollstonecraft. – It’s an easy train ride from the city and only a 10-minute walk down from the station making it a perfect bushwalk for visitors to Sydney.

How to get there: Take the train from Wynyard to Wollstonecraft station.  Walk south towards Shirley Road, walk 100m turn right onto Shirley Rd to walk
650m to the reserve.

Do you have a secret Sydney spot you would like to share? 

11 Comments

  1. What an interesting, quick hike this must have been. The engravings would be so cool to see in person. I love these types of hikes where you can get some quality exercise but also enjoy some stunning scenery and learn a thing or two.

  2. Sigh… I wasn’t able to make it to Sydney when we visited Australia. However, we did go to the outback and do mission work with a local aboriginal population. I loved looking at all of the traditional artwork and listening to a man play the didgeridoo! A favorite memory for sure. I’d gladly check out Berry Island on our next visit. 🙂

  3. Looks like a lovely day! I love going hiking and this seems like it was a hike well done! Glad you enjoyed the trip.

  4. That’s a really nice and scenic hiking trail. We love rough trails like these as they do not hurt our feet through our hiking shoes, unlike cemented or cobblestone paths. This is a great trail for exercising and filling your mind with cultural/historical knowledge.

  5. I never would have though about visiting Berry Island while visiting Sydney, but from your experience I see how beautiful it is. We love hiking and we also enjoy reading and historical facts along the trail. I think we would enjoy this. Thank you.

  6. Never heard of Berry Island before, looks like an interesting spot to explore. The Aboriginal history would be very interesting to learn about, would love to visit some day 🙂

  7. Looks like a nice little hike! 🙂 and how cool thar there are such quick little getaways from Sydney to escape the city hustle.

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