Girrakool - Piles Creek Loop

In an autumn afternoon that felt more like a summer one, I arrived at Girrakool with a mate. Girrakool is about 7 kilometres west of Gosford and located within the Brisbane Water National Park. Girrakool means "place of still waters" in Aboriginal. With lots of water, food and shelter I could imagine it being a spiritual place for the aboriginals. Although I didn't see them this time, not far from the entry to the park there is an engraving of Man and a Kangaroo.

It is also important place for me. As a child we had many picnics here with my family and relatives. So even though I hadn't been here for a long while, the memories came flooding back. No picnic was ever complete here without venturing into the bush. So this is one reason I have a love for the Aussie bush.

Soon after chatting to a park ranger and passing a picnic area we headed down the hill and arrived at Broula lookout, which means place of tricking water. It overlooks Piles creek. Upstream is place of the tragic accident that occurred in the floods of June 2007.

Just a bit further down the hill we arrived at the Illoura Lookout,  meaning peaceful place, which is it. There is a waterfall to the left and below the creek with its clear water flowing over sandstone. Soon after we crossed Leask Creek, further upstream is dammed, it makes the artificial cove that is a replication of Sydney Cove at Old Sydney Town. Not long again, another lookout, this one is called Bundilla. Here there a good view of the waterfall.

Piles Creek follows the track to the left and the hill on the right rises and blocks the sound of the F3 freeway above. The track gently falls and meets the creek then rises again meeting large caves. The track is quite wet in places with water slowly dripping onto it from above. This side of the track receives a lot less sunlight compared to that of the eastern side. There are a few small pockets of rain forest along the track. There then is a another cave to peruse.

The track then comes to a steep decline, with a handrail that is broken in places. At the bottom of this hill the track comes to an intersection. Off to the right the track goes to Mooney Mooney Creek and beyond. To the left is Piles Creek and the remains of a old walk bridge which I remember as a child. Just right of it is the nice new suspension bridge. It isn't likely to get washed away in hurry like the last few did.

This was about the halfway point of the walk of this 4.1 Kilometre walk. We then headed up hill passing the turn off for the track that goes to Patonga and Wondabyne. Soon crossing a gully called Rat Gully, thankfully we see no rats in this rainforest gully. I remember thirstily collecting water from this creek when in Scouts. This time it was quite dry. After heading further up the hill we came to a large boulder with a cave with honeycomb like sandstone and rocky cut-out in it.

Soon there is a lookout high over Piles Creeks with views below and across to hills to be climb another day. The track then passes the unmarked track that goes to Scout Camp Kariong. It then goes through a large rock overhang. We then arrived on rocky outcrop that was above the waterfall previously mentioned. Crossing concrete steeping stones over Piles Creek we then pass Illoura Lookout again and walk back up the hill to the car. 

Walk date 23/4/10


  1. I remember going there on school excursions. It was always hot and sticky. But beautiful scenary.

  2. This is a great walk! Quite varied from ridge to valley and the bonus of a nice swimming hole at the end!


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