Yarramundi Reserve really is an explorer’s paradise. Hidden away on the banks of the river, this is where the Hawkesbury becomes the Nepean, and meets the Grose River, resulting in one of the best places for small nature lovers to explore.
Yarramundi has a little something for everyone. In the summer, it’s the place to go for a cooling swim in the shallow, gently flowing parts of the river. In winter, it’s the place to find the smoothest of river-smoothed stones, perfect for skipping on the surface of the water.
There’s an abundance of wildlife to see, from water fowl to bugs of every size and shape. It’s dog-friendly too, which means you can take your canine friends for a run along the shore or a forage in the forest.
One of the best things about Yarramundi is its versatility. You can swim, fish, walk, climb, kayak and canoe, build sandcastles, kick a ball around or play some cricket, bird watch, have a picnic or even, in the cooler months, build a small fire and cook your own damper.
The girls love to have a paddle in the water when the weather is warm. They sit and build sandcastles, splash and run about, while I annoy them with my camera and Dave casts a line out. When the weather is cooler we love to wander along the river and the exposed river bed, skip stones, feed the ducks on the northern side, look for bugs in the bush, and run in the open green spaces.
Yarramundi Reserve has plenty of parking, as well as some picnic benches and public toilets for convenience. Mind you, put down the lid though!
Because of its location, and low-lying nature, this section of the river is prone to flooding, so it’s probably not a good idea to plan a visit if it’s been raining for a few days. There’s usually fair warning when the river starts to rise, and you can easily find out the current situation by following any of the Hawkesbury area pages (such as the Hawkesbury Gazette) on Facebook.
I’ve been visiting Yarramundi Reserve for close to 10 years, with and without kids, and the way it has changed in that time due to floods and other changes in the river flow is truly incredible to see. Even from month to month when it’s dry, the water shapes the landscape, uncovering new things to see, exposing beds of river-smoothed stones, reclaiming sandy shores and prickly brush.
Visiting a month or so after a flood is a must if your children are skeptical about the incredible power that water has to shape our land. Seeing weeds dangling from the branches ten feet in the air, or standing on a spot that was once covered in water and is now dry, or knowing that the place you sat and built sandcastles just three months earlier is now unreachable and covered in water is truly mind-boggling. To know that you’re standing in a place that was once covered in deep, rushing water: it’s awe-inspiring.
It’s the perfect place to collect stones for painting or small rock gardens. The variety of trees means there are plenty of different types of leaves to collect, to take home and use in any number of cool craft projects.
But most of all, we love it because it’s a place to wander, run and relax. There is no play equipment, so no fighting over swings or asking to be pushed. We get to spend time together as a family, and appreciate the amazing nature of the beautiful world around us.
Getting there: Yarramundi Reserve is off Springwood Road, Yarramundi, in the Hawkesbury region, north-west of Sydney.