EXPLORE // Griffith Trail Loop
Views, Wildflowers and a Water Feature
COVID UPDATE: The Griffith Loop Walk is open. You can picnic or rest and eat along the walk as long as social distancing rules are followed - no more than 10 people gathered together and keep a distance of 1.5 metres from each other.
Down the hill from the town of Robertson, the Griffith Trail Loop Walk is a family friendly walk perfect for bushwalkers who like hitting the trails for a couple of hours at a time. There are some steep inclines and descents but nothing too tricky. It will just get your heart rate going!
We loved that there were points of interest at perfectly timed intervals along the walk that gave us little goals and kept the kids interested.
While technically, it’s not in the Highlands….we’ll adopt it as our own because it’s just over the shire boundary and well, we like it!
Family Friendly :: Suited to primary school aged kids and up who are used to longer walks.
Easily Accessible :: Drive north through the village of Roberston then turn right onto Jamberoo Mountain Road. After about 15 - 20 minutes of driving, take the turn off into the Barren Grounds Nature Reserve Picnic Grounds and follow the dirt track about a kilometre to get to a car park. The track starts at the car park and is one of a number of tracks that start from there too.
Dog Friendly :: No puppers soz!
Stairs :: Not that many but a number of steep inclines and descents.
Length :: 8km
Time :: The official walk info says 3 – 3.5 hours but we did it in less than 2 with a couple of quick stops (no more than 5 minutes) along the way.
The best thing about a loop trail? You can choose which end you’re going to start! We took the path popularly travelled and began the loop nearest the information board.
First stop? Illawarra Lookout.
You do have to turn left off the main trail to head to the lookout but signage is good so you can’t miss the turnoff.
And you don’t have to walk long at all to be rewarded with pretty spectacular views across Jamberoo towards the coast. It was an easy and flat 1k walk to the lookout. We weren’t even thirsty by then, so stopped for a couple of minutes to take some pics, head back to the main loop trail and kept moving along our way.
ILLAWARRA LOOKOUT TO SADDLEBACK TRIG
The next part of the walk is a pretty one! We did the bushwalk in spring so were rewarded with lots of gorgeous wildflowers along the way. This section also throws up some gorgeous views through the trees to the left.
The track is wide and a bit rocky in parts but you can keep a good pace as you walk through a number of different biomes – there’s a rainforest feel at one point before the wildflowers appear and as we got closer to Saddleback Trig (the next stop), the landscape became scrubby again.
It took us about 30 minutes to walk to Saddleback Trig. There is a viewing platform where you can see for miles up and down the coast. Or turn around and look back over the bush towards the Highlands.
There is a also a picnic table which we shared with another family. Mum had a toddler on her back – go Mum! And Dad told us that a couple they had passed coming the other way had let them know they’d seen a copperhead sunning itself on the trail between Saddleback Trig and the Natural Stone Bridge.
SADDLEBACK TRIG TO THE NATURAL STONE BRIDGE
But we’re hardy Highlanders and very used to seeing wriggly sticks, so off we trotted on our way to the next stop – the Natural Stone Bridge.
Plus, the decibel level of our three kids would give a jet engine and a heavy metal concert a run for its money, so we were pretty sure the snake would hear us coming and run for the hills!
This part of the track is very rocky. I spent most of my time concentrating on not rolling an ankle. If you’ve got hiking boots, I suggest you wear them on this walk just to give your ankles a bit more support.
The first part was quite sparse so open to the elements but about halfway to the bridge, the landscape closed in again and we were shaded from the warm sun.
Something else to remember is that we did the walk not long after the area had about 4 or 5 days of rain so parts of the trail were muddy and a bit slippery, so could be leech territory after prolonged wet weather.
THE NATURAL STONE BRIDGE
Another lovely spot to have a drinks break, it took us just over half an hour to walk from Saddleback Trig to the Natural Stone Bridge.
This is a wide creek crossing made easier by perfectly placed and beautiful big rocks (thanks Mother Nature!). Of course, I had to climb up higher on the rocks to get a better angle for taking pics and promptly slipped and fell on my hands and kness.
And Mr 9 also decided not to use the perfectly placed rocks to cross the creek but step into the water up to his knees (then spent the remaining part of the bushwalk complaining about wet socks and shoes - sigh).
NATURAL STONE BRIDGE TO THE CAR PARK
Apart from the steep and loooong ascent from the Natural Stone Bridge back up the hill, this was my favourite part of the walk – probably because it was the flattest and least rockiest. By now, we were heading towards the end of the loop so views across the wildflowers to the left of the track were across to the Highlands, which made for a gorgeous vista or two…..
We got back to the car park in the time of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It was such a great way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. For the more hardcore bushwalkers amongst, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve has plenty of other much longer tracks to tackle - we've got the 19km Kangaroo Ridge walk in our sights - an adults only adventure, me thinks. Although after our last bushwalk challenge (click here to read about the chaos of our of Box Vale to Lake Alexandra walk!), we might get a few smaller trails under our belt first!