If you were asked to say whatever came into your head when somebody said, "Sydney, Australia" to you, chances are you'd come up with such words as Opera House, Sydney Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks and such. You'd probably not immediately say, "Mangrove swamps". In Queensland and all along the northern coastline are major regions with mangrove swamps yet within a short distance from suburbia, Sydney has its own supply as well. That's right, Sydney Australia. And to make it easy for tourists to get up close and personal, there are even boardwalks through these mangroves making your excursion simple and highly worthwhile.
Many major cities have a nearby area where the hard-working city folk can kick back and relax. New Yorkers might slip off to Long Island and Londoners to the Cotswolds. Many Sydneysiders and certainly many tourists to Sydney choose the Hawkesbury as a nearby place to escape the city traffic and smog. The Hawkesbury River flows beside National Parks and has quaint settlements here and there. You can navigate the Hawkesbury for some 100 kilometres and the scenery changes around every bend. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to this region from Sydney and a few minutes more by train. The rail journey is stunning in parts and you'll have no parking problems.
The Ku Ring Gui National Park borders the river and this is one place where the local mangroves come into the picture. You can inspect in safety and from a ringside seat. The pathways are so well designed and built that wheelchairs and prams or push chairs are regularly seen taking in the views. Brooklyn Park within the National Park has a special walk with lookout points and access above the water which takes you deep into mangrove territory. There are just so many natural attractions.
- The tiny crabs scuttle around looking for food at low tide
- The tiny crabs scuttle back to their holes as the tide comes in
- Indigenous Australians dined on oysters here for thousands of years
- The lookout offers glimpses of today's oyster catchers
- Marvellous insect life such as dragonflies
- Wonderful bird life including the Glossy Black Cockatoo
- The mangrove trees themselves with their roots poking up to the sky
Not only is it close to Sydney and easy to get to, the mangrove swamps in Brooklyn Park have lots of add-ons for visitors. There are barbeque spots and grassy playground areas. The nearby village of Brooklyn offers all sorts of treats.
It's a great day out for all the family but can become alittle more involved and a lot more exciting if you take the plunge. Hiring a boat and noodling along the Hawkesbury River means you'll see all sorts of sights from the water. You could sleep on board and wake to the majestic sounds of kookas and all manner of birds. Pull in to a waterside eatery, throw a line in and catch your supper and have the time of your life. And all this within an easy drive or train trip from central Sydney.