Lane Cove National Park: Stunning and something for everyone!

Walking across the weir to the café and playground
Walking across the weir to the café and playground

This piece of paradise is perfect for a day out, right in our backyard! NSM Discoverer Kirsten Kane recently spent a Sunday afternoon exploring part of Lane Cove National Park and felt like she had a weekend away!

First of all, this park is huge! It’s 372-hectare huge. We weren’t sure where to start or even which park entrance to go in so we thought we’d head to the start of the Riverside Walk and entered via Delhi Road. Our kids – 8 and 10 years old – love to get outdoors but aren’t long distance walkers so for the sake of our sanity, we aimed to walk about 3km in total.

Walking across the weir to the café and playground

Café and playground

We spotted the Jenkins Hill Café across the Lane Cove Weir and headed there to get our caffeine fix. It’s a lovely relaxed cafe set amongst the greenery which also offers light meals, refreshments and snacks. Perfect if you didn’t pack a picnic or need a bribe later. And you’ll have happy children while you sip on your latte as the playground is right next to it.

This lovely shaded playground has a double slide, swings (including a baby one), a sandpit with activity toys in it and a crocodile and snake to practice balancing skills.

The café. Happy mummy!

Playground right next to the cafe

The crocodile and snake were the favourites

Kukundi Nature Trail and Flying Fox Enclosure

This was one of the kid’s favourite parts of the park. After reading some fun facts about flying foxes they got to see the cute creatures sleeping at the top of their cage. These orphaned baby flying foxes are in a mesh covered enclosure but you can still see them at the top. There’s also a great little walking trail and climbing equipment. We stopped here for a snack while the kids learnt about the native species.

Entrance to the Kukundi Nature Trail and flying foxes

The kids loved the climbing equipment

Watching the flying foxes in their enclosure

Riverside Walk

After checking out the Australian bass in the Fish Ladder, we walked along the boarded path and got to experience our first views of Lane Cove River. Instantly it felt like we were far away from the city. It’s simply stunning. The walk continues onto a dirt path and half a kilometre later, we reached The Boatshed. You can hire all sorts of boats here – rowboat, kayak, pedalboat or an aqua-trike. Cold drinks, chips and ice creams are also available to purchase. We continued on the path and we’re treated to even more tranquil views of the river. If you need a stop for the little ones, there are many large grassy areas and spots for a picnic.

This walk follows the southern bank of Lane Cover River and starts from the weir near Delhi Road. We walked about 1.5km into the walk then turned back. The whole walk is 5km one way and takes approximately 2-3 hours. The path to The Boatshed is relatively flat but from that point there’s a few rocky parts, many big tree roots to be careful of and a few sets of stairs.

Fish ladder – spot the fish

The boarded walkway at the start of the Riverside Walk

Onto the dirt track. So much greenery!

There’s many wood barbeques located around the park

Lots of grassy areas to have a picnic along the walk

The kids enjoyed it when the path got a bit more rustic

Just a few stairs

More beautiful views

The bend of the river – where we turned back

View from the weir

Spot the birds

They are everywhere so of course we had to count how many different kinds of birds we saw. Egrets, swamphens, ducks, kookaburras, lorikeets. We even had a bush turkey join us on some of the walk.

Swamphen at the weir

Bikes, scooters and kayaks

There’s a great area for your kids to ride their bike or scooter around near the weir and café and playground. Bikes are not permitted on walking tracks so if you’re after a dedicated bike track then the Pennant Hills to West Pymble fire trail is for you. Distance is 3km and should take about an hour. There are some steep sections so this would be for the much older kids. If you have a kayak then you need to come here.

Watching a kayaker at the weir

Other walks

  • Heritage Walk: 2.6km one way
  • Great North Walk: 20kms one way
  • Fiddens Wharf walking track: 3km loop

Essential Details

  • Address: Lady Game Drive, Chatswood West.  Please note that there are many park entry points and areas to park. I would suggest looking at the website before coming. We entered the Park from Delhi Rd and parked just near the entrance at the bottom of Riverside Drive. This was just a mere stroll to the start of Riverside Walk and to the café and playground.
  • Parking: $8 per vehicle per day. Or you may have a Multi-Park Pass (all parks in NSW except Kosciuszko $65 for 1 year) in which case you don’t need to pay.
  • Public transport: It’s accessible from North Ryde station and by bus from Chatswood station.
  • Hours: Lane Cove National Park Daylight Savings 9am to 7pm (until 6pm other times). Jenkins Hall Café Friday to Sunday 9:30am-5pm. Open on public holidays.
  • Nearby coffee: Jenkins Hill Café on site near the Delhi Rd entrance.
  • Toilets: There are heaps. If there’s a few picnic tables around, then there’s usually a toilet close by.
  • Picnic/BBQ: There’s so many picnic benches I lost count. They seem to be everywhere. There are a few gas barbeques around and many wood barbeques too. You can even hire out areas if you have a large gathering.
  • Pram Friendly: Around the weir, café and playground it is and the first part of the Riverside Walk. I saw a lot of toddlers walking to the Boat Shed which is 0.5km into the Riverside Walk.
  • Websites

Want even more ideas for outdoor activities on the North Shore? Then head to NSM’s Parks & Playgrounds section


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