If you are in need of recharging your batteries and want to spend some quality time amongst nature, then you really don’t need to travel too far. Balls Head Reserve is a wonderful, quiet, lush oasis which transports you to the middle of the bush yet is only ten minutes from Sydney’s CBD, located in North Sydney. With spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, it has several short kid-friendly bushwalks that are perfect for little legs!
Not only is it close to the Inner West (you can even see Balmain and Birchgrove from the Reserve) but all the bush tracks are entry-level, so it’s ideal for young kids. There are plenty of interesting things for the kids to explore and learn about on these walks including historical caves, tunnels and Aboriginal rock engravings. There is also The Coal Loader platform which is perfect for scooter and bike-riding and many picturesque picnic spots nearby.
There are several short 20-40 minute bushwalking tracks around the headland, which are all connected and as the reserve is small, the tracks are super easy to follow. The Harbour View Walk is pram and wheelchair friendly and as the name suggests, there are plenty of views of the city’s skyline and the Harbour Bridge, all of which are sublimely postcard-perfect!
Balls Head Reserve is also home to the historical Coal Loader. Kids will love discovering the 160m Coal Loader tunnel which leads to the bushland beyond as part of The Coal Loader Link Track, and is simply magical. This track is one of the more adventurous walks on offer but there are benches, picnic tables, grassy areas to stop at along the way.
Top tip: Although the tracks are entry-level, keep a close eye on the kids, as part of the track get quite close to the harbour. Also, you can follow the kids trail quiz for some fun along the walk.
EXPLORE & LEARN
Before colonisation, the Cammeraygal people used to live in this part of North Sydney. Around the corner from the Coal Loader Café, you will find an Aboriginal rock engraving known locally as ‘whale rock’, which is thousands of years old.
The area has a rich history and you can discover more about The Coal Loader’s detailed past.
Along the foreshore tracks, you can also find caves and chambers dating back to the Great Depression Era.
REST & RELAX
For some relaxation time with the family, bring a picnic rug and make the most of one of the many picnic areas/tables around the reserve and along the foreshore walks.
At the waterfront of Balls Head, The Coal Loader has been redeveloped as parklands and a Centre for Sustainability. The parklands themselves are great for kids to run around, have a picnic and explore the community gardens. The large flat platform makes it the perfect spot for bikes and scooters.
The kid-friendly Coal Loader Café adjoins Balls Head Reserve, with inside and outside seating and a great community garden. The café has a children’s menu and highchairs.
Balls Head Reserve ticks many boxes for a family outing and you’ll be amazed at how can find yourself in the middle of nowhere, within touching distance of the city!
Address: Balls Head Reserve Balls Head Drive, Waverton, NSW.