One of the great things about Sydney is that no matter how long you may have lived there, you will always find that there are a tonne of wonderful things to see and do that you have never even heard of before.
Most Sydneysiders haven’t heard of Salt Pan Creek, let alone even explored this waterway unless they live in the vicinity of Riverwood or nearby. But the area it covers is pretty big.
The creek moves through an area covering three different local council areas and is clearly an important ecological habitat for local wildlife.
I find it such a confronting and interesting location with stark concrete and grafitti mixed in with almost disturbingly remotely feeling mangrove swamps and wetlands. Above there are train tracks, a highway crosses overhead and electrical pylons rise from the mud along with the reeds.
I opted to get to Salt Pan Creek from Riverwood train station – from which it is a short walk beside Riverwood Park which takes you along a path a short way to Lillian Road Reserve and onto the creek.
One moment you are walking along a path hemmed in by overgrowth…
… the next, the scene opens out into a broad expanse of water on both sides.
This is a lovely spot to take some photos.
A wooden bridge allows you to cross over the water and trains on the East Hills line rattle over the bridge above.
Moving forward you have a few different options to go exploring. If you want to follow the route I took, just keep going straight as you cross over the bridge.
It will initially take you along many gritty back ways with not a lot to see. But if you don’t mind the solitude, go for it.
After awhile you will come to the Stuart Street Reserve. Incidentally, this is a good place to join the walking tracks if you would like to arrive via Padstow, But this is better if you are coming by car as there is parking.
Follow the path beside the playing fields and you will soon come to another wooden walkway through a beautiful wetland. This is another great spot for photos with the head high reeds and their fluffy ‘flowers’.
Soon, however, the scene takes on a grittier quality as you pass beneath the Western Motorway. I always find this part of the walk disconcerting and faintly dystopian – but thrilling nonetheless.
After this comes, what is for me, the most beautiful part of the whole Salt Pan Creek ecosystem. A mangrove forest where you find yourself walking beneath gnarled branches and over wooden boardwalks.
The experience differs depending upon the weather, and it can range from a surreal walk through dappled sunlight to downright creepy.
Moss grows along the wooden walkways and striking spiders display their webs for your delight – or distress.
Overall, a good approach is to explore as much as you like, and then head back the way you came.
If you keep walking in one direction you will come out the other side of the whole area – and its not as pretty. More practically, public transport is not as simple to navigate from the other entrance.
Instead, I suggest you retrace your steps and re-experience the beauty with new eyes.
Find Your Way To Salt Pan Creek
The simplest way via public transport is to make your way to Riverwood Train Station and take a short walk towards Lillian Road Reserve from near which the path is easy to find.