Family-friendly hikes you can explore together this winter

All your instincts may be telling you to stay indoors during winter, but it’s actually the perfect time to gather the family and take to the great outdoors. Especially if you’re into hiking. It’s not too hot, it’s not too crowded, but the scenery is just as green and luscious! 

In our area, there are plenty of kid-friendly hikes the whole family will enjoy. Here are a few to add to your weekend to-do list.

Rouse Hill Regional Park path circuit

Worcester Road, Rouse Hill
If you want to start off quite easy with a pleasant stroll through mostly-flat parklands and a eucalyptus forest, this one is great. Your kids can even bring along their bikes to ride around the asphalt track and there’s a big playground to reward them at the end! The walk starts at the Rouse Hill picnic area.
Hike time: up to 45mins
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.5km circuit

Subiaco Creek Bushwalk
Crowgey Street Reserve, Rydalmere
Part of the 6.6km Ponds Walk, this stretch of the bushwalk runs from Crowgey Street Reserve to Marri Badoo Reserve (just past Park Road) and is easy for young kids to tackle. It takes you over two creeks and through lush bushland combined with open grassed areas.
Hike time: up to 45mins
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1km one way

Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden

420 Mona Vale Road, St Ives
There are six walking trails in this garden, so you can choose the one that suits your family’s abilities - or work your way through all of them over time. Short and easy, The Banks Trail has a boardwalk, pond and wetland, as well as educational facts to read along the way; while it only takes about 5 minutes (200m), at the end you can explore the Fern House and playground. For something a little more strenuous, try the 2km-long Solander Trail, which leads you through bushland - you’ll see wildflowers, rock formations and beautiful greenery.
Hike time: from 15mins to 2+hours (depending on which walking trail you take)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Distance: Varies

North Rocks Dam, Bidjigal Reserve
For something a little different, this graffiti-covered concrete dam (actually, it’s technically flood retarding basin) is a great spot for little explorers. Start at the end of Ventura Road in Northmead and follow the wide fire trail to the flood basin. From the viewing platform you can see the basin (which is usually empty of water - the structure was built in case of a major flood); keep going and make your way down to the bottom to see the basin’s channels and don’t forget to look up in awe at the concrete structure. Through the tunnel and after a short walk, you’ll come across a bridge that crosses the creek. The Murri-Yanna Track is 6kms long in total so you can turn back whenever you feel you’ve gone far enough!
Hike time: from 15mins
Difficulty: Easy 
Distance: The flood basin is only 600m from Ventura Road

When hiking, make sure you have a good pair of shoes on and always bring along plenty of water. To make the adventure even more fun for the kids, consider bringing along a pair of binoculars for animal spotting and a notebook and pencils to capture their surroundings and take note of what they see along the way.