Berry Island Reserve and the Gadyan Track
Berry Island Reserve is a quiet little oasis in Wollstonecraft, featuring a short bushwalking track, picnic areas, a fenced playground and great Sydney Harbour views.
Following the circular Gadyan Track is the perfect way to experience the beauty and serenity of this unique spot located only a stone’s throw away from the city.
Berry Island Reserve
Now a peninsula, Berry Island used to be one of Sydney Harbour’s islands. It is now connected to the mainland of Wollstonecraft by a man-made grassed area.
In the early 19th century, Berry Island became part of a large land grant made by Governor Macquarie to Alexander Berry and Edward Wollstonecraft. In 1926, along with Balls Head Reserve, Berry Island was dedicated as a nature reserve for public recreation.
Initially attached to the mainland by a small stone causeway over mud flats, in the 1960s the causeway was transformed into a large grassed area created with relocated soil and other materials.
Berry Island Reserve is now a pleasant recreational spot with BBQs, picnic areas, a fenced playground, a large grassy area, a short circular walking track and even a small beach.
Dogs are more than welcome in the reserve, but they need to be on a leash.
The Gadyan Track
The short but interesting Gadyan Track is a 750m circular walk that loops its way around Berry Island.
The starting point of the track is clearly visible with a large signpost that provides useful background information about the walk, the island and its significance to Aboriginal people.
Berry Island, along with other spots on the Harbour shores, was important to Aboriginal people as there was plenty of fish and shellfish to eat. In addition, the many sandstone overhangs provided much needed shelter, especially during warm summer months.
Gadyan is a local Aboriginal (Cammeraygal) word for the Sydney cockle, a shellfish common in the middens on the island.
The short walking track guides visitors along several rock engravings and shell middens. One particular engraving stands out as one of the biggest engravings ever found in Sydney.
As you start the walking track, one of the first things you’ll notice is the large oil tanks in Greenwich on the other side of the bay. Now operated by Viva Energy, the Gore Bay Terminal has been an important fuel import and storage facility since 1901.
The tanks are a bit of an eyesore, but the terminal is still an important part of the fuel supply chain in New South Wales, supplying fuel to the Sydney cruise and maritime industries.
The highlight of the walk is a large Aboriginal engraving on a flat rock surface. The well preserved engraving resembles a 10m large creature with a boomerang shape near the tail and a large circle shape in the centre.
Beside the engraving is a small but deep rock pool and two shallow grooves. As noted on the information sign, it is believed that the pool functioned as a freshwater storage and the grooves are a result of grinding the edges of stone axes to sharpen them.
A short side-track leads to a small wooden lookout point at the southernmost point of the Berry Island peninsula.
- Distance: 750m (circuit)
- Time: 30 minutes
- Grade: easy
- Dogs: on a leash
Getting to Berry Island Reserve
Berry Island Reserve is very easily accessible, by car as well as by public transport. The area is relatively unknown so it never gets very crowded. Limited street parking is available along Shirley Road.
Wollstonecraft train station is located about 0.5km north of the reserve. Catch a train from Wynyard in the city directly to Wollstonecraft and follow Shirley Rd all the way to Berry Island Reserve.