Bangallely Head Walk is a rather rugged though worthwhile walk offering some fantastic views out to the Pacific Ocean and along the coast, north towards Broken Bay/ Barrenjoey Headland and the Central Coast and south towards the city. Additionally, the reserve is of sufficient size such that it is home to a reasonable selection of local flora and fauna. The walk traverses the highest point on Sydney’s northern coastline between Avalon and Whale beaches and takes upwards of an hour (depending on where you start and finish). If you cannot cope with steps (lots of them) and a little sweat then this walk is not for you.
Most of the literature suggests that you do the walk as a loop walk from Marine Parade, to the north of Avalon Beach, as it gives you a quite spectacular view up the headland as you ascend.
I actually entered the reserve via its northern entrance on Whale Beach Road, as the headland walk for me was a continuation of the Sydney Coastal Walk I had commenced earlier in the day at Barrenjoey Beach. Having done it this way I was actually happy I did as either way you got to get to the top and then you go down. Entering from Whale Beach Road, it was a short (10-15min) though hard slog up to the top of the headland and then a gentler though longer decline down to the the Marine Parade entrance (30mins). This approach works better for me.
The path is very clearly defined though not of great quality – keep your eyes open to avoid taking a tumble, especially if it is wet. Very importantly the path is set back from the cliff edge, for good reason. Not in any way wanting to deter you doing the walk, a number of people have fallen to their deaths from the cliffs here. They had, without exception, veered away from the official path.
As I have indicated earlier, the first part of the walk from Whale Beach Road is an upward slog with many steps through dense bushland. When you get to the top of the ridge the walk levels out, before descending, and snippets of the Pacific Ocean can be seen, together with snippets of the Pittwater to the west.
Altogether eleven species of bird, including honeyeaters, spinebills, finches and wrens, inhabit the reserve while the flora comprises a variety of shrubs (including five species of banksia), palms and gums, including the Bangalay Eucalyptus from which the headland takes its name. The local Pittwater Council publishes a walk guide which contains much more detail on the flora and fauna for those interested – (http://www.pittwater.nsw.gov.au/lifestyle/parks_and_reserves/find_a_park/parks/avalon/bangalley_head).
On your long decent to Marine Parade you will be richly rewarded, for the earlier climb, with spectacular views out the Pacific Ocean and south along the coast line, including a great view of Avalon Beach, a picture of which I have included on my separate Avalon Beach review.
Please note that there are no facilities on this walk and, as per normal with all walks of this type, ensure that you wear sunscreen and sturdy walking shoes, boots not required, and take sufficient drinking water.
Southern Access – Corner of North Avalon Rd and Marine Parade
Northern Access – Whale Beach Road (Entry opposite approx. house No 60).
There is ample car parking in the streets at either end of the walk – don’t block driveways.
Should you wish to arrive by bus (the L90 from Wynyard Station in the City) you will need to alight on Barrenjoey Road and walk to the entry points above.