Boat Hire on Lane Cove River
Boat Hire on Lane Cove River: (33° 47′ 32″S, 151° 9′ 7″E) hire rowboats, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats from Lane Cove Boatshed, located at Riverside Drive North Ryde 4.5 km inside the park from the Lane Cove Road entrance. On the Great North Walk (but across the river).
The Great North Walk Companion extract- pages 161-162
“In the early years of European settlement in Sydney, the forested area around the Lane Cove River became an important source of timber for the growing settlement. Sawmills were constructed along the Lane Cove River together with wharves from which the timber was transported downstream to Sydney. One of the wharves was built by an ex-convict called Joseph Fidden, who was granted the right to transport timber to Sydney and whose name is still remembered by the Fiddens Wharf Reserve — the site of the original government sawmill that was, at that time, worked by convicts. The period of the timber-getters gave way in the 1850s to fruit orchards producing a variety of citrus including exotics like persimmons, custard apples and china pears. These growers had a hard life: to prepare the land for their fruit trees, they had to grub out and burn the stumps of the huge gums left by the timber-getters and to sink wells to ensure themselves of potable water year-round. The fruit was picked, boxed and taken either from Fiddens Wharf by boat or transported by land to the Milsons Point Ferry, and hence to the Sydney markets, using either horse-drawn or ox-drawn drays.”
Our walk continues down to the river as we try to imagine the farmed and cleared landscape of this locale in the 19th century. The layout of the paths and a few ruins leave clues but the trees have largely reclaimed this area. Gradually, the river becomes wider, with a few boats exploring the solitude. We pass some picnicking groups and, just as we enter the more heavily managed part of the park, glimpse a blue fairy wren. I decide to push on a little before stopping.
“What’s that — is it a dragon?” asks Ian pointing excitedly at a large lizard.
“No, dafty,” replies his mother, “that’s just a blue-tongued lizard I think. And not that big a one either — they can grow up to 30 cm.”
“Let’s see its tongue.” Ian steps closer and the lizard rears up a little before scuttling off.