Crosslands Reserve is a great place to spend the day with your family on the weekend, whether you're having a picnic, throwing a birthday party or looking to explore the more natural side of Sydney. It's located on the city's northern fringes and (somehow) entry doesn't cost a thing.
There's two ends to the reserve and both have the facilities everyone looks for, like BBQs, shelters and toilets, as well as a pretty beautiful setting, thanks to the reserve's situation in the Berowra Valley National Park. However, it's the area closest to the entrance that is most popular for day visitors. Here you'll find the best quality facilities, as well as play equipment and an open space just waiting for a game of cricket (it's big enough for multiple families to use at once too).
Kids will enjoy the flying fox
The other end of the reserve, at the northern side of the car park, is more popular for camping and fishing and while it has no play equipment and less open space, it does have a bike track.
If you're interested in the natural side of the reserve, Hornsby Council has made sure you have the chance to fully appreciate your setting. There are platforms over Berowra Creek, which run through the site, and signs everywhere offering information on the area's history and local environment.
Taking a stroll along one of the bushwalks is another great way to spend your time. Sections of the Benowie Walking Track are located at both ends of the reserve, but at the northern end (furthest from the entrance) the first 400m of the track has been converted into the Saltmarsh Boardwalk, which is specifically designed to be flat enough and short enough to allow the whole family to enjoy it.
A scenic viewing platform marks the end of the Saltmarsh Boardwalk, but it's no reason to not keep going
The only problem with Crosslands Reserve is that it can get pretty busy. As well as competition for tables, the amount of visitors on some weekends means parking can be difficult, yet unless your family is full of very keen cyclists or hikers, driving is the only way to get here.
Sometimes you may have to stake out your spot early, though there is one shelter that can be booked in advance
The road to Crosslands Reserve can be found at the end of Somerville Road in Hornsby Heights, which is located in Sydney's Northern Suburbs. It's open between 8.00am and 5.30pm (EST) or 7.30pm (EDST), but you are permitted to camp overnight if you want to extend your stay.
The reserve is a popular camping destination for Scouts groups