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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

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Buffalo Creek Reserve


Buffalo Creek Reserve occupies the lower reaches and mouth of Buffalo Creek. The Traditional Custodians are the Wallumedegal Peoples of the Darug Nation. Originally the land of the reserve was part of the flood plain and much of it was covered with saltmarsh vegetation with some mangroves along the creek.

At the end of the 19th century there were relatively few mangroves but their extent expanded greatly when the creeks and Lane Cove River silted up as a result of urban development. In the 1950s people didn’t understand about the value of such ecosystems and much of the site was buried under a garbage tip. This tip, and the adjoining one in the Field of Mars Reserve, was intended to be in use for many years and would have eventually filled the valley.

The reserve adjoins Sugarloaf Hill to the north which is a valuable pocket of eucalypt bushland covering an almost conical hill on a small promontory. It became part of Lane Cove National Park in 1998 and is home to an endangered frog, the red-crowned toadlet. Sugarloaf Hill is cut off from Field of Mars Reserve by Pittwater Road but is linked to the Lane Cove National Park conservation area by the narrow corridors of bush along the river’s edge. At Sugarloaf Point the banks of the river were damaged by sand mining in the 1960s but the eucalypt area is extremely well preserved. Pockets of saltmarsh have been re-established at Sugarloaf Point by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) in recent years.

Pittwater Road at Kitty's Creek, c. 1888, looking south

State Library of NSW  | CC BY 4.0

Dredging in Lane Cove River, Sugarloaf Hill. 


Buffalo Creek Reserve today

The old garbage tip has been landscaped into a picnic area, playground, playing field and children’s bike track. It is an access point for the Great North Walk (Sydney to Newcastle) built in 1988. From Buffalo Creek Reserve walkers can follow the Great North Walk to the south through narrow strips of bushland and reach Boronia Park and Hunters Hill or the north through the Lane Cove River valley to Thornleigh.

The boardwalk through the mangroves gives excellent access to the mangrove forest. At low tide visitors can observe animals such as crabs and snails, during a spring high tide the area is crowded with hungry fish. It is an excellent site to observe the contrast between wet and dry environments.

Buffalo Creek Reserve track overview