Location: Berrilee | length: 8km | time: 2 hours | rating of ease: 2 out of 5 (1 being easy)

Since Covid and during lockdown, my husband and I, along with some close friends have been regularly doing bushwalks early on a Sunday morning.

Always making sure the Saturday night before we had been mindful that over eating and drinking would not be advised, due to our newfound exercise regime.

We have done some beautiful and sometimes strenuous walks, but last week goes down as my all-time favourite.

The hike begins at the end of McCallum Road Berrilee. The start is a fire trail locked by gates. A wide track with beautiful glimpses of the valley and houses in the distance.

The walk is a pleasant one and, because we started early, there was dew on the leaves and cobwebs that were lit up by the morning sun.

The trail is mainly flat with a few undulations. There are two steep but very short sections, one with the ruins of a dumped car from before the gates went in, as the car looks very old.

2.5 km in the views open up and you can see across the valley. Continuing on, you see the water of Berowra creek through the trees. As you reach along the end of the track some 3.8 km you will come across some large sandstone ruins. One is a small outhouse and the other is the Fretus Hotel.

The hotel is named after John Fretus, and was built around the 1900s. It stands high on the hill overlooking Calabash Bay.

The story goes that the hotel was abandoned in the 1920s after a planned link across the river from Berowra was changed. A gamble that did not pay off.

As you stand in the ruins and look out over Calabash Bay you would be excused for thinking that you were the only one here. But as you bushwalk to the edge and look down you will see the homes of the small community of Berowra Creek and Calabash Point.

I couldn’t help but think how lucky they all are to live in such a slice of heaven.

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