Hidden at the back of the old Sanitarium factory is the Cooranbong swing bridge. The bridge is full of character and history. The swing bridge is well known to the locals on the western side of Lake Macquarie. However, it’s also a well-kept secret. At first, it’s a little tricky to find, especially if you’re approaching it from the other side of Dora Creek. So the kids and I went adventuring in search of the swing bridge, its history and its charm that captured an era gone by.
On our way to visit the Cooranbong swing bridge, we stopped at The Elephant Shop in Cooranbong. A charming little shop, which we knew about but hadn’t visited, and we definitely weren’t disappointed. So many lovely treasures to look at. With a wide range of gifts like elephant statues, gems, stones and crystals, it was a really lovely experience browsing through the store.
History of the swing bridge
Purpose-built in 1934, the swing bridge was designed by the manager at the factory. It was built for the workers at the plant so they didn’t have to row or swim across Dora Creek to get to work. If you lived on the south side of the bank, you could row, swim or go the long way around to go to work at the factory. Unfortunately, the rowboats often went missing, so the factory decided to fund the bridge and solve all these issues.
Cooranbong swing bridge
If you’re looking for a signpost with ‘swing bridge this way’ written on it, then you might be wandering the streets for hours. It’s a little tricky to find at first, but if you follow these directions you’ll be fine. Off Freemans Drive is Victory Street, and this is the best place to park. It looks like a normal street with a cul-de-sac at the end. After doing a few loops, we realised that at the far side of the cul-de-sac is a concrete pathway which is the entry. Simply park in the street and walk up the path.
The swing bridge is behind residential houses and crosses over Dora Creek. It’s quite a gorgeous design and the kids loved how it had a little movement to it. We spent a bit of time talking about the history of the bridge, and how the workers use to swim across it to go to work. We talked about where it went, checked our map then ventured over to the other side of the bridge.
Sandy Creek Walk
You could definitely take a picnic and sit on the bank and enjoy the natural surroundings. We spotted some rabbits on the track as we went exploring. The kids also collected flowers and dropped them in the water off the bridge and watched them float away.
If you’re up for a short walk, Sandy Creek Walk looks really lovely. The bush setting was so beautiful as the trail wraps around Dora Creek, Sandy Creek and Jigadee Creek.
The trail is signposted, so when you visit, report back and tell us how it was. I found this really valuable guide to the trail.
Make the most of your outing
If you’re looking for something different to do, that’s not going to take up your whole morning, then this is quite a nice little outing. Some local history, a suspended bridge and a little bit of exploring makes for a nice break from the screens.
Once we were finished our trip to Cooranbong and the Swing Bridge, we headed down to Sunshine to check out the playground. What a gorgeous spot that is set amongst the trees right on the water’s edge.