Bushland bathing

I recently learned of Shinrin-yoku, a Japanese term that loosely translates to forest bathing; the idea that taking a long walk through a forest has restorative health properties. I don’t know about you, but I know exactly the feeling. I recently did some forest bathing of my own, when S took me for a walk along the Cascades Track, in the Garigal National Park in northern Sydney.

Now this is about as close to forest bathing as I think you’ll get in Sydney – except the word ‘forest’ isn’t commonly used in Sydney. But bushland is. And that’s basically a forest. So I’m going to adapt the term for Australian market, and henceforth refer to bushland bathing.

And here we have the ultimate: bushland with a bathing pool. These used to be public bathing pools back in the day, but fell out of use – I think due to water quality issues. Thus, I wouldn’t recommend you actually bathe in the truest sense of the word in this water.

The pools are fed by a cute series of cascades, which trickle over flat rocks containing a scattering of intriguing potholes.

Why they were there, where they went or how they got there I have no idea. But I watched my step very carefully.

I loved the craggy overhangs, the still water, and the dogs who arrived halfway through our walk to go for a swim and kept falling in the potholes (I really wish I could get a dog).

Sometimes I forget how much I like bushland bathing.

And then I get out and put my feet on something that’s not asphalt, listen to the sound of nature, and get too sweaty and tomato-faced. And it’s always worth it.

More about shinrin-yoku here.

-Rachel

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