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My Ramblings

Website of Ian Muirhead

Great North Walk

Overview

View towards the Hawkesbury River
View towards the Hawkesbury River

Stretching approximately 250 kilometres along the New South Wales coast and hinterland between Sydney and Newcastle, the Great North Walk is one of most well known multi-day walks in the state. It is a potpourri of scenic and historical highlights; the trail crossing urban environment, open forest and a touch of sandy beach, often passing remnants of the industry of earlier years.

The Great North Walk, which links Sydney and Newcastle is, as an entity, relatively young. It was formally created in association with Australia's Bicentenary in 1988 following a proposal developed by Gary McDougall and Leigh Shearer-Heriot.

However, as the proposed route linked a number of pre-existing shorter walks, segments of the walk had been enjoyed for decades beforehand. There are also a number of locations where signs remain of local aboriginal inhabitants who walked the area many centuries in the past.

The Great North Walk is not a true remote wilderness walk, never being too far from civilization. Parts of the trail pass through suburban and agricultural areas, and there are a few hours where sand, tree roots polished by many thousand tired feet, and boardwalk are replaced by bitumen.

Despite this, it is still a walk for those who love a trek through the natural environment. there are many sections where open bushland, rainforest and coastal habitat surround the walker.

Relatively easy access to the walk at many points along the route means that the walk can be broken into a series of smaller sections, rather than having to complete the entire length over a 12 to 16 day unbroken period. This, and a relatively large number of camp sites along the way provides the opportunity to customise a walk for almost any spare slot in a busy life. This is part of the attraction for the many thousand who walk at least a part of the route each year.

So far I have walked the following sections:

The Obelisk
The Obelisk, in Macquarie Park central Sydney, marks the start of the Great North Walk.
Date of visit: Various times starting in 2005