Great North Walk – back to the beginning

I want to complete the Great North Walk no matter how long it takes, so I am filling in the bits that I haven’t walked yet.

The National Parks volunteers run a series of walks covering most of the Great North Walk heading out of Sydney to Newcastle as day walks. In 2015 I did some later sections of the walk north of the Hawkesbury River. I wrote about these previously on my blog The Great North Walk #1 Great North Walk #2 Great North Walk #3

I am a bit of a nerdy Librarian and love looking at maps to know exactly where I am going, so I have the set of maps covering the whole walk. This is a story of the first map, starting at the Obelisk  in Macquarie Place. This is the original marker measuring the distances from Sydney to parts of the new colony. You can tell that there were not many places of interest or importance but Newcastle is there so that is appropriate.

The day was a bit gloomy and drizzling when we started our walk in February. The first part is a not really a bushwalk as you walk from Macquarie’s obelisk to Circular Quay, a distance of about 300 metres. We caught a ferry to Woolwich and then started to walk.

We spent a lot of time walking past grand homes on the leafy north shore before heading through Lane Cove National Park. It is a really interesting walk with plenty of history to learn about courtesy of our guide. We finished at Fuller’s Bridge


There was nobody else available to come with me on this day, so I set off on my own. This section from Fullers Bridge to Thornleigh is about 11km and follows the Lane Cove River through the National Park. I still find it amazing that there is so much beautiful bush within Sydney.

I left home about 7am and drove to Fullers Bridge. Driving on a Saturday is a breeze compared to during the week. I was there by 8 and the gates into the National Park were not even open. Luckily someone was on their way to unlock them. The hardest part of a walk is usually finding where the track starts. I set off following the little signs of the GNW around the picnic area and through the wet grass and met Mr Kookaburra.


Then a vague sign pointing in the general direction of Thornleigh. I set off expecting to find a track heading into the bush but eventually came to the road and no track. Hmm. Back to the sign. Well, if you look at it a bit differently, it could be pointing up towards the office. So I went that way and what do you know, there was the track. Is it me or is it NPWS.

There was plenty of wattle in bloom and lots of wildflowers. Most of the way you are not much more than 100m from the back fence of suburbia. The track varied from a bush track to fire trail and a street diversion around some flood damage which had closed the track in one place. As well as kookaburra, there were scrub turkeys, bower birds, black cockatoos and koi carp in the river and every now and then someone would appear out of the bush, a trailrunner or mad mountain biker. DeBurgh’s bridge crossed high over the track while I had a break at the Blue Holes and it felt good to be just wondering along through the bush on my own while everyone else was up there rushing along.


I arrived at Thornleigh at a kids cricket match. I found some coffee and then the train station to get back to Chatswood and then a bus back down to the start. It had been a great little walk and will have to plan the next section when someone else is available.


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