A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published September 16th 2012
250km of history and inspiring natural beauty
Running from central Sydney to downtown Newcastle, the Great North Walk is one of Australia's legendary hiking trails. This wonderful trail takes you through 250km of both natural and urban environments, including plenty of intriguing history along the way.
The Great North Walk was created in 1988 as an Australian Bicentennial project and starts in Macquarie Place in central Sydney. From there you hop on a Circular Quay ferry, before winding your way through Sydney's historic suburbs to the Lane Cove National Park.
After also passing through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and crossing the Hawkesbury River, Brisbane Water National Park and the Watagan State Forest are next on the list. Then, after skirting the northern edge of Lake Macquarie, the walk winds its way through Newcastle's southern fringes to its finishing point at Queen's Wharf.
This mammoth walk can be undertaken all in one so-called super trek, which can take about two weeks with quite a few nights of bush camping. Interestingly, in March 2012, Meredith Quinlan and Jess Baker completed the entire Great North Walk in a new record time of 54 hours and 52 minutes. "It really is an amazing trail and covers so many diverse ecosystems and localities. Experienced in one hit is an overload of the senses to say the least," they said. You can read the full report of their trek here.
But if 250km of walking in one go sounds a bit too extreme for you, you can tackle the Great North Walk as several day or weekend walks. With numerous access points along the route, this is quite a simple task.
If you don't want to take a self-guided tour of the trail, several companies run tours along all or part of the Great North Walk.
With 250km to cover, it's no surprise that the walk takes in plenty of beautiful scenery. From serene bushland and breathtaking coastal views to rocky mountain tops and beautiful rivers, there's plenty of natural scenery to take in. There's also plenty of man-made attractions to admire, such as Australia's longest railway tunnel, rock art and a number of historical obelisks. There are even some chilling mysteries that have occurred along the walk - one Great North Walk website refers to more than a dozen murders, disappearances and inexplicable deaths. That's sure to spice things up when you're camped out in the bush in the dead of night.
This Great North Walk website is an excellent resource for anyone planning on walking this magnificent trail. If you want any more information about the Great North Walk, you can also check out the official website.