Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion.
Forum rules
NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Sunshine2020 » Sat 23 May, 2020 5:56 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping someone would be able to help answer my question, as I have been spending hours searching online!

I am looking to do the thru-hike for the GNW, however I am struggling to get concrete info regarding the possibilities of how many days to take. Ideally I would like to complete the thru-hike in 9 days and I would appreciate any input from anyone that has completed the end to end trail to get an idea of how realistic this is. My thoughts are to camp en route ideally.

I have the GNW book with the routes, have checked out the GNW website etc, however given the elevation and distances, the trail time estimate seem a little long. I am ok hiking around 30km-40km a day with decent elevation. I would be very grateful for any input from anyone who has completed the end to end trail, and any comments on the quality of camping sites along the way.

I have seen routes for 16 days and 12 days, but has anyone done it in less time than this....? Advice very welcome :)

Many thanks!
Sunshine2020
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat 23 May, 2020 5:47 pm
Region: New South Wales

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby mandragara » Sat 23 May, 2020 8:53 pm

It's highly variable and depends on your fitness, how slow you like your mornings etc. I've done the GNW from Sydney start to the Hawkesbury.

The fastest time I can find is from a runner who did it in 57 hours, but thats insane.

I reckon, with a full heavy pack, 2.5 kmph is a comfortable speed. At 10 hours walking a day, it'd take you 10 days to walk the entire GNW.

If you plan to top up on food etc every day or so, then your pack would be lighter and I think 3 to 3-and-a-bit is reasonable. So that would easily fit in your 9 day plan.

I'd advise you to carry a 'proper' water filter, like the Katadyn Vario. A lot of the water on the walk can be a bit... suspect and definitely needs filtration, the weight savings are real though!

You could pack a dummy pack and walk a full day on the GNW with it, say the stuff near Mt Ku-ring-gai, if you're Sydney based. Get a feel for your speed and then just extrapolate from that
User avatar
mandragara
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri 22 Dec, 2017 5:04 pm
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby ribuck » Sun 24 May, 2020 1:15 am

14 days is a good steady pace without pushing it. Nine days is doable, but you won't have time to smell the roses along the way.
User avatar
ribuck
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1330
Joined: Wed 15 May, 2013 3:47 am
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby DavidB » Sun 24 May, 2020 11:25 am

12 days is doable without pushing it too hard. Less than 10 will involve some long days. I did the whole way in 2018 and took 14 days. But that involved some short days too.
My trip report from then can be found at viewtopic.php?f=36&t=27612&hilit=+Great+North

There is some useful info there about water which is probably still current.

I did a food resupply at Yarramalong which is about the halfway point. You can also pick up basic supplies at the Somersby Store and at the Heaton Gap servo.
DavidB
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue 11 Oct, 2016 9:06 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby ribuck » Sun 24 May, 2020 5:43 pm

I reckon if you were doing it in 9 days, you could consider doing it without a food drop. Although the shops along the way don't sell lightweight bushwalking food, there are quite a lot of places where you can at least get a meal, which will reduce how many meals you need to carry: Thornleigh, Berowra Waters, Cowan, Brooklyn, Somersby, Yarramalong, Heaton Gap and Teralba.

I presume your preference for 9 days is due to wanting to take only one week off work. If you go north-to-south there are train connections at Brooklyn, Cowan and Thornleigh. If you find that you are going slower than expected, you can catch the train and come back the following weekend to complete the missing section. Going south-to-north the only train option is at Teralba.
User avatar
ribuck
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1330
Joined: Wed 15 May, 2013 3:47 am
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Sunshine2020 » Fri 19 Jun, 2020 7:00 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. I have been busy reading up on the options. The part that I am having most trouble figuring out is the Thornleigh to Brooklyn stretch.

Would it be doable to go from Thornleigh to Berowra Waters in one go?

SYD - Thornleigh
Thornleigh - Berowra Waters
Berowra Waters - Brooklyn.

Advice appreciated :)
Sunshine2020
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat 23 May, 2020 5:47 pm
Region: New South Wales

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby johnw » Fri 19 Jun, 2020 10:12 pm

Sunshine2020 wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice. I have been busy reading up on the options. The part that I am having most trouble figuring out is the Thornleigh to Brooklyn stretch.

Would it be doable to go from Thornleigh to Berowra Waters in one go?

SYD - Thornleigh
Thornleigh - Berowra Waters
Berowra Waters - Brooklyn.

Advice appreciated :)

As someone mentioned earlier depends on your fitness etc, so the information is very general. Re the "Thornleigh to Berowra Waters in one go" question.
I've done all of the sections of the GNW between Thornleigh and Brooklyn (only) as separate day hikes at various times and have repeated some many times over the years.
Going the opposite way, Berowra station to Hornsby took me between 5 and 6 hours. Hornsby to Thornleigh maybe 3 hours.
The section from Sams Creek to Berowra Waters would take me longer than just walking down there from the station. Maybe 60-90 minutes for that bit, the climb up from Sams Creek can be a little taxing.
I walk at a reasonably fast pace with fairly light daypack but often stop for photos etc. You'd need to consider how much weight you'll carry and any other logistics.
Unfortunately you will have to deviate into suburbia at Hornsby to detour around the rifle range, which is a royal PIA.
The tracks are mostly not difficult but can be strenuous. It really depends on whether it's a "smell the roses" stroll or you are on a mission.
I've also walked from Brooklyn through to Mt Kur-ing-gai during the 100km Oxfam trailwalker event.
That bit took from mid morning to almost sunset in late winter but with a very light pack and a fair bit of training. I was much fitter then.

Berowra Waters to Brooklyn involves a strenuous climb initially, followed by a fair amount of up and down, then a big-ish climb out of Jerusalem Bay on the Cowan to Brooklyn leg.
In between climbs is not too bad. Overall, Berowra Waters to Cowan is probably more taxing as the Jerusalem Bay climb is relatively short.
I've only linked those two sections going north to south, which took around 6 hours from memory.

Can't comment on SYD to Thornleigh as I haven't done it.
John W

In Nature's keeping they are safe, but through the agency of man destruction is making rapid progress - John Muir c1912
User avatar
johnw
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 6241
Joined: Wed 23 Jan, 2008 11:59 am
Location: Macarthur Region - SW Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby ribuck » Fri 19 Jun, 2020 10:41 pm

Thornleigh to Berowra Waters should be OK for most people. As johnw said, Berowra Waters to Cowan is strenuous.

We did Sydney to Brooklyn in 4 days, camping at Lane Cove Campground, Tunks Hill (just after the rifle range - carry water), and Cowan.
User avatar
ribuck
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1330
Joined: Wed 15 May, 2013 3:47 am
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Sunshine2020 » Sat 20 Jun, 2020 5:17 pm

Thanks both for the input and thoughts, much appreciated. It’s helpful to get a sense of people who have walked the trail already to understand different parts.

I’m fairly fit, but iso has obviously had an impact.

The reason is more to do with trying to fit the walk
into 10 days (due to work). Current plan as follows ;

Syd-Thornleigh
Thornleigh - Berowra Waters
Berowra Waters - Brooklyn
Brooklyn - Wondabyne
Wondabyne - Somersby
Somersby - Yarramalong
Yarramalong - Flat Rock
Flat Rock - Wattagan HQ
Wattagan HQ - Teralba
Teralba - Newcastle.

I have reasons for wanting to stop in each spot o/n.

If anyone else has any further useful insight it’s appreciated. I plan to stay in accomodation most nights (already identified) and potentially camp 1/2 nights.

Cheers
Sunshine2020
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat 23 May, 2020 5:47 pm
Region: New South Wales

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby ribuck » Sat 20 Jun, 2020 5:20 pm

That looks pretty good for a ten day itinerary.
User avatar
ribuck
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1330
Joined: Wed 15 May, 2013 3:47 am
Region: Other Country
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby rcaffin » Sat 20 Jun, 2020 7:33 pm

We (wife & I) started the GNW at Berowra Waters, although we have been as far south as Thornleigh with day walks. From BW we went to Brooklyn, across to Little Wobby on the little ferry, up to The Tanks (this is the original route, and much better and much cheaper!) and then north to Heaton Gap and then Teralba station. After spending all that time in the mountains, the suburbia of Teralba was a bit of a shock or a let-down. We looked at each other, shook our heads, and said 'Nah' - and took the train home.

You do not need to go via Wondabyne at all. Sure, it's a cute station, but it is way off the route.

Yeah, there are some steep bits, but rarely over 200 metres. That's not much.

Cheers
Roger
User avatar
rcaffin
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 895
Joined: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 3:46 pm

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Sunshine2020 » Sun 21 Jun, 2020 7:14 am

Hi Roger

Thanks very much for the advice - I’m trying to find a topographic map of the original GNW route but struggling to locate one - I thought Wondabyne was on the original route..?! I have purchased the 6 pack of maps available for each section but does anyone know where to locate the “offical” route?

Good to know about the elevation average - seems to be a fair bit of up and down but nothing too steep (I know Berowra waters to Brooklyn will be a bit of a slog)

Info seems to be all over the place re the walk so just trying to piece it all together.

Cheers
Sunshine2020
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat 23 May, 2020 5:47 pm
Region: New South Wales

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby DavidB » Sun 21 Jun, 2020 11:44 am

Since the GNW was opened in 1988, the 'official' route has changed in places. In Brisbane Water NP the 'official' route directs you to Patonga but a lot of walkers find the long fire trail walking a tad boring so alternatives like Wondabyne and Little Wobby have sprung up. As far as I know the route between Patonga and Scopas Peak via Kariong Falls remains the 'official' route.

Unfortunately, the official government website for the GNW https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/lands/a ... tional-use
no longer has a link to an official map and the GNW public links are now scattered through a variety of NPWS and council websites.

Otherwise there are a variety of commercial websites such as wildwalks.com which provide maps.
DavidB
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue 11 Oct, 2016 9:06 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby rcaffin » Mon 22 Jun, 2020 6:09 pm

The original GNW, pioneered by Dougall and Shearer-Herriot, went via Little Wobby. My wife edited the manuscript for the publisher, and we still have a copy of the second edition 1991. It has evolved, had route changes and become very popular and much better marked since then.

The whole thing is a bit of a comedy in some ways. The route went through private property (and more) in a couple of places, through NPWs areas and through Lands Dept areas. The NPWS was a bit snotty in those days, trying to prevent any track marking in Parks at all. (The same applied to the AAWT around Kosci.) However, someone in the Lands Dep't liked the idea and gave generous support. Never let it be said that there was any point-scoring going on between LD & NPWS of course.

The 'and more' needs explaining. In those days the NSW Dept of Sport & Recreation had land to the east of the Little Wobby settlement. It is a flat area (bulldozer) and a wharf. There used to be some sort of office on the flat area. There was also a small wharf, where the Ferry (or someone) picked up the rubbish bins from S&R weekly. There is also a solid FT going east to the main S&R settlement around near Patonga.

We took the ferry from Brooklyn to Little Wobby one morning. We were the only passengers after Dangar Island. The ferry master checked the official Little Wobby wharf - there were no passengers waiting. Oh well, he said, I will take you to the S&R wharf instead - save time. Not on his official route of course, but it was the original route for the GNW. Perhaps the ferry master was used to going there for walkers? We hopped off and headed for the gully at the back of the flat area where there is a rough track going up.

A women came out of the office there and was really abusive at us. We were trespassing on the Fitness Camp of the State Dept of S&R! Never mind that a) S&R is meant to be a gov't body for the people, and b) that they were supposed to be promoting Fitness, Sport & Recreation. How Dare We? We ignored her and went up the track in the gully, despite threats of prosecution, to the ridge above. Well, what could she do?

Next time we went there the office building had been removed and there was nobody there at all, so we camped there on the flat. It was a bit late in the evening. A resident, seeing us, offered us water from his tank and chatted about the possums which danced on his roof in the night. Next morning we walked along the FT a bit and went uphill to the ridge past some jungle gym equipment which was not in use. This second track was also marked in the book.

I did contact the HQ of S&R about getting permission to land at the flat, and I was assured that if i contacted the manager at the Patonga camp they would send me a form. So I did, but heard nothing back. I checked again with HQ and was told to try again. In fact, I must have emailed the Patonga camp 3 or 4 times, citing the instructions from HQ, and been completely ignored every time.

The ferry costs a few dollars, and is fun. A water taxi to Patonga can cost $100 (I am told). You pays your money and takes your choice.

You can land at the official Little Wobby wharf (for a few $$) and walk along the PUBLIC track on the foreshore, around and partly through some of the properties there, to the flat area and the gully. That too is fun. If anyone accosts you at the flat area, just ignore them and go up the track (it's rough!) in the gully. What can they do. No names, no pack drill.

Cheers
Roger
User avatar
rcaffin
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 895
Joined: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 3:46 pm

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby rcaffin » Mon 22 Jun, 2020 6:10 pm

Btw - the track does go over Mt Wondabyne, just not through the Wondabyne station.

Cheers
Roger
User avatar
rcaffin
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 895
Joined: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 3:46 pm

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Sunshine2020 » Thu 25 Jun, 2020 5:05 pm

Hi Roger,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience, great to hear the stories behind the trail itself! I have managed to get hold of a copy of the 6 maps provided by NSW Parks which is helping to piece things together. Would you say it would be best to go to Little Wobby and camp at Mt Wondabyne, or continue on to Mooney? Looking ideally to stay in accomodation at each spot along the way to save carrying the camping stuff, but this section seems a little tricky re options. I wish there was an original map that could be referred to. The other challenge I'm finding is getting the correct distances between each point and what is realistic to cover in one day. On the NSW gov maps the walking times seem a little conservative, but at the moment it would be looking between 25 - 35km a day roughly.

At the moment my overnight stops would include

Night 1 - Thornleigh Ibis
Night 2- Berowra AirBNB
Night 3- AirBNB - Brooklyn
Night 4 - Would I need to camp at Mt Wondabyne
Night 5 - Friend's near Ourimbah (clothes washing opportunity!)
Night 6 - Angel Sussouri Yarramalong
Night 7 - Lonely Goat Olive Congewai
Night 8 - Wattagan HQ (??? camping)
Night 9 - Pippi's at The Point Teralba
Night 10 - Home :)

I have the wild walks book on the great north walk as well, however there are differences between the times/trail they provided vs. NSW maps.

Any further recommendations welcome :)

Thanks again everyone.
Sunshine2020
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat 23 May, 2020 5:47 pm
Region: New South Wales

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Bron » Thu 25 Jun, 2020 11:30 pm

Watagan HQ used to have a shed but it was burnt down some years ago. It is now just a tank and toilets and the camping is not very nice.
Most people on the GNW camp at The Basin. Also the spot at the top of Barraba trig is nice but you need to carry water up the hill. Also above Heatons Lkt there is camping before you go down the hill.
Mt Wondabyne is also not very nice but it is the only clear spot near there and is used by the D of E kids on that section.
Teralba has a caravan park.
If you walk the whole of the GNW and add up the distances you will notice that the they add up differently depending whether you are walking north or south! When you walk them they always seem like more.
You might find walking Sydney -Thornleigh - Berowra - Brooklyn in 3 nights very onerous unless you are very fit. The group I walk with take 4 days and Thornleigh - Sydney is a long day. Also there is a lot of ascending and descending between Berowra and Brooklyn.

regards
Bron
Bron
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue 27 Oct, 2009 3:58 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby DavidB » Fri 26 Jun, 2020 11:46 am

When I did the GNW in 2018 we took the Little Wobby route. Followed the old phone line easement behind the houses and joined the Highway Ridge Track at the top which took us up to the GNW via Tank Creek. We picked up water at Kariong Falls and camped for the night at a clearing just south of Scopas Peak.

If you are OK with carrying water there are plenty of options to camp along the GNW here.
DavidB
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue 11 Oct, 2016 9:06 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby rcaffin » Fri 26 Jun, 2020 8:18 pm

It sticks in my mind that we camped at the bottom of the gully by the S&R wharf at Little Wobby, and the next night we camped at the flat area on the far side of swing bridge over Piles Ck - but I was pitching the tent in the dark there. Trouble is, the country before the bridge is kinda unfriendly to tents. Well, there is some sheet rock in places, but the rest is coastal scrub - very rough.

General comment: the water in the rural valleys is usually almost toxic.

Cheers
Roger
User avatar
rcaffin
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 895
Joined: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 3:46 pm

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Bron » Fri 26 Jun, 2020 8:47 pm

The campsite at the Piles ck bridge is nice and very popular with teens looking to get away from it all. However Piles Ck is downstream from heavy industrial so I wouldnt drink the water.
Be mindful of this as you walk past the tip next to Brisbane Waters.
Bron
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue 27 Oct, 2009 3:58 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby DavidB » Sat 27 Jun, 2020 3:10 pm

If its feasible consider putting in a water drop. We dropped in water in the bush near the Old Pacific Highway bridge over Mooney Creek. The water in Mooney is brackish for a fair way up from the bridge unless you get water out of side creeks. But its nice camping once you get a decent way beyond the motorway crossing.
DavidB
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue 11 Oct, 2016 9:06 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Great North Walk, NSW... How many days?!

Postby Sunshine2020 » Sat 27 Jun, 2020 6:11 pm

Really appreciate all the detailed responses here and different views and experiences.

Does anyone have any thoughts on exiting the trail to stay overnight in Woy Woy before then heading to Somersby the next day? Eg. Ferry from Brooklyn- Patonga or Little Wobby, exit trail at Woy Woy Rd then back onto it the next day.

Bron good to know your thoughts re the stretch re syd to Brooklyn. How long did the Berowra to Brooklyn and Sydney CBD - Thornleigh section take you? Based on the maps and guidance Syd-Thornleigh is 24.4km and Thornleigh to Berowra Waters is 28km.

..I’m in between wanting to stop and smell the roses (and take pics :))...and doing it in a decent time - so challenging, but not “I’m going to die” challenging :) I’m ok walking 6-8hrs a day normally but giving myself 10-12hrs for this.
Sunshine2020
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat 23 May, 2020 5:47 pm
Region: New South Wales


Return to New South Wales & ACT

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests