A few weeks ago I shared an overview of the Great North Walk – a +260km path from Sydney to Newcastle on Australia’s East coast. After a fair bit of reading, researching and scheming, it’s time to share my plan of attack.
Do you have any tips or tricks? Wisdom to share?
Even if you haven’t walked this route before, I welcome any do’s and don’ts when it comes to long hikes through the bush.
I plan to walk this path in two stages. The first part, through the streets and parks of Sydney, I will be joined by an adventurous friend who is keen to get out and explore too. The second part will most likely be solo, although I may yet convince another adventurous gal to join me for a few stages.
- Start: on/about 4 April 2022.
- End: on/about 6 April 2022.
- Walking Days: 3
- Rest Days: 0
- Start: on/about 17 May 2022.
- End: on/about 30 May 2022.
- Walking Days: 13
- Rest Days: 1 – after Day 9
I am not sure why, but my Excel spreadsheet adds up to more kilometres that the official distance in the Guidebook! Maybe I am taking the scenic route?
- Total: 279.8km
- Average Daily Distance: 17.5km
- Longest Daily Distance: 26.6km
- Shortest Daily Distance: 11.2km
- I suspect there will be some adjustments to those distances once I actually get out onto the track, get fit and find my walking legs.
- Sydney CBD to North Ryde: 13.2km
- North Ryde to Macquarie Park: 15.7km
- Macquarie Park to Hornsby: 21.7km
- Hornsby to Ridge Top Camp: 21.53km
- Ridge Top Camp to Brooklyn (train/bus) to Patonga: 17.95km
- Patonga to Mt Wondabyne: 11.2km
- Mt Wondabyne to Camp Kariong (campsite not confirmed): 11.65km
- Camp Kariong to Somersby (campsite not confirmed): 18.67km
- Somersby to Yarramalong: 26.6km
- Yarramalong to Basin Camp: 20.7km
- Basin Camp to Great North Walk Camp: 16.7km
- Great North Walk Camp to Crawford Hut & Tank: 14.96km
- Crawford Hut & Tank to Watagan HQ: 16.44km
- Watagan HQ to Heaton Gap: 12.4km
- Heaton Gap to Warners Bay: 20.73km
- Warners Bay to Newcastle: 19.67km
Of course, this is all subject to change. The terrain may enable me to do greater distance (or lesser!) and I am yet to confirm some camping spots.
Where Will I Stay?
The beauty of this path is that it passes close by various towns and villages before heading back into the bush again. I will be able to access real campsites at the end of some stages, including showers! Luxury! There is also the option of the odd night in a motel, although the bulk of the adventure will be in a tent and sleeping bag.
- The access to towns will mean that I will be able to buy the odd hot meal and takeaway coffee as I pass through. I have no doubt how welcome that will be after a few days of purely dehydrated/rehydrated food.
- I have organised a bounce box to be waiting for me on my rest day with some basic supplies such as shampoo. I will also be able to shop for breakfast and lunch supplies during my rest day.
- Terrain: Looking at the maps, some of the terrain is pretty rugged and remote. While I know ‘slow and steady wins the race’, doing all this with a loaded backpack adds a whole new level of challenge.
- Navigation: Further to my point above, certain stages of this walk go way off the beaten track. I will need to brush up on my map/compass reading skills.
- Water: As always, I will need to research and confirm the availability of water at each of the campsites. I suspect I will need to rely on creek water every now and then, and my Steripen will get a work out.
- Accommodation: It is hard to estimate how much this trip will cost. While the bulk of the accommodation will be low-cost or free campsites, I do not intend to miss the opportunity to enjoy a real bed and a solid roof over my head if I get the chance.
- Food: I am, as the old saying goes, handy on the tooth and a good eater at the best of times. My appetite only increases after a day’s solid walking and I will need to carefully plan for calories out/in.
- Add transport costs in there and I expect I will need to budget for around $1,200 or $75 per day.
Getting There/Getting Away
- Both Sydney and Newcastle are well-serviced by all forms of public transport. The loose plan is to bus to Sydney, walk to Newcastle and then have my significant other meet me in Newcastle for a tearful reunion. 😊
- For those aiming to walk this path as a series of day walks, you will need to do your homework as public transport connects with a lot of the stages, but not all. A good friend with a car and a willingness to drop-off and pick-up, would be ideal.
So, what do you think of this plan? Have you walked all, or part of the Great North Walk?
What is your advice for tackling a long distance hike like this one?
What: The Great North Walk crosses through a real variety of terrain from harbour views and suburban streets to pristine bush and secret rivers.
Where: The walk officially starts at the Obelisk in a small park at the corner of Loftus and Bridge Sts, in the heart of Sydney.There is nothing stopping you walking southwards from Newcastle instead.
When: Mid and late Autumn 2022.
Why: To embrace my Year of Adventure and see some gorgeous scenery at the same time.
How: I love that this walk starts with a ferry ride from Circular Quay. Talk about a cushy, and beautiful, way to start a long-distance walk.
Who: Myself and another adventurous soul who may, or may not, be talking to me by the end of the walk.
Related Posts: For a little insight into other, much larger adventures I have planned this year, read about West Australia’s Bibbulmun Track.
Read About it: For tonnes of great information and background on this path, grab your own copy of the Great North Walk Guidebook. Available from Book Depository
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