Hiking the Great North Walk
The complete bush-walking trail was opened for the Bicentennial in 1988, since when the NSW Department of Lands (now the Land and Property Management Authority) has retained responsibility for maintaining The Great North Walk. The single best resource is the Land and Property Management Authority information and map set (see also Wildwalks). Download e-trails and GNW Guide and Rockart guide to your iphone or Android. All-in-one-trip this Walk will take around 10 days, although in 2009 a group of three are said to have done the whole Walk in 66 hours.
Record Attempt Fastest Great North Walk
Starting at 1 a.m. Sat 13th November 2010 at Queen's Wharf, Newcastle, Phil Murphy and Andrew Hewat set out to try to break the 66-hour record for completing the Great North Walk including the GNW100 miler from Teralba. They aimed to run a total of 272 km and could be followed live on their SPOT Tracker webpage (see map). Unfortunately, the heat and exhaustion beat them and they threw in the towel at Berowra Waters. Good luck next time, guys!
Some safety tips to enhance your enjoyment of hiking along the Great North Walk:
* Let someone know where you’re going and approximately when you expect to be back;
* Make sure you have an up-to-date map;
* Check the weather forecast, possible fire danger and, where necessary, tides and river flood status;
* Allow plenty of time to finish the walk in daylight;
* Wear good walking boots;
* Pack extra water (always) and food in case of unexpected delays;
* In fire seasons, be aware of outbreaks, escape routes and emergency instructions;
* Watch out for falling branches and rocks, uneven or slippery surfaces, and cliff edges;
* Keep to tracks and stay behind safety fences;
* On longer walks, especially outside urban areas, take a GPS or compass, a space blanket, a first aid kit, raincoats, warm clothing, plastic bags for rubbish and torches;
* Long pants tucked into socks and long-sleeved shirts help avoid hitchhikers (e.g. ticks and leeches);
* Take a way of communicating e.g. mobile (or IPERB);
* Light-coloured clothing and a broad-brimmed hat are useful for noticing unwelcome insects etc.;
* Don’t feed or touch native animals and leave your dog at home;
* Take a small towel for sweat and wet creek crossings;
* If you spray boots and socks with insect repellent (against leeches), do not splash through water as this transfers the poison to the environment.
A full, printable list of safe bushwalking suggestions can be found on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.
Sometimes walkers notice discrepancies between the Land and Property Management Authority maps and the actual route. The trail is evolving and has altered several times for a variety of reasons, including access rights, slippages, new bridges and so on.
Here is your opportunity to advise all GNW walkers of observed differences. However, the Land and Property Management Authority remains the prime source of advice for undertaking The Great North Walk.
The Great North Walk is a trail developed by bushwalkers for everyone. A history of the development of the trails and their combination into the one great walk of 250 km between Sydney and Newcastle can be found in Gary McDougall’s and Leigh Shearer-Heriot’s 1988 book ‘The Great North Walk’ (now out of print). This describes the story of the walk’s creation from their proposal for a ‘Sydney to Hunter Track’ to an award-winning Australian Bicentennial project.
Here are some other useful websites:
Life's an Adventure
Trek and Travel
Kevin's Wilderness Journeys