How it all started

In the early 1980s, Garry McDougall & Leigh Shearer-Heriot spent many of their weekends exploring the bushland between Sydney and Newcastle. They were looking for existing tracks they could use to create one long journey linking the two great cities.

In 1986, after a lot of work, the project received formal support and financial assistance from the NSW Bicentennial Council. The NSW Lands Department (currently the Land and Property Management Authority, or LPMA) took on the management responsibility and injected further money. Other government departments and councils also got onboard and provided significant financial support.

In 1987, the advisory committee selected the name Great North Walk. The name was derived from the Great North Road, which was built by convicts between 1826 and 1836 and linked Sydney Town to Newcastle.

The walk was opened as part of the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations and the LPMA continue to do a great job managing the walk. They estimate that more than 40,000 people walk part of the GNW each year.

Learn more about where the GNW lies and how to get there or choose between different types of ways you can walk it.