|Maps:||LPI Parramatta River 9130-3N 1:25000|
The Great North Walk runs for 250km from Sydney to Newcastle, through many national parks and reserves. The first section of the walk passes through the leafy streets of Woolwich, Hunters Hill and Ryde, and a number of small bushland reserves on the banks of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers. The walking is fairly easy, though there are a few short steep climbs from the rivers up to the ridge and back again.
The walk starts at the Valentia St Wharf at Woolwich, though technically if you are doing the Great North Walk end to end, the starting point is the Obelisk in Macquarie Place, on Bridge and Loftus Streets in Sydney. For most people, a ferry from Circular Quay is probably the best way to the start, though there are buses from Gladesville (538) and the City (505) that terminate at the Wharf. Check on transportnsw.info for detail on public transport options.
From 09 Jul 2005, last checked 13 Jan 2019
The walk as described finishes at the Lane Cove NP entrance at Delhi Rd, where buses lead to Chatswood and Macquarie Park Stations. It is possible to walk via the Rail to River Track to Chatswood. Also, there are various earlier options to finish the walk, including spots on Ryde Rd or Epping Rd.
There are numerous side tracks and road junctions. Most tracks and junctions are reasonably well marked with Great North Walk markers. These consist of beige posts with arrows in suburban areas, and green posts with red arrows in bushland. Keep an eye out for them, and if you don't see one for some time, check maps and location for whether you're on the right track.
Walk up Valentia St, left on to The Point Rd, and left on to Gale St. At the next corner, veer left into the reserve to Woolwich Lookout, with views from the top of the cliff above above Woolwich Dock, and then continue along the path to the bottom corner. Veer left on to Edgecliff Rd, follow this around to a 4-way intersection, and cross over into Alfred St.
Alternatively, from just before Woolwich Lookout, you can head down the Goat Paddock and walk around the Dock and through Morts Reserve and the Horse Paddock, and rejoin the walk at Alfred St.
At the end of Alfred St, keep right on the track that leads up the steps into Kelly's Bush, the only significant area of bushland on the lower Parramatta River. It was saved from destruction in the 1970s by local activists and union green bans.
After emerging from the bush, continue straight on Prince George Parade, take the first right on to Gladstone Ave, and then left on to Woolwich Rd. Cross and head down Serpentine Rd. Follow the path at the end down and turn sharp left at the bottom on to Vernon St. A short way along, where the road widens, turn right on to a path between houses that leads down to Mornington Reserve, above the Lane Cove River. Turn left and follow the reserve around the back of the houses, and then left up steps back to Vernon St. Turn right on Vernon St, following it back to Woolwich Rd, and turn right again.
At the next intersection, turn right into Futuna Lane, and then left at the T-intersection with Futuna St. Turn right on to Crescent St, and then first left into Garrick Ave (the sign may be somewhat obscured). Follow the path at the end as it zigzags left then right and emerges on Passy Ave. Turn right on to Passy Ave, left at the T-intersection with Ambrose St and right on to the main road (Ferry St) which becomes Alexandra St as it turns the corner to the left. Pass the historic post office and Hunters Hill Town Hall, and then turn right down Mount St as the main road swings left.
At the river, turn left on a track that passes the Hunters Hill High School, and eventually emerges on Reiby Rd. Turn right, and then as the road swings right, keep straight ahead on the path that passes under Fig Tree Bridge and through St Malo Reserve on the other side of the bridge. Where the path hits the road, turn left and then first right on to Figtree Rd. The official route follows Figtree Rd to Ryde Rd and then right. However, it's probably more pleasant to turn right off Figtree Rd on to the much quieter Abigail St, and follow that around to Ryde Rd.
Either way, turn right off Ryde Rd at Boronia Ave, next to Boronia Park, and follow the road to the end where the bush track starts. A short section of track emerges on the road near the end of Princes St. Turn left and then right on to another bush track at a sign board a short way up the hill.
The next section is pleasant walking through bushland along the banks of the lower Lane Cove River. There are rocky outcrops, casuarina forests, mangroves and boardwalk sections. Ignore the occasional minor track that heads up to the streets to the left. Near the junction of Buffalo Creek and the Lane Cove River there is a Mangrove Viewpoint. The track emerges from the bush near Pains Rd and continues along to Buffalo Creek Reserve, where there are toilets and picnic tables.
A large signboard off to the right marks the spot where the track leaves Buffalo Creek Reserve. Buffalo Creek is crossed on a boardwalk and bridge through the mangroves, and climbs up to a track junction. Turn right and follow the track around Sugarloaf Hill. At the next intersection, with a fire trail, turn left, though there is an optional out and back detour to the right to a picnic area on the foreshore at Sugarloaf Point.
The fire trail heads up to Pittwater Road. Pick up a track to the right just before the road, which follows the road closely for a while, and then drops down to cross Kittys Creek on another boardwalk through mangroves. Following this is a delightful section of bush through Boobajool Reserve, with a ferny understory and Sydney Red Gums perched on the slopes below small sandstone clifflines. The track then pops out of the bush at Magdala Park. Head to the car park and then alongside the entry drive towards the electricity transmission tower, to pick up the footpath leading down to the footbridge across the Lane Cove River, emerging on Epping Rd.
Turn left down the hill on the footpath and cross back back over the river on the Epping Road bridge. Just after the river crossing, look for steps leading down to the left. These lead to a track that passes under the bridge, and around into the bush on the north eastern side. The track descends to an old picnic area known as Fairyland Pleasure Grounds. This used to be a popular private picnic area in the early to mid 1900s. Little is left of the infrastructure, which used to include a wharf, playground and dance hall, but flat grassy areas can still be identified close to the river, and exotic trees such as palms and camphor laurel stand out from the natives.
When the track emerges from the bush, turn left up Quebec Rd, and then left again at the top of the hill on to a branch of Quebec Rd and past the Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens. At the end of the road, a track heads down through the bush to a large rock outcrop above Delhi Rd, and then down to River Ave. Veer left on to the service road to Whitefire Grill, and pass under the road on a track to emerge at the park entrance, the finish point for the walk.