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Great North Walk Part 1: Circular Quay to Wondabyne Train Station

Overview

This walk covered the first 100 km of the Great North Walk, which I did in late June 2020 with the Trekker’s Friend. The Great North Walk is 260 km in total. I hope to go back and do the rest of the walk soon.

While I could use the Trekker’s Friend to carry my pack for some of the way, most of this part of the Great North Walk is not suitable for wheels.

Each day

Day 1 was the 31 km between Circular Quay and Thornleigh railway station. I did it in reverse (train to Thornleigh then walked to Woolwich, then ferry to Circular Quay). Was fast and easy walking, with the Riverside Cafe along the way to get lunch. Stayed at an Airbnb place near the station. (note: I actually walked Day 1 last – long story).

This day is interesting because often you are in forest that feels quite remote in some ways, but most of the time you have the roar of traffic somewhere in the background.

Day 2 was 25 km from Thornleigh station to Sams Creek, a few km north of the Crosslands Campsite. Got water here by going a little up the creek to get beyond the tidal zone. Be careful where you camp here – I had to move my tent twice in the night as the tide came in!

It is odd to have part of a bushwalk going through a suburb, and odder still, when you feel you are somewhere quite remote, to look up and see the verandah of someone’s house above you – both of these things happen on this part of the walk.

Day 3 was the 23.9 km to Brooklyn Train Station, from where I took a train to Woy Woy and stayed for the night. Hardest day – slow and strenuous with lots of ups and downs – had to walk the last couple of hours in the pitch dark, which was OK as it is on a dirt road down to Brooklyn and I was wheeling my pack which made it a lot easier.

Lunch was at Cowan, at the Great North Cafe – highly recommended. It rained all morning so I didn’t get as many photos.

Day 4 I got a bus from Woy Woy to Patonga and walked the 20km to Wondabyn Station, then got train out. Good to do this on a weekday as there are more early buses to Patonga.

Summary

Overall the walk was very unusual and interesting, as it goes through Sydney and its outskirts. It’s great to be able to have lunch in a cafe and have occasional public transport access. Will write more when I finish the walk.