The Great North Walk is a 250km trail that goes from Sydney to Newcastle (or from Newcastle to Sydney, if you are so inclined). It starts at the Obelisk in Macquarie Place, just south of Circular Quay. It can be broken down into about 20 segments, and you can walk just a segment of it if you’d like, and branch off to other trails that link to the Great North Walk. It’s incredibly well signposted, with yellow / beige posts with a red trekking stick figure at junctions directing you where to go. Given that some of it runs through suburban parts of Sydney, you may have already noticed these around!
The map below is an interactive map that shows the full extent of the Great North Walk. You can zoom in and out and access this on your mobile. The data can be downloaded as an
geojson format, so you can load it on various mobile GPS programs. It’s completely for free and open source.
The map used is OpenStreetMap. If you are on Android, download OSMAnd, and you can use it as an offline map in flight mode, and track your GPS activity as you trek. It’s also great because unlike other maps, it has details down to the public bathrooms, campsites, little trail shortcuts, and drinking water.
Thanks to the OpenStreetMap community and contributors, this map was very easily created, and hopefully this will make it more discoverable to people searching online. The OpenStreetMap GPX route file is taken directly from OSM, and is data available under the open-source ODbL license. You can check out the route on this dedicated hiking trail OSM website. The GeoJSON derivatives and checkpoints are created by me and released as CC-BY-SA 4.0.
This article is a work in progress, as I will update the map as I walk them to verify that the paths are actually correct. Paths may differ to due weather or construction work.
I’ve also described some of the interesting features I’ve come across below.
Macquarie Place Obelisk to Circular Quay (300m)
The Macquarie Place Obelisk was placed as a method of measurement for Sydney’s roads. Circular Quay is also quite a beautiful place where you might want to wander and buy some fish and chips. There’s also the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Circular Quay to Hunters Hill (4km)
Take the ferry (on wharf 5, in 2018) that goes to Woolich (4km does not include the ferry ride!). Between Garrick Avenue and Passy Avenue you will discover a speakeasy nursery that sells bonsai trees and topiary. The owner’s cat is cute.
Hunters Hill to Pymble
This is when it gets interesting as you enter the Lane Cove National Park and walk alongside Lane Cove river. You’ll see plenty of fascinating mangroves, waterbirds, and a few scenic sights along the way. As you first meet Pittwater road, keep a look out for roadside fruit sellers, as it may be absolutely delicious and a juicy mango might be just the thing you need after a few hours of walking. You will enter a few parks where you can top up on water and have a break.