It's time to explore your adventurous side... 20 great walks just perfect for everyone. Explore Upper Hunter Country by foot and take in magnificent scenery and historic buildings.
1. Aberdeen Town Walk
Historic Aberdeen was one of the first settlements in the Upper Hunter Valley. By 1840 there was a mill and an inn near the banks of the river (both still exist today). By 1866 the town had a post office, a school, 3 inns, some shops, a mill and 2 churches. Today you can still see much of the earlier Aberdeen in a walk around the town. Plaques set in the footpaths and on the buildings identify these historic places from Aberdeen's past. Sixteen are listed in the brochure and map available at Aberdeen Information Centre. Another 8 are listed on Aberdeen town walk page in www.upperhuntertourism.com.au
Class 1. Distance: Variable
2. Denman Town Walk
Class 5. Distance: Variable
3. Merriwa Historical Town
Walk Early settlers in search of good grazing land arrived in the Merriwa district in the late 1820s. The first land sales of town lots were held on the 10th and 15th October 1840. The first church was built in 1850; the first school (private) in 1849; state 1850; the hospital in 1883; the railway line came to Merriwa in 1917 and electricity in 1937. Twenty-six points of historic interest and map can be downloaded from the Merriwa Town Walk page in www.upperhuntertourism.com.au or obtained from the Merriwa Visitor Centre in Vennacher Street. Phone: 02 6548 2607
Class 5. Distance: Variable
4. Murrurundi Town Walk
Murrurundi Township was set out by the Government in 1840. Murrurundi Race Club and racecourse were formed during 1841 and the town’s first church, St Joseph’s Catholic Church, was built in that year. The first private school in this area was built in 1843 and the seventh national school in Australia was built in 1849. Murrurundi, in 1867, had a population of around 350 people. A number of its buildings are now listed by the National Trust. Twenty-six points of historic interest and map can be downloaded from the Murrurundi Town Walk page in www.upperhuntertourism.com.au or obtained from the Murrurundi Visitor Centre in Mayne Street. Phone: 02 6546 6466
Class 5. Distance: Variable
5. Muswellbrook Heritage Town Walk
Class 5. Distance: Variable
6. Scone Town Walk
The town of Scone was laid out in 1837, in the area between the Kingdon Ponds and the Great North Road - now the New England Highway. Thirty-six points of historic interest and map can be downloaded from the Scone Town Walk page in www.upperhuntertourism.com.au or obtained from the Scone Visitor Centre in Kelly Street (New England Highway) Phone: 02 6545 1526
Class 5. Distance: Variable
7. Burning Mountain (Wingen)
Start at Burning Mountain Rest Area carpark and follow a well-constructed track to the active vent. Panels along the track give information about the area, and there are conveniently placed seats to rest or look at the views. See the geological effects of the naturally burning coal seam and its effect on the local plant communities. The seam is currently burning 30 metres below the surface and moving south at just over one metre each year.
Class 3. Distance: 4.6k return
8. Careys Peak (Barrington Tops NP)
Carey's Peak is one of the highest points on the Barrington Tops plateau (1544m). It overlooks the Allyn River Valley and ranges of the Barrington wilderness that run to the south. The plains of the Hunter Valley and high peaks of the Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Area, and even the sand dunes on the coast north of Newcastle are visible on a clear day! The track is clearly marked. However, it is a serious walk because of the altitude, distance and risk of rain, snow, cold and fog. Start from Junction Pools on Barrington Trail. Vehicles can only drive to Junction Pools. Please note that Barrington Trail is seasonally closed to vehicles. To walk the extra distance along Barrington Trail, starting from the Barrington Tops Forest Road, add 16.5k, or 5 hours.
1. Junction Pools - Carey's Peak 8k; 2.5 hours one way
2. Forest Rd - Junction Pools 16.5k; 5 hours one way
9. Glants Leap (Sandy Hollow)
The imposing sandstone cliffs that form Giant's Leap, offer an exhilarating and rewarding climb. A return trip to the top takes 11/2 hrs or if you’re not feeling too energetic, a 10 min walk still gives fine views over the valley. The walk is not signposted but there are a number of trodden trails to follow. Keep the village of Sandy Hollow in your sights to keep your bearings. The summit has views to Mt Dangar, Goulburn River National Park, the Bylong Valley Way, vineyards, farmland and untouched woodland. The area is of significant interest because of it’s biodiversity and hence is frequented by nature lovers and adventurers.
Class 6. Distance: 2k
10. Honeysuckle Forest Trail (Barrington Tops NP)
From the Honeysuckle Day Use Area on the Barrington Tops Forest Road, this sheltered circuit walk loops through magnificent Antarctic Beech forest and thickets of soft tree fern. It's a special delight in the misty rain so common on the Tops. The abrupt boundary of the beech forest, which here hugs the moister southern slope of the plateau, is probably the result of bushfire burning up to its edge. The surrounding open forest has an understorey of tall mountain banksia, also called honeysuckle, hence the picnic area's name.
Class 2. Distance: 1k; 30mins
11. Lake Foreshores (Lake Glenbawn)
An easy walk in short sections, or kilometres, of waterfront hiking in natural bushland – the home of a host of kangaroos and birds of every size, tiny wrens, brilliant parrots of every colour and wedge tail eagles. Add some reasonably strenuous scrambles to surrounding hilltops to enjoy the vista of crystal clear lake waters that tumble down from the mile high Barrington Top. Take the fishing rod along – you might just hook a huge golden perch. Kiosk and toilet facilities on the eastern foreshore. Call at the Park office for more details Ph: (02) 65 43 7193 (refer also the Glenbawn Wall Walk).
Class 6. Distance: Variable
12. Walk the Wall (Lake Glenbawn)
From the top of the Dam Wall, there is a magic view both upstream across the Lake to surrounding mountains and downstream to the south to glorious farmlands along the Hunter River Valley. Start your Great Wall Of Glenbawn walk on the south western side of the Wall just beyond the Park administration centre. A 250 metre paved road leads up to the top of the Wall – once there, the walk is along a flat paved surface of approximately 900 metres. Summer walking may be very hot along the paved surface, so make sure you take a hat and water and the camera. For more information contact Glenbawn State Park office Phone: 65 43 7193 (Refer also to Glenbawn Foreshores Walk).
Class 2. Distance: 1.15k; one way
13. Lees Pinch (Goulburn River NP)
The Lees Pinch Lookout walking track is a well marked and constructed 500 metre loop with three lookouts providing extensive views over the rugged sandstone country of the park to the east and south. A second well-marked 800m loop walking track with three lookouts provides exhilarating, extensive views over the park.
Class 2. Distance: 1. 500m 2. 800m
14. Paradise Park - Eye of the Needle (Murrurundi)
The walk starts at a signboard at the far end of Paradise Park (on Paradise Rd, approximately 1k past Murrurundi Golf Club). It is a constant uphill climb, through a jumble of massive granite boulders and on into the ‘Eye of the Needle’, a deep narrow crack in the cliff, almost so tight you can barely turn around. Continue upwards where you can choose to head either left or right to a rocky outcrop, overlooking the town below.
Class 3-4. Distance: 2.5k; 1.5 hours
15. Phipps Cutting (Wollemi NP)
A well marked trail starts on the northern side of the picnic area and crosses the dry watercourse to climb up some steps onto the old coach road with its drystone walls. About 200m from the picnic area, a wooden bench overlooks the road and Goulburn River below, with the hills of Goulburn River National Park beyond. Walk several hundred metres further east above the River until the old road descends into the next valley where it leaves Wollemi National Park and enters a Travelling Stock Reserve, before rejoining the Bylong Valley Way.
Class 3 Distance: 1. 800m same track out and back to Phipps Lookout; or 2. 2k same track out to TSR and back to Phipps Lookout; no side tracks or alternative options.
16. Polblue Fall (Barrington Top NP)
A short walk through the bush from the Polblue Falls Picnic Area on Tubrabucca Road gives views of the cascades which run with pure clear water that forms some of the headwaters of the Hunter River. After heavy rain the Falls roar with extensive flows as they run off the Barrington Plateau to the valley below. You can also access the Falls from Horse Swamp Camping Area via a short 150m walk.
Class 3. Distance: 250m one way; return the same way
17. Polblue Swamp (Barrington Tops NP)
A circuit walk around the Polblue Swamp provides an enjoyable introduction to the wetlands and high altitude forests of the Barrington Tops Plateau. Start from either Polblue camping area or Polblue day use area on the Barrington Tops Forest Road and walk in either direction. A timber walkway across Polblue Creek connects the camping area to the picnic area. The track is narrow and soft underfoot, and often wet as it winds in and out of the forest to the edge of the swamp. Please keep to the track as the swamp edge is vulnerable to trampling. From the forest edge, grasses give way to a dense growth of sedges crowding the sphagnum moss of the swamp. You may see rare ground orchids along the track in spring and summer. This is a good walk for spotting grey kangaroos and perhaps a wombat - or certainly their square-shaped droppings!
Class 2. Distance: 2k; 1 hour
18. The Drip/Hands on Rock (Goulburn River)
Take the Ulan/Mudgee Rd 9km west of Cassilis on the Golden Highway
1. Hands on Rock - approx 18km from turn off turn, right at the sign - 400 metres to a clearing alongside large rock formations. Leave your car at the parking area and walk approximately 500 metres along the track to the overhanging rocks where you can see the stencilled hands painted by aborigines hundreds of years ago.
2. The Drip Picnic Area - 2.3 km further south on the Ulan Rd, just past the Goluburn River , turn left at small signpost. Leave the car. The single file track follows the river along the bottom side of the ridge that leads to The Drip with its fern covered rock formations and water dripping from the rock face, next to the Goulburn River. Hopping stones/blocks are in place through a few shallow gullies and overall the walk is fairly flat with shade patches. The walk is picturesque with rock formations developing the closer you get to The Drip.
Class 2. Distance: 1. 1k return; 2. 4km return
19. The Firs (Stewarts Brook SF)
The Walk starts at The Firs Picnic Area on Barrington Tops Forest Way. It leads through a 1960s trial planting of pine species including Radiata pine, Mexican pine, Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. The Firs has become a haven for lyrebirds who feed on insects found in the pine litter. This is an exotic, dark place with very little light reaching the forest floor, even on sunny days.
Class 2. Distance 250m; 20 mintues
20. Wash Pools (Towarri NP)
From the Washpools Picnic Area take the steps down to Middle Brook. Follow the edge of the creek upstream for about 250m until you come to a natural square-shaped cutting in the rocks. Sheep graziers used to wash their sheep here prior to shearing, hence the name. Take care as the rocks can get slippery if wet. The water is usually crystal clear and you can see little fish and tadpoles. There are a number of pools big enough to have a dip in hot weather and children always love splashing about in the shallow sections. A variety of birds can be heard as you walk along.
Class 3. Distance: 250m one; return the same way; 10 minutes
Class 1: All access path with a hard, broad surface suitable for wheelchair access.
Class 2: Graded path (generally a hardened surface) suitable for inexperienced bushwalkers.
Class 3: Walking track suitable for inexperienced bushwalkers. May include steep slopes and unstable surfaces.
Class 4: Hiking track (unmodified surface, limited facilities) suitable for moderate skill level bushwalkers)
Class 5: Marked route
Class 6: Unmarked route