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Convict Footprints on the Old Great North Road

Dharug National Park

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Learn more about why this park is special

Convict Footprints on the Old Great North Road is in Dharug National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Aboriginal heritage

Devines Hill, Dharug National Park. Photo: Nick Cubbin

Dharug National Park is the traditional Country of the Dharug Aboriginal people. Abundant in animal, plant and bird life, the area was a rich source of food, medicines and shelter. The park's diverse landscapes and all they contain feature in all aspects of Aboriginal culture and are associated with Dreaming stories and cultural learning that is still passed on today.

Rugged beauty

Devines Hill loop, Dharug National Park. Photo: Nick Cubbin

From the rugged bushland containing gang-gang cockatoos, satin bowerbirds and Lewin's honeyeaters to the sparkling waters of the creeks and the rich colours of the sandstone cliffs and formations, Dharug National Park offers a diverse range of landscapes. Bring your bike, bushwalk, camp by the creek, canoe on the Hawkesbury or make the most of the backdrop with your camera, there is so much to explore.

Step into Australia’s past

The Old Great North Road walk, Dharug National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

Dharug National Park contains the Old Great North Road, one of 11 historic sites which form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property. It's a spectacular example of early colonial engineering and demonstrates the use of convict labour; up to 720 convicts - some in chains - worked on the road, which spanned 264km, connecting Sydney to the settlements of the Hunter Valley. Only 43km of the road remains relatively intact, running from Wisemans Ferry in the south to Mount Manning in the north and includes the oldest surviving stone bridges in mainland Australia. It makes a great walk to explore over two or three days or an exhilarating day's cycle.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

    With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

  • Australian brush turkey, Sea Acres National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami)

    The Australian brush turkey, also known as bush or scrub turkey, can be found in rainforests along eastern NSW. With a striking red head, blue-black plumage and booming call, these distinctive Australian birds are easy to spot while bird watching in several NSW national parks.

  • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

    A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

  •  Lace monitor. Photo: Lucas Boyd

    Lace monitor (Varanus varius)

    One of Australia’s largest lizards, the carnivorous tree-dwelling lace monitor, or tree goanna, can grow to 2m in length and is found in forests and coastal tablelands across eastern Australia. These Australian animals are typically dark blue in colour with whitish spots or blotches.

Plants

  • Gymea lily. Photo: Simone Cottrell

    Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa)

    The magnificent Gymea lily is one of the most unusual Australian native plants, found only along the coast and surrounding bushland of the Sydney Basin, from Newcastle to Wollongong. In spring this giant lily shoots out spectacular red flowers that can reach heights of 2-4m.

Look out for...

Gymea lily

Doryanthes excelsa

Gymea lily. Photo: Simone Cottrell

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (2)

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Man walking on the 11km walking track. Photo: John Yurasek