Old Great North Road bike ride
Dharug National Park
Mountain bike or walk the Old Great North Road. It’s an important piece of Australia’s history and part of the Convict Sites of Australia World Heritage Area.
- Dharug National Park
- 43km one-way
- Time suggested
- 1 day
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, suitable clothing, sunscreen
- Please note
- This is an important heritage area; please leave convict sites and the landscape and vegetation of Dharug National Park as you find them
- Take plenty of drinking water with you as water is scarce. Water taken from tanks must be boiled or treated before drinking
- Please take your rubbish with you
- Please observe all fire restrictions, use the fireplaces provided and take care when visiting the park in the fire danger period between October and April
- If you’re riding a mountain bike along the road, please keep to the Old Great North Road, consider walkers, and walk your bike down Devine’s Hill
Dharug National Park contains part of the 43km stretch of the convict-built Old Great North Road. Built between 1826 and 1836, it contains the oldest surviving stone bridges in mainland Australia, including Clares Bridge and Circuit Flat Bridge.
If you plan to walk the road, it’s best to allow two to three days for the whole track, although you can break it up into shorter sections for an easier walk. You can also ride the road – allow about a day to do so. There are plenty of places to stop along the way for a rest, birdwatching or picnicking.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/cycling-trails/old-great-north-road-bike-ride/local-alerts
- in Dharug National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
Dharug National Park is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
All the practical information you need to know about Old Great North Road bike ride.
Getting there and parking
The trailhead for the Old Great North Road is about 500m to the west of the Wisemans Ferry crossing, on the north side of the Hawkesbury river in Dharug National Park. You can park on the southern side and take the ferry across.
Parking is available for the Old Great North Road bike ride on the southern side of the Hawkesbury river at Wisemans Ferry.
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Dharug National Park. Here are some of the highlights.
The water has warmed up nicely by late summer so autumn is great for kayaking and canoeing along the Hawkesbury river.
The spring months are perfect for enjoying more strenuous activities in the park, like the longer walks and mountain bike riding. It's also the perfect time to see wildflowers.
The park is still stunning in winter and walking on sunny days is very pleasant. It can be cold at night so bring warm gear if you're camping.
Maps and downloads
Peats Ridge (58 km)
Located on the NSW Central Coast, just north of Hawkesbury River, Peats Ridge is close to Popran National Park, where you can enjoy a spot of bushwalking, cycling, river fishing and paddling, and explore the Aboriginal history of the area.
Windsor (43 km)
Explore Windsor's historic buildings, including St Matthew's Anglican Church (1817), Windsor Court House (1822), and the Macquarie Arms Hotel (1815). Bring a picnic or your boat and enjoy the beautiful riverside parks in Windsor including Howe Park and Governor Phillip Park.
Old Great North Road bike ride is in Dharug National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
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.
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
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.
- Devines Hill loop Head to Devines Hill loop in Dharug National Park, near Wisemans Ferry this weekend for a bike ride or walk along the historic World Heritage-listed Devines Hill loop.
- Old Great North Road - World Heritage walk Old Great North Road – World Heritage walk highlights a historic convict-built road with scenic river views, via Finchs Line, in Dharug National Park.
Plants and animals you may see
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 (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 (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 (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.
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.