Convict history of Wisemans Ferry

Dharug National Park

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Overview

Join a NSW National Parks guide on this 6km guided tour. You'll learn about the incredibly tough conditions and hardship endured by the road gang convicts of the early 19th century.

When
Wednesday 12 April 2023, 10am to 3pm. Meet at 9.45am.
Accessibility
No wheelchair access
Grade
Medium. Basic level of fitness required. Suitable for adults and children 15 years and over.
Price

Adult $20 per person. Child (15-17 years) $15 per person. Concession (Student, Australian pension, Veterans Affairs and Seniors card holders) $15 per person. Family (2 adults, 2 children) $60.

Meeting point
Park opposite Wisemans Ferry east bank entrance, River Road, Wisemans Ferry.
Bookings
Bookings required. Phone 1300 072 757 for more information or book online.
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Step back in time and listen to stories of suffering, adventure, and humour. Learn how convicts constructed of the Old Great North Road using hand tools and bullocks. You’ll see towering road support buttresses, hewn sandstone blocks, culverts, drains and a sandstone quarry.

We’ll visit 2 very different sites on this walk. First we’ll visit the Wisemans Ferry historic ‘Stockade’, which accommodated the convicts who built the Old Great North Road. 

Then we’ll make our way to Devines Hill to see the incredible workmanship of the convicts and dramatic ‘Hangmans Rock’. This part of the Old Great North Road is one of only 11 Australian convict sites to be World-heritage listed.

Bring at least 1 litre of drinking water, lunch and snacks. It’s a good idea to wear comfortable, enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen and all-weather clothing.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/guided-tours/convict-history-of-wisemans-ferry/local-alerts

Bookings

Operated by

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  • NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Convict history of Wisemans Ferry.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Sydney, follow Old Northern Road to Wisemans Ferry. From the Central Coast, follow Wisemans Ferry Road and cross the river at Wisemans Ferry.

    Public transport to this area is limited.

    Parking

    Street parking is available.

    Maps and downloads

    Accessibility

    Disability access level - no wheelchair access

    Not wheelchair-accessible.

    Learn more

    Convict history of Wisemans Ferry 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.

    • Convict history of Wisemans Ferry Join a NSW National Parks guide on this 6km guided tour. You'll learn about the incredibly tough conditions and hardship endured by the road gang convicts of the early 19th century.
    • 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

    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, Dorrigo National Park. Photo: Rob Cleary

      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.

    • Bare-nosed wombat. Photo: Keith Gillett

      Bare-nosed wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

      A large, squat marsupial, the Australian bare-nosed 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, Daleys Point walking track, Bouddi National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)