Great North walk - Lane Cove National Park

Lane Cove National Park

Overview

Passing through Lane Cove National Park, this multi-day hike offers stunning scenery across Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Newcastle. Tackle part of the track for an easy day walk.

Where
Lane Cove National Park
Distance
20km one-way
Time suggested
6 - 8hrs
Grade
Grade 3
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note

Great North walk is a mammoth multi-day hike and at 250km, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Created in 1988 to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary, the walk links Sydney with the Hunter Valley and Newcastle. It is a one-stop-shop for some of the best scenery New South Wales has to offer.

It takes about 16 days to walk the entire Great North walk and this section of the track passes through Lane Cove National Park from East Ryde to Thornleigh. You can extend your walk by starting from the Obelisk in Macquarie Place near Sydney Cove or continue on north by joining Great North walk - Berowra Valley National Park.

There are lots of scenic spots to stop for a picnic or break along the way and you’ll be blown away by the sheer beauty of the landscape. Around each corner you’ll see dramatic drops into the river valley below, rugged sandstone, dense mangrove swamps and plateaus with magnificent lookouts. You’ll most likely catch a glimpse or two of some of our native wildlife. Walk quietly to increase your chances.

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/walking-tracks/great-north-walk-lane-cove-national-park/local-alerts

Park info

  • in Lane Cove National Park in the Sydney and surrounds region
  • Lane Cove National Park is open 9am to 7pm during daylight savings (until 6pm at other times). The park may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

  • Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day. The park has pay and display machines. 

    Bus: $4.40 per adult, $2.20 per child (per day). Prior payment may be required, please phone the Lane Cove National Park Office for more information.

    Group bookings:

    Under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009, prior written approval is required for organised groups of 30 or more people planning to visit the park. Contact the park office prior to your visit.

    Buy annual pass (//pass.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/).
See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Great North walk - Lane Cove National Park.

Track grading

Grade 3

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    6 - 8hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Gentle hills

  • Distance

    20km one-way

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Great North walk – Lane Cove National Park is in Lane Cove National Park. To get there:

    • From Epping Road, turn into Pittwater Road
    • Continue for approximately 2km
    • Sugarloaf carpark is located on the left shortly after the Rene Street roundabout

    Alternatively, if beginning from Thornleigh:

    • From Pennant Hills Road, turn into The Comenarra Parkway
    • Turn into Wood Street, first on the right
    • Turn left into Short Street and follow to the end.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at Sugarloaf carpark on Pittwater Road, East Ryde and Short Street, Thornleigh. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Lane Cove National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    The crisp sunny days of autumn are perfect for packing up a picnic or barbecue hamper and heading out for a day relaxing in the sun.

    Spring

    The park is alive with new life, including ducklings learning to swim and colourful wildflowers that light up the park's walking tracks.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    20°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    43.1°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    5°C and 17°C

    Lowest recorded

    -3.5°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    July

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    253mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    River and lake safety

    The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Parramatta (10 km)

    Parramatta offers a fascinating insight into early colonial life in Australia. Don't miss a visit to Old Government House, now one of 11 Australian Convict Sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

    www.sydney.com

    Sydney City Centre (50 km)

    No trip to Sydney is complete without spending some time in the city’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s in central areas like Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens or further out in Centennial Parklands, there’s plenty of green space to go out and enjoy.

    www.sydney.com

    Wahroonga (7 km)

    Located on Sydney's upper north shore, Wahroonga is within short driving distance of Lane Cove National Park, Berowra Valley Regional Park, and the heritage-listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Australia's second-oldest national park, Ku-ring-gai Chase offers a range of recreational activities, as well as cafes and picnic areas.

    www.kmc.nsw.gov.au

    Learn more

    Great North walk - Lane Cove National Park is in Lane Cove National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Native plants and animals

    Wildflowers at Halfway Point picnic area, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    The landscape of Lane Cove National Park is remarkable given that it sits within a large urban environment. You'll see eucalypt forests, casuarina woodland and saltwater wetlands, each of which is home to a range of different plants, animals and birds. Echidnas are mainly nocturnal, but sometimes venture out during the day when the weather is mild you'll have to be quick and quiet to catch a glimpse though, the slightest noise will have them curling up into a ball for protection and camouflage. If you're walking along the river and you think you've spied something that looks a little unusual, it could very well be an eastern water dragon - look for its distinctive black stripes and crest of enlarged spiny scales along its body.

    • Great North walk - Lane Cove National Park Passing through Lane Cove National Park, this multi-day hike offers stunning scenery across Sydney, the Hunter Valley and Newcastle. Tackle part of the track for an easy day walk.

    Sydney’s backyard

    Lane Cove River Tourist Park – cabins, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Lane Cove National Park sits on the doorstep of Australia’s largest city, offering a wealth of opportunities for Sydneysiders and visitors to experience nature and spend time with family and friends. With opportunities for bushwalking and biking, kayaking and boating, picnicking and playing, you're guaranteed to want to visit again and again and it’s so close that you can. Did you know you can even go camping at Lane Cove National Park? For bush camping in an urban environment, head to Lane Cove River Tourist Park on the south western side of the park.

    • Carter Creek picnic area Book Carter Creek picnic area for your next celebration. There are shaded picnic tables and gas barbecues. Plus it's right by the river.
    • Pennant Hills West Pymble fire trail Ride the Pennant Hills to West Pymble fire trail for scenic views of Sydney and bushland. There's plenty of variety with technical parts and steep sections.

    Connection to Country

    Illoura picnic area, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Lane Cove National Park is part of the traditional land of the Guringai People whose Country extended from around Newcastle to Sydney Harbour. The Guringai people lived primarily by the water; fishing and hunting in the waters and hinterlands and harvesting food from surrounding bushland. The park protects a number of ancient Aboriginal sites today, some of which you may notice while exploring the park.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • 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.

    • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

      The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

    • Closeup of a laughing kookaburra's head and body. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

      Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

      Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.

    • 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.

    • Short-beaked echidna in Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

      Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

      One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

    • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

      The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

    • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

      The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

    Plants

    • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

      An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

    • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

      Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

      Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

    • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

      Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

    • Flannel flowers in Wollemi National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

      Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi)

      The delicate flannel flower is so named because of the soft woolly feel of the plant. Growing in the NSW south coast region, extending to Narrabri in the Central West and up to south-east Queensland, its white or pink flowers bloom all year long, with an extra burst of colour in the spring.

    • A red triangle slug on the trunk of a scribbly gum tree in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

      Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

      Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

    • Wonga Wonga vine. Photo: Barry Collier

      Wonga wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana)

      The wonga wonga vine is a widespread vigorous climber usually found along eastern Australia. A variation of the plant occurs in the central desert, where it resembles a sprawling shrub. One of the more common Australian native plants, the wonga wonga vine produces bell-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring, followed by a large oblong-shaped seed pod.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    School excursions (1)

    Great North Walk - Lane Cove National Park, Lane Cove National Park. Photo: John Spencer