Great North walk - Watagans National Park

Watagans National Park

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Overview

The section of Great North walk in Watagans National Park features great scenic lookouts and wonderful birdwatching. It is best suited to experienced bushwalkers.

Where
Watagans National Park
Distance
10km one-way
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade
Grade 5
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
What to
bring
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water, snacks, binoculars
Please note
  • This park is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well-prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.
  • The walking opportunities in this park are suitable for experienced bushwalkers who are comfortable undertaking self-reliant hiking.
  • It's a good idea to bring a topographic map and compass, or a GPS.

Great North walk is a much-loved, iconic bushwalk that was created in order to celebrate the Bicentennial year of 1988. It travels all the way from Sydney to Newcastle, following through not only Watagans National Park, but also Jilliby State Conservation Area and Brisbane Water National Park. Walkers can opt to enjoy short sections of it or do the entire thing in around 14 days.

The section that falls within the Watagans travels along Georges Road in the northern section of the park. Here, you can enjoy astonishing views to the north from Narrow Place lookout out over Quorrobolong to Ellalong, Cessnock and Kurri Kurri and a section of bushland alive with wonderful birdlife. The walk is best suited to experienced hikers.

A nearby campsite on private property, known as Barraba Trig, is available to walkers. Just be sure to bring your own firewood.

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-watagans-national-park/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

  • in Watagans National Park in the North Coast region
  • Watagans National Park is always open, but may have to close at times due to poor weather, roads closures or high fire danger.

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Track grading

Grade 5

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

    2 - 3hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Limited signage

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    10km one-way

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Very experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Great North walk is on Georges Road in the northern precinct of Watagans National Park. To get there:

    • Take Mount Faulk Road for approximately 8km from the park boundary
    • Turn left onto Georges Road

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is limited, as Georges Road is a narrow road. The most appropriate access is via walking the broader Great North walk.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Watagans National Park.

    Spring

    Camp at Gap Creek or Bangalow campground and enjoy a campfire as the sun sets.

    Summer

    Cooling off at Boarding House Dam is especially popular during summer months Enjoy the moist and cool Circuit walking track .

    Winter

    Late winter sees the bloom of Illawara flame trees which can be seen across the valley from Gap Creek lookout Check out the views from the various lookouts, while the air is crisp and clean .

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    16°C and 30°C

    Highest recorded

    44°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    5°C and 16°C

    Lowest recorded

    -6.7°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    December

    Driest month

    July

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    91.4mm

    Facilities

    Drinking water

    You'll need to bring your own drinking and cooking water

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    • Check the weather before you set out. It can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you're well-prepared for your visit.
    • Georges Road can become slippery when it rains
    • There's limited mobile reception in this park.

    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).

    Permitted

    You're encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves if you're planning to cook, especially in summer during fire season.

    Prohibited

    Gathering firewood

    Firewood is not supplied and may not be collected from the park

    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

    Cessnock (0 km)

    Some of the finest wines in the world are created in the Hunter Valley and its towns, gourmet food is acclaimed and luxury, boutique accommodations are matched by the most beautiful natural scenery.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Morisset (40 km)

    Morisset is a gateway to the Watagan Mountains. It's a resort and residential town close to huge state forest. It's situated on Lake Macquarie between water and woodlands.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Newcastle (42 km)

    Newcastle is a harbour city surrounded by amazing surf beaches that are linked by a great coastal walk, the Bathers Way. The walk from Nobbys Beach to Merewether Beach takes about three hours and is a great way to explore the city.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

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

    Blossoming rainforest

    Boarding House Dam, Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    The area is rich in plant life, producing moist forests and a wealth of plant species. Mountain blue gums and blackbutt trees shelter the smaller brush cherry, climbing vines and tree ferns. Across late winter and into early spring, colourful orange-coloured banksias, brilliant purple happy wanderers, and the many hues of yellow wattle trees all flower in bright abundance.

    • Circuit walking track Circuit walking track is a short walk near Newcastle. Plunging into rainforest, following the creek as it passes a dramatic moss-covered rock wall, this is a great place to visit.
    • Great North walk - Watagans National Park The section of Great North walk in Watagans National Park features great scenic lookouts and wonderful birdwatching. It is best suited to experienced bushwalkers.
    • Monkey Face lookout Monkey Face lookout provides excellent scenic views over the Martinsville Valley, with space for a picnic.
    • The Narrow Place lookout For scenic views of Hunter Valley, you can't go past The Narrow Place lookout in Watagans National Park. Visit this historic lookout, near Cessnock, to go sightseeing or birdwatching.

    Breathtaking views

    Great North Walk, Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    From Monkey Face lookout, there are spectacular views down over Martinsville Valley, and 6km along Georges Road to the north, Narrow Place lookout provides a 180-degree panorama toward Cessnock, Hunter Valley and beyond the Barrington Ranges. There are so many ways to enjoy the scenery, whether by horse riding, 4WD touring in the wetter months, mountain bike riding or pulling into a shaded picnic area to cool down after a walk.

    • Boarding House Dam picnic area A popular picnic spot with daytrippers in summer, Boarding House Dam picnic area offers all the amenities, as well as local history, paddling, and hiking opportunities.

    Building a nation

    Turners walking track, Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Log chutes and old saw mill sites used during past forestry operations still stand among the plants as a testament to the region's rich settlement history. By the 1820s, a fertile timber industry had established itself, providing cedar and hardwood from the area to the building and growing coal mining industries. Increased timber production provided employment and wealth to the region, and you can still see relics from these operations throughout the park.

    • Boarding House Dam picnic area A popular picnic spot with daytrippers in summer, Boarding House Dam picnic area offers all the amenities, as well as local history, paddling, and hiking opportunities.
    • Turners walking track Steep and challenging, Turners walking track in Watagans National Park, near Cessnock, boasts rainforest views, historic heritage and superb birdwatching.

    Fascinating Aboriginal landscapes

    A man enjoys the forest, Watagans National Park. Photo: OEH

    The park is of great importance to the Awabakal and Darkinjung People, and rare insights into art and engraving techniques have been found at over 40 recorded locations in the Watagan Range and surrounding lands. Given that there are only six known Aboriginal engraving sites in the wider Sydney region, this one is particularly noteworthy for its display of more than 100 abstract motifs carved into walls throughout the park.

    Education resources (1)

    Great North walk, Watagans National Park. Photo: John Spencer