Wondabyne to Patonga walking track

Brisbane Water National Park

Overview

Part of Great North walk, Wondabyne to Patonga walking track is an overnight walk through NSW Central Coast bushland. It offers great Hawkesbury River views and birdwatching.

Where
Brisbane Water National Park
Distance
23km one-way
Time suggested
8 - 9hrs
Grade
Grade 4
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
Opening times

Wondabyne to Patonga walking track is always open, but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

What to
bring
Sunscreen, hat
Please note
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go birdwatching.
  • There is limited mobile reception in this park.

Wondabyne to Patonga walking track is part of the renowned Great North walk, and is an absolute must for experienced bushwalkers and campers keen to explore Brisbane Water National Park. Starting at Wondabyne railway station, this challenging rough track winds through superb grassy woodlands, rainforest and coastal heath.

Soak up spectacular views over Brisbane Water, Broken Bay and Hawkesbury River and stop for a swim near Kariong Brook waterfall; particularly impressive after rain. Pitch your tent at remote Mount Wondabyne bush campground – be sure to look for the fire circle near the base of the mountain.

Birdwatching enthusiasts are spoilt for choice all year round, so keep an eye out for cockatoos, brush turkeys and owls. You may even spot a koala in one of the grey gums. Upon reaching Patonga, take the ferry to Palm Beach or the bus to Woy Woy or Gosford.

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/wondabyne-to-patonga-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Wondabyne to Patonga walking track.

Track grading

Grade 4

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

    8 - 9hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Limited signage

  • Gradient

    Very steep

  • Distance

    23km one-way

  • Steps

    No steps

  • Quality of path

    Rough track, many obstacles

  • Experience required

    Experienced bushwalkers

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Wondabyne to Patonga walking track is within Brisbane Water National Park. Whichever end you choose to walk from, the easiest way to get there is by public transport.

    • Catch a train to Wondabyne railway station
    • Catch the ferry to Patonga Wharf 

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is not available; access is via a walking track.

    By public transport

    Wondabyne train station is an optional stop, and any passenger wishing to alight at the station must inform the guard of their intention to do so. They should then travel in the last carriage of the train and exit through the rear door only.

    Best times to visit

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

    Autumn

    The cooler weather makes it a perfect time to find a waterfall walking track, and keep an eye out for ancient Aboriginal engravings along the way.

    Spring

    Pack a picnic lunch and soak up the delightful sights and sounds of spring. Relax among the wildflowers and wildlife as the Hawkesbury River flows by.

    Summer

    Take advantage of the warmer summer weather and paddle down Patonga Creek or Mooney Mooney Creek in a canoe.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.

    Summer temperature

    Average

    15°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    43.8°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    5°C and 19°C

    Lowest recorded

    -4.2°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    218.4mm

    Facilities

    You’re encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves, especially in summer during the fire season.

    Drinking water

    Drinking/cooking water is limited or not available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Beach safety

    Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

    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.

    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. 

    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).

    Prohibited

    Camp fires and solid fuel burners

    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

    Gosford (19 km)

    Gosford is a great destination for a family day trip or holiday. It's situated on Brisbane Water National Park and surrounded by state forests, lakes and beaches.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Sydney City Centre (39 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

    Woy Woy (3 km)

    Pack your swimmers for Woy Woy, which lays on a shallow inlet on the western shore of Brisbane Water National Park. The stunning beaches of Ettalong Beach, Umina Beach and the exclusive Pearl Beach are also close by.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Wondabyne to Patonga walking track is in Brisbane Water National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A haven for wildlife

    Powerful owl. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Brisbane Water National Park is home to an incredible 270 native animal species. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and bird life such as the threatened spotted tailed quoll, the rare glossy black cockatoo and powerful owl. You might be lucky enough to share a picnic at Girrakool picnic area with a few wallabies who love this peaceful place.

    • Girrakool loop track A lovely way to finish a barbecue, the Girrakool loop track is a short and easy walk through bushland, featuring an Aboriginal rock engraving site and scenic waterfalls.
    • Great North walk stage 9: Rainforest walk Enjoy the spectacular views and scenic landscape on this challenging Great North walk. In stage 9, you’ll walk 16km through temperate rainforest within Brisbane Water National Park, near Gosford.
    • Patonga to Pearl Beach - waratahs Join this stunning 4-hour, 9km guided walk and explore the wonders of Brisbane Water National Park. This walk starts at Patonga and finishes at Pearl Beach.
    • Tommos loop and Rocky Ponds cycling loop Mountain biking enthusiasts will enjoy the challenging Tommos loop and Rocky Ponds cycling loop, a 20km bushland ride taking in scenic Central Coast views.

    A wonderland of wildflowers

    Red spider flower in Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Located 12km from Gosford, the park covers 12,000ha of rugged sandstone country, and boarders the Hawkesbury river, which feeds cascading waterfalls. The landscape is gorgeous all year round, especially from late winter to early spring when it comes alive with colourful wildflowers.

    • Great North walk stage 9: Rainforest walk Enjoy the spectacular views and scenic landscape on this challenging Great North walk. In stage 9, you’ll walk 16km through temperate rainforest within Brisbane Water National Park, near Gosford.
    • Mullet Creek rail tunnels walk This challenging 14km guided adventure through Brisbane Water National Park is a must for keen walkers. With great views from Mount Wondabyne, you'll also learn about the Woy Woy rail tunnel.
    • Piles Creek circuit walk Absorb the diverse scenery of Brisbane Water National Park on this 4-hour, 5km guided walk. A stone's throw from Gosford, witness mangrove forests, a waterfall and some Hawkesbury sandstone.
    • Somersby Falls picnic area A great place to picnic on the Central Coast, Somersby Falls offers barbecues and picnic tables in a lush rainforest complete with waterfalls and a walking track.
    • Warrah lookout Warrah lookout, offering scenic views of Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River, is just a short walk from the carpark. It’s a great place to see Waratahs in season.

    Ancient landscapes

    Aboriginal rock carving, Girrakool Loop track, Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Aboriginal people in the area have a long association with the landscape of Brisbane Water National Park and much evidence of this remains today in the form of rock engravings, foreshore middens and rock paintings. The flat, exposed areas of Hawkesbury sandstone within the park provide an ideal 'canvas' for Aboriginal artists, and there are hundreds of rock engraving sites throughout the park. Aboriginal sites on Hawkesbury sandstone have a distinctive style of engraving which is unique in Australia. The Bulgandry Aboriginal engraving site at Kariong is an excellent example of rock art within the park and is easily accessible.

    • Girrakool loop track A lovely way to finish a barbecue, the Girrakool loop track is a short and easy walk through bushland, featuring an Aboriginal rock engraving site and scenic waterfalls.

    Stretch your legs

    Warrah lookout, Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Brisbane Water National Park offers great ways to get amongst nature. Why not hop on your mountain bike and get your adrenalin pumping along the Tommos loop and Rocky Ponds cycling route? Or you can wear out your walking shoes along the Girrakool loop walking track. For the more energetic, the park is a hikers delight. Longer treks range from an hour or two to overnight on sections of the Great North walk, which passes through the park on its way from Sydney to Newcastle.

    • Girrakool picnic area A great spot for a family picnic, Girrakool picnic area has barbecues, lots of green space to run around and a scenic walking track that features Aboriginal engravings.
    • Great North walk - Brisbane Water National Park You’ll find the Wondabyne to Patonga and Patonga to Pearl Beach parts of the iconic Great North walk in Brisbane Water National Park. Take a short walk or overnight hike.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Australian pelican. Photo: Rob Cleary

      Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

      The curious pelican is Australia’s largest flying bird and has the longest bill of any bird in the world. These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands.

    • Koala. Photo: Lucy Morrell

      Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

      One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.

    • Platypus climbing on to a submerged tree branch. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

      Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

      One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence. The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range.

    Plants

    • 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.

    • Close up photo of a waratah flower, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH.

      Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

      The beautiful waratah is not only the NSW floral emblem, it's also one of the best-known Australian native plants. This iconic Australian bush flower can be found on sandstone ridges around Sydney, in nearby mountain ranges and on the NSW South Coast. The waratah has a vibrant crimson flowerhead, measuring up to 15cm across, and blossoms in spring.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    Wondabyne to Patonga walking track, Brisbane Water National Park. Photo: John Spencer