Tracks & Trails

Escaping the Hustle and Bustle | GNW
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | hiking | Hornsby | national parks | thornleigh | Sydney North | New South Wales

Escaping the Hustle and Bustle | GNW

The Great North Walk

by Susie Baber  |  4 May 2021

Thornleigh to Hornsby | Approx. 11km | 4 Hours | Moderate

My sister did this section of GNW without me, so my better half and I have come back to fill in the gap. Jen said she found this section a bit more challenging than earlier walks, but having now done some walks to the north through Berowra Valley it certainly wasn’t as hard as those.

Starting the trail at Thornleigh station there is a roughly a kilometre of residential walking before you hit the beginning of the Benowie Track, at the end of Morgan Street. There are plenty of cute houses and nice gardens to keep you entertained. Morgan Street ends in a cul-de-sac and the track goes between 2 houses on the right hand side almost at the end of the street. There was a big 4WD parked in front of the track entrance when we were walking but we found the path despite their best efforts to hide it.

Diving into the bush at the southern end of Berowra Valley Regional Park you’re surrounded by greenery. As you walk along Zig Zag Creek, through the Berowra Creek valley, you will pass through a range of environments from moist fern forest to the drier grass tree and eucalypt forests of the ridge.

Ziz Zag Creek

After crossing the bridge at Zig Zag Creek, there is a couple of km of lovely flat track and is one of the only places we have walked so far that you can just hear running water and birds. Not a man-made sound to be found.

Time for some hills

The path starts to become narrower and rocky in places, which continues for much of the rest of the walk. The track heads uphill and there are signs of recent fires. As we walk along the ridge we admire the resilience of the Australian bush recovering from the fire damage. There is a lovely view from Elouera Lookout down the valley.

At the intersection of Quarter Sessions Road track there is the opportunity for a little side trip to see Blackfellow Head Engravings. Head uphill along the track and then left along the management trail and up to the gate leading to Quarter Sessions Road. Walking along the road to the left until you get to the first bend, right next to number 280 you will find a timber platform from which you can view the engravings. It is quite easy to miss and does feel a bit like you are about to walk into some ones backyard…

View near Blackfellow Head Engravings
Along the Benowie track

Back down to the blue gums

Head back to the main track and soon you will reach the intersection with the Blue Gum trail. Blue Gum Trail is a lovely walk through the high blue gum forest of Hornsby, only about 3.5km if you after something pretty and a little less challenging than a whole section of the Great North Walk.

Following the sign to Fishponds the track continues heading downhill and you’ll soon come out at another creek crossing, a very pretty set of little cascade falls with some beautiful rock formations to hop over the creek with. This is Waitara creek just before it intersects with Berowra Creek. There is a large rock platform which would make a great spot for lunch. Walking up away from the creek there are some great honeycomb cliffs to your right.

The cascades at Waitara Creek
Looking down Waitara Creek
Honeycomb cliffs

As the track meets the Rosemead Access trail you can do a small detour to Fishponds. This follows the old Great North Walk track which was changed to avoid passing the Hornsby Rifle Range. The official track now goes up to Manor Road and along the streets for a way before coming back down into Berowra Valley. Fishponds is a tempting place to have a swim but it unfortunately suffers from urban run off so swimming is not recommended.

Continue back up the main trail for a few hundred metres before you hit a wide path through the blue gums. This area is filled with hundreds of ferns and majestic blue gums and undulates gently until you hit the Rosemead picnic area.

We called on our daughter to pick us up from here, thereby avoiding the heritage steps to Hornsby station. It is 1.3km to Hornsby station so we were happy to be able to get a lift, kind of makes up for all that driving we did for the kids when they were younger doesn’t it…

Majestic Blue Gums at Rosemead Park

This post is not a comprehensive guide to the GNW, more resources for these walks can be found at

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