The Old Great North Road

I had the itch to do an overnight hike and looked into walking to a campsite that I had previously camped at, Ten Mile Hollow in Dharug National Park.

The Old Great North Road

I had the itch to do an overnight hike and looked into walking to a campsite that I had previously camped at, Ten Mile Hollow in Dharug National Park. I've walked to this campsite from Dubbo Gully Road, Mangrove Mountain. However, this time I wanted to walk to the campsite from Wisemans Ferry via the Old Great Northern Road.

There was no parking at the start of this walk, so I had to park on the other side of Hawkesbury River and catch the car ferry across. The ferry is pretty quick and offers a quick glance up the river.

The Old Great North Road was originally built by convicts between 1825 and 1836 and is now a World Heritage Walk.

The start of the track is well-maintained. There are lots of info blocks on the Devine's Hill section with little facts about the road with replica items like shackles used on the convicts.

The road has an engineered stone retaining wall on the left, cut out from the sandstone from a nearby quarry, all done by hand, by convicts.

It's not long until I come to the infamous Hangman's Rock. I remember visiting this as a kid. The story goes that convicts that got out of line would be hung through the hole. There appears to be no evidence that the cave was ever used for hangings.

I finished the Devine's Hill section of the track pretty quickly, and started heading towards Ten Mile Hollow.

I had found out that there are koalas along this trail, and I knew of a section that had some sightings, so I was keen to try and spot a koala. Not entirely sure which trees they would be in. I had to guess. I found some trees with some roughed-up bark on them, but I'm not sure if these were koala markings or another animal. I then found a smooth eucalyptus tree that had markings that looked like a koala. later, I confirmed with my 'Tracks, scats and Other Traces' book that they were. Sadly, I didn't see any koalas, but finding these markings was pretty good in itself.

Koala markings on a tree

I'm about halfway and it starts to sprinkle. I put on my wet weather gear, pick up the pace and get to camp as quickly as possible.

Before you get to Ten Mile Hollow, you pass Wat Buddha Dharma, which is a Buddhist temple in the middle of the national park. I didn't visit on this occasion, however visitors are welcome.

I arrive at Ten Mile Hollow, and I set up my tarp before the heavy rain starts. Happy with my setup, I decided to go for a short walk to see Clare's Bridge, the second oldest bridge in Australia. The bridge looks like It's part of a castle. It doesn't look like it's a bridge. It's quite the sight. It's been partly restored, and NPWS plans to build the original timber decking. I return to camp, just as the rain starts, and I'm confined to the tent for the rest of the evening.

The next morning, the sun's out, and it's a glorious day. I wait for all my gear to dry before packing up and setting off back to Wiseman's ferry.

A photo of camp mid pack up
Hill Banksia (Banksia spinulosa Sm.)

I'm constantly reminded walking along this road of its convict origins. You can see the marks of the Convicts along the entire way. The chips in the wall, the reinforced road, the cobblestone. Every kilometre or so something reminds you that convicts built this entire thing in chains.

After four or so hours, I arrive back at Wiseman's Ferry, catch the ferry back over to my car and call it a day.