Great North Walk – Brooklyn to Hornsby

Last weekend I was in a party that completed a section of the Great North Walk. This walk was organised by Helen from SUBW. The party was Helen, Kosta, Chantal, Laura, Luke and Mitch. We caught an early morning train to Brooklyn, arriving there before 8am and then setting off for our walk south.

I had not walked very much of this track before. Some parts I had visited by MTB. I was not sure what to expect.

The walk started off for us up a steep concrete road climbing up from the Hawkesbury River. The concrete soon gave way to a more traditional fire trail. We soon arrived at the attractive Brooklyn Dam, where we stopped for a short break.

Then some more climbing as the fire trail wound up towards the noisy motorway. We did manage to get some views of the Hawkesbury River along the way.

Our route then dived off into the bush on a track to Jerusalem Bay. This is a lovely sheltered inlet.

Another climb took us back up a creek towards the motorway once more. This time we crossed it and arrived at Cowan. Crossing the railway and old highway took us once more into the bush.

All the way through this section of the walk – we encountered lots of other walkers. Many of them decked out in flash new walking gear – skin tights, walking sticks etc. One walker was heard to exclaim that he was “hitting out” on the walk….

At about 3 pm we arrived at a very attractive campsite above Berowra Waters. It was too early to stop so we reluctantly descended to the small hamlet and stopped for a cool drink at the ferry. It was now about time to think about where we were going to camp, and the site we had just passed seemed pretty good. So we filled up our water containers and headed the short way back up the hill.

Our choice was a good one. It was a bit noisy from traffic and boats in the valley below but the fine views more than made up for this. A sunny rock platform was a good place to sit and enjoy some cheese, crackers and wine.

Next morning was cool. 2°C to be exact – quite cool for so close to the coast. A thick mist had rolled in and some of the party were reluctant to get up.

It was a late start, and we again stopped at the cafe near the ferry. This time for coffee. After that we had to walk fast to try and get to Gaston Gorge for lunch. We made good time and were soon at Crosslands – a large grassy picnic and camping area. Then more brisk walking took us to Galston Gorge. The chooks Helen had spoken about were present and so was a confused brush turkey. We crossed the bridge and climbed up a steep track to a nice platform above for lunch.

Then more walking took us to the historic Steele Bridge. We then considered our options. Our original intention was to walk to Thornleigh. But now Hornsby seemed a better choice and it was not far away. A track from the Fishponds took us almost all the way to Hornsby Station (and the nearby pub). A very pleasant two days walking close to Sydney.

More photos can be found on my website here.

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7 Responses to Great North Walk – Brooklyn to Hornsby

  1. Frank Liu says:

    Nice walk for the weekend! From Hornsby to Brooklyn I normally take another route – walk along the coast of Cowan Waters, hit Bobbin Head and come off Gibberagong track to Wahroonga. Like your photos of the morning steam.

  2. Oscar Brady says:

    Stumbled on this, love the photos. I am looking for a hike for my Scout green cord hike, and this one looks very picturesque and close to home (Killara Scout group). I need to take 4 Scouts on a 2 night, at least 30 km hike, with packs and tents. Looking at Brooklyn to Galston Gorge – is your hike part of this?

    • Dave Noble says:

      Yes – Our hike was from Brooklyn to Galston Gorge and a bit past that. If camping two nights – then you have plenty of options – the dam near Brooklyn, Jerusalem Bay, between Cowan and Berowra Waters (various places on the ridges) – or at Crosslands.


  3. Colin says:

    The bridge over Calna Creek isn’t looking good, seems to be not far from failing by the look of the bowing and the crack in the centre. Used to be two logs (within the last 10 years, the army helicoptered them in in the 80s.) In any case, it seems to have degraded since I was last there.

  4. My plan for 2016 is to hike the Great North Walk. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures, truly inspiring 🙂

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