This section of the Great North Walk starts from Hornsby train station and winds down along the Blue Gum Walk into Fishponds. Enjoy the wonderful water hole at fishponds before continuing along Berowra Creek, passing through the Tunks Ridge Reserve and into Galston Gorge. From the Gorge the track keeps following the Berowra Creek past a waterfall to the Crosslands Campsite. People can drive down to Crosslands to pick you up at the end of the walk, or organise a taxi. Check the info at the end of the walk for crosslands closing times.
Note this walk was re-routed in early 2016 to go via the streets of Hornsby Heights. This re-route is due to the multi-agency decision to close the Fishponds to Steele Bridge section of the Benowie Track. This decision has upset many people and the protest continues.
(open in app)
Cross sectional view of the Hornsby station to Crosslands bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Hornsby station to Crosslands bushwalking track
Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.
Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
6 hrs 45 mins
Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track
Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)
Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing
Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk. Gradient
6km of this walk has short steep hills and another 6km has gentle hills with occasional steps. Whilst another 2.7km is very steep and the remaining 1.7km is flat with no steps.
Quality of track
6km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 4.4km follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles. Whilst another 3.4km follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely and the remaining 2.2km follows a smooth and hardened path.
Around 10km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 6km is clearly signposted.
Around 8km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 8km requires some bushwalking experience.
This whole walk, 16km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).
Around 8km of this walk is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats), whilst the remaining 8km has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced).
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Hornsby Train Station
Int of Quarry Road and Great North Walk Walk: Easy - road
Length = 717 m
Time = 14 mins
Climb = 8 m
Descent = -34 m
From the western side of Hornsby Railway Station, this walk first crosses the bus lane, then follows the large 'To the Great North Walk' sign across the Station St pedestrian crossing, and then across the Pacific Highway at the traffic lights. Here the walk turns right and follows the footpath (across 'Dural Lane') past some shops to cross 'Dural St'. The walk then turns left and follows the footpath down along 'Dural St', past a few more shops. Continuing past the units, this walk then turns right onto 'Quarry Rd' and follows the road down the gently hill for about 180m to an intersection with 'Old Mans Valley' management trail and locked gate (on your right). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows Quarry Road down the gentle hill, leaving the houses behind to come to an intersection with a track, signposted with a 'Great North Walk' sign (on your left).
Int of Quarry Road and Great North Walk
Berowra Valley Bushland Park Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 544 m
Time = 14 mins
Climb = 12 m
Descent = -89 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk' sign up the hill. The track leads up over the rise, then continues down to the intersection with the Quarry Rd Management trail. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk' sign down the steep rock steps. The walk winds steeply down a number of sets of stone steps, passing some large rock walls for a bit over 100m, to find a welcome flat section of track midway the hill. As the track leads past some houses (through the trees on your left), this walk heads down more steps before coming to the open area of 'Berowra Valley Bushland Park', at the end of Rosemead Road.
Berowra Valley Bushland Park
Alt = 82 m
'Berowra Valley Bushland Park' is also known as Rosemead Rd Park and is found at the bottom end of Rosemead Rd, Hornsby. This is an open area park surrounded by shady eucalyptus trees, making a pleasant spot to rest on a walk. It has a picnic table with bench seats, and a sheltered free electric BBQ. There is a water tap in the park, near the road. There is also a 'Welcome to Old Mans Valley' information sign with information about the traditional country of the Darug and Guringai peoples.
Berowra Valley Bushland Park
Int of Blue Gum Walk and Joes Mountain Service Trail Track: Moderate - bushtrack,servicetrail
Length = 887 m
Time = 20 mins
Climb = 45 m
Descent = -39 m
Veer right: From the lower side of Berowra Valley Bushland Park (at the end of Rosemead Rd, Hornsby), this walk follows the 'Fishponds 1.2km' arrow on the large sign, down the track for approximately 30m, to the intersection with the Rosemead management trail, marked with a Great North Walk arrow. Veer right: From the intersection, this walk heads downhill along the wide rocky management trail as it bends left (and passing some houses off to the left). The trail then bends right and leads across Old Mans Creek using some concrete stepping stones. The walk then continues by heading up the moderately steep hill and then through a thick blue gum and bracken fern forest. The wide trail leads to the top of the hill then bends left, (ignoring the track on the right) to pass over a saddle. Here the trail leads down the gentle hill, through the turpentine forest for just over 300m to find an intersection with narrower track on the right, marked with arrow posts.
Int of Blue Gum Walk and Joes Mountain Service Trail
Int of Great North Walk and Manor Rd Bushtrack Walk: Easy - bushtrack
Length = 27 m
Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -3 m
Veer right: From the intersection, the walk follows the 'Great North Walk' arrow down the narrower track a short distance to find a three-way intersection marked with a large 'Great North walk' signpost.
Int of Great North Walk and Manor Rd Bushtrack
Fishponds crossing Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 341 m
Time = 8 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -40 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Fishponds' sign along the flat narrow track past the 'Berowra Valley Regional Park' sign. The track soon bends left (passing along the top of an unfenced cliff) then winds down some steep carved rock steps (with a hand rail). The rocky track then leads down along the side of the valley for just over 100m to cross a timber foot bridge. The track then continues for another 70m to find a fenced rock platform and signposted intersection. Turn right: From the lookout, this walk follows the 'Galston Gorge' sign along the fenced rock shelf (keeping the fence to your left). The track leads down the rocky steps to the edge of Berowra Creek. The walk crosses the creek using the stepping stones, and comes to a small cave on the other side. This creek may be impassable after rain. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then veer left to continue along this walk.)
Alt = 49 m
Fishponds is a long waterhole on Berowra Creek in Berowra Valley Regional Park. The waterhole is lined with tall cliffs and a few sandstone caves. At the southern end, there are stepping stones to help cross the creek, and a small timber bridge at the northern end. This is a beautiful spot and a worthy place to rest and enjoy the water passing by. The waterhole is fairly popular with local teens in summer, cooling off. Swimming and jumping at the Fishponds waterhole has resulted in fatalities - please heed the signs and Cora's parents' plea and enjoy the water from the edge.
Int of GNW and Manor Rd Bushtrack
Corner of Dilkera and Manor Rd Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 226 m
Time = 13 mins
Climb = 95 m
Descent = 0 m
Turn sharp right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Alternative Route' arrow on the GNW sign. The track dips before heading steeply uphill, zigzagging in several sections. The walk leads you up a large metal staircase to the top of the cliffs, coming to the intersection of Manor Rd and Dilkera Cl.
Corner of Dilkera and Manor Rd
End of Clarinda St Walk: Easy - road
Length = 1.66 km
Time = 31 mins
Climb = 36 m
Descent = -49 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows Manor Rd as it initially heads up a gentle hill. After about 600m, Manor Road turns to skirt about Mount Wilga Hospital, and the road changes name to Rosamond St. The walk continues along to the intersection with Stewart Ave on the left (this is a four-way intersection, with Carrington Rd on the right). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads north along Rosamond St following the Great North Walk arrow. The walk then turns left into Clarinda St and follows it to the end of the road, to find the 'Clarinda Wetlands' sign.
End of Clarinda St
Int of Clarinda St trail and waterfall track Walk: Easy - servicetrail
Length = 1.08 km
Time = 24 mins
Climb = 51 m
Descent = -66 m
Turn right: From the end of Clarinda St Hornsby, this walk heads around the green gate with the 'Berowra Valley Regional Park' sign on it, keeping the 'Clarinda wetlands' to the left. The walk follows the management trail, which soon bends left and gently winds through the bushland. There are some interesting rock formations on the right and the occasional valley view on the left. The track is fairly flat most of the way, until a left-hand bend that leads down to cross a small creek, and then up the other side of the valley. Once the track flattens out again, it comes to an intersection with the Simon Pl management trail on the right, at a fairly large clearing. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the flat management trail, heading away from Simon Place past the 'Berowra Valley Regional Park', 'Dogs Prohibited' sign. The walk gently meanders along the trail, enjoying the ferns and sandstone rocks for a while until coming to a 'Great North Walk' sign highlighting the intersection with small track on the left.
Int of Clarinda St and waterfall track
Int of Stewart Ave service trail and waterfall track Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 473 m
Time = 13 mins
Climb = 9 m
Descent = -98 m
Turn left : From the intersection, this walk heads down the hill along the narrow track, following the 'Great North Walk' sign. The track is rocky and steep in a few places. Take care as the track turns at the top of some smaller cliffs while winding down the hill. Steps have been made from rocks and logs, making this track a bit more gentle, and there are some carved steps in the steeper sections. At the bottom of a small flight stone stairs, the walk crosses the creek on the rocks just in front of the waterfall. Veer right: From the waterfall, this walk climbs the stone stairs (keeping the waterfall initially on the left) and then turns right, heading up out of the gully. Once at the top of the stairs, the walk heads through the bush until soon coming to a 'T' intersection with the Stewart St management trail, signposted with a large 'Great North Walk' sign.
Int of Stewart Ave service trail and waterfall track
Steele Bridge Walk: Easy - servicetrail
Length = 396 m
Time = 8 mins
Climb = 5 m
Descent = -29 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Galston Gorge 4km' arrow down the hill along the wide management trail. For the most part, the trail gently heads downhill then bends around to the left, leading to an intersection just before Steele Bridge.
Historic Military 'Steele' Bridge
Alt = 38 m
This large steel and timber bridge spans Berowra Creek north of Fishponds. The creek is fairly wide at this point and the bridge provides a great view of the sandstone overhangs along the creek's edge. The bridge was commissioned in 1965 to allow access for fire trucks. The bridge was designed by Major General Sir Clive Steele in 1942. Bridges of this type were critical during the WWII South West Pacific campaigns. The bridge is designed on the Warren truss style and is one of only 4 'Steele' bridges still in use in NSW. More info
Tunks Ridge Rest Area Track: Hard - servicetrail
Length = 1.78 km
Time = 44 mins
Climb = 160 m
Descent = -33 m
Veer right: From the intersection, this walk crosses the 'Historic Military Steele Bridge' and turns right to follow the 'Crosslands' sign  uphill along the wide management trail. After about 200m, the trail becomes steeper (and is concreted) for around 150m, then flattens out just before the left bend. The trail continues to climb (enjoying the valley views to the right) for another 400m, after which the trail becomes quite steep again for for about 600m (here the trail is sealed then concreted in two sections). From the top of the second concreted section, the trail leads gently uphill for just shy of 300m to the well-signposted 'Tunks Ridge Rest Area', where a sign points back down the trail to 'Stewart St Hornsby Trackhead'.
Tunks Ridge Rest Area
Alt = 165 m
Tunks Ridge Rest Area is a large, shady and gently sloping campsite at the junction of three management trails. There is no water or other facilities (you will need to carry your own in). A sign at the top of the campsite reminds campers that there is a one night limit and that it is a fuel stove only area (no campfires). Please note that the composting toilet has been removed and no longer available.
Tunks Ridge Rest Area
Int of Great North Walk and Galston Gorge track Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 1.36 km
Time = 28 mins
Climb = 38 m
Descent = -68 m
Turn right: From the top of the rest area, this walk follows the 'Galston Gorge' AND 'Crosslands Reserve' signs along the wide management trail, keeping the valley to your right. The trail winds along the side of the ridge (passing along the base of a long rock wall, up to your left) for about 700m, until the trail comes to the top of the ridge. From here, the trail leads for another 500m, down across a saddle then up to a clear Y-intersection. The walk takes the left branch and passes a few 'Regeneration Area' signs over about 250m, coming to a well-signposted intersection with narrower track (on your left), partway around the right-hand bend.
Int of Great North Walk and Galston Gorge track
Galston Gorge track head Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 546 m
Time = 16 mins
Climb = 14 m
Descent = -119 m
Turn left: From the intersection, the walk follows the 'Galston Gorge' sign down the steep rocky track as it zigzags down towards the valley. About 40m down the hill, the track comes to a 'Great North Walk - Walkers Registration' box. After leaving your comments, this walk continues downhill, passing through a crack in the rock where the walk bends right and follows along the particularly rocky section for about 150m and comes to a fence. The fence guides down a steep section, passing a cave, and comes to the top of a metal peg ladder. This walk climbs down the ladder, then follows the rock wall (keeping the road to your left), heading down through a crack and along another fence, then coming to a flat area beside the road. Here the walk follows the GNW arrow to the right and down under the bridge. The walk crosses the creek, usually a bit more than ankle deep. This creek maybe impassable after rain - the road bridge above offers an alternate way across, but watch and listen for traffic. On the other bank, the walk turns left to follow the track uphill. The track well-formed track climbs to the well-signposted and paved Galston Gorge trackhead, where a 'Fishponds' sign points back down the track.
Galston Gorge track head
Alt = 24 m
Galston Gorge track head is located at a small car park on the eastern side of Berowra Creek, near the bottom of the gorge on Galston Road. This track head is a good access point for those wanting to do sections of the Great North Walk and is well signposted. Keep an eye open for the local chickens.
Galston Gorge track head
Unnamed Falls Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.27 km
Time = 41 mins
Climb = 161 m
Descent = -109 m
Turn left: From the Galston Gorge trackhead, this walk follows the 'Crosslands' sign up the timber steps, away from the road. The track soon bends left then mostly flattens out as it winds along the side of the valley for almost 200m, where it passes above an old rusted car (some distance down the hill, to your left). Here the narrowing, rocky track winds down through a lovely grass tree and boulder forest for about 600m, coming to a small flat rock platform. The walk then bends right (ignoring the steep track down to the left). The track then leads among more grass trees for another 100m and crosses a mossy and rocky gully. Once across this gully, the track begins to climb steeply, then up a steep set of steps (through a crack in the rock). At the top of the steps, the track continues to climb for another 70m before mostly flattening out. Soon the track starts to wind downhill, crossing a wider mossy gully with larger boulders and a small waterfall. The gully is marked with a few GNW markers.
Gulley Creek Falls
Alt = 84 m
This is a nice little creek crossing on the Great North Walk in Galston Gorge. The small falls flow just upstream of the track, even after a small amount of rain. Enjoy the cool shade of the trees at the creek crossing from the track.
Berowra Creek campsite track Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 3.43 km
Time = 1 hr 28 mins
Climb = 217 m
Descent = -297 m
Continue straight: From the waterfall, this walk follows the GNW markers out of the gully, initially keeping the waterfall up to your right. The rocky track leads up the side of the hill, moderately steeply at times, for about 600m and then passes along the base of a long rock wall (on your right). At the end of this wall, the walk climbs the carved steps. The walk continues along the track for about 600m, walking along the series of unfenced rock platforms (passing under the high-tension power-lines) to then head down to a section of fenced track. There are some good valley views from this lookout. From the end of the fence, the track soon starts to lead further downhill for about 150m, coming to a clearing on a flat rock platformwhich is marked with a GNW arrow post. Here, the walk turns left and winds quite steeply downhill for about 120m, to then follow a flatter section of track with plenty of grass trees. After about 300m (passing close to the creek a couple of times), the walk crosses a rocky gully (where you can see the creek again on your left). Continuing along the side of the valley for about 250m, the track then leads across another rocky gully and finds another nice spot beside Berowra Creek just beyond. The track continues near the creek (passing under the power lines) for another 300m and climbs down a rock with a couple of metal pegs.
Over the next 600m, the track crosses a couple of small, flat timber bridges and passes alongside the lovely creek to then climb up through a crack in a rock, where there is a handrail in place. On the other side of this little climb, the track passes under a small overhang and continues alongside the creek for another 300m, where it comes to an intersection with a track on your right (which leads to a clearing and campsite).
Berowra Creek campsite
Alt = 5 m
This shady campsite is located on the Benowie Track a short distance back from Berowra Creek, south of the Crosslands Reserve. Providing plenty of tree cover, flat ground and an established fire scar, this campsite is a great spot for those walkers who want a quiet night's sleep away from the more popular Crosslands Reserve. The creek water is brackish at this point, so it is not drinkable (except after heavy rain and lower tide, but then the water is more polluted) - best to bring your own water.
Berowra Creek campsite track
Crosslands southern toilet block Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.36 km
Time = 33 mins
Climb = 85 m
Descent = -84 m
Continue straight: From the intersection near the campsite, this walk follows the clear track alongside Berowra Creek, whilst keeping the creek to your left. After about 30m, the track crosses a small, flat, timber bridge, then continues to wind along near the creek for about 300m before crossing a rocky gully, with a small creek. After another 250m of walking through the the fern and turpentine forest, the track leads to an overgrown but signposted campsite (on your left). The track then crosses a small creek using a timber bridge with a handrail then almost 200m later, the track passes a more open area that has been used as a campsite. The track continues mostly flat for another 100m, coming to a view across the creek (to the grassy area of Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre). Here the walk climbs the stone steps, to pass another (unfenced) view across the creek.
The track continues to wind downhill for another 250m, then heads along the flat, past the 'Crosslands Reserve' sign, to come to the large corrugated iron toilet block.
Alt = 2 m
On the far southern end of Crosslands Reserve is a toilet block and campsite. The campsite is well set up and managed by Hornsby Council. There are picnic tables, electric barbecues, toilets, a children's playground, garbage bins and town water. There is a large flat grassy areas to camp and a single authorised fire pit. The campsite must be booked and fees apply - $9 per night for adults and $6 for children (infants under 4 are free). The gate at the top of the hill is locked at 5.30pm EST and 7.30pm (daylight savings time). A pleasant and well established campsite beside the river. More info
Crosslands southern toilet block
Crosslands Carpark Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 335 m
Time = 5 mins
Climb = 2 m
Descent = -5 m
Veer left: From the toilet block, this walk follows the dirt footpath nearest the creek, towards the main area of Crosslands reserve, whilst keeping the creek to your left. The track soon leads past a 'Boats destroyed' information sign, then past the only 'Authorised fire pit' and main camping area. This walk then continues along the path, passing the 'Climate change and the river' information sign and timber viewing platform. Here the path leads past the picnic shelters and BBQ's to then continue along the concrete footpath. The path leads past another viewing platform (and information sign), then past the children's play equipment  and comes to the end of the path where there is a car park(on your right) and sign pointing to 'Crosslands Conventions Centre AND Field Study' across the creek (on your left)
Alt = 1 m
Crosslands Reserve is lovely and long mixed use picnic area, spanning along the edge of Berowra Creek. There are picnic tables, electric barbecues, toilets, car parking, a children's playground, garbage bins, camping area, toilets[fac=8086] and town water. The southern part of Crosslands is managed by Hornsby Council and the northern half by the NPWS within the Berowra Valley National Park.
The first inhabitants of this area were a subgroup of the Dharug people who enjoyed the sandstone caves, fish and abundant plant life in the area. It is now managed by Hornsby Shire Council, but in 1856 Matthew Charlton asked Burton Crossland to be caretaker on this area. Burton built a house and made a living by harvesting timber, growing fruit, fishing and boat-building.
Fire Danger This walk passes Greater Sydney Region fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place. (Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 5 years ago) Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.
Berowra Valley National ParkLink to official closures and fire bans page Following the Berowra Creek the Berowra Valley National Park is located on the Hornsby Plateau and is made up of typical Hawkesbury Sandstone. The great North walk, Benowie walking track, and many other great walks stretch spann this park. The area has varied vegetation including many different sorts of Eucalyptus and plenty of native animals, includingl swamp wallibies, water dragons, bandicoots, Lyre Birds, and bush turkeys. There are several campsites within the Park, and Crosslands Reserve is also a popular spot near the middle of the park. Region: Sydney & Surrounds Park feesCamping Current Park Closure information for Berowra Valley National Park Closure information last downloaded Sunday 27th of September 2015 07:00 AM Safety alerts: Quarry trail and Benowie walking track restricted access Access restrictions are in place along trails that traverse the land managed by the Hornsby Rifle Range. Restricted areas include:
an 800m section of trail, 2km in from the Quarry Road entrance at Dural
an 800m section of trail, 300m in from the Stewart Avenue entrance at Hornsby
a 750m section of the Benowie walking track between Steele Bridge and Fishponds Waterholes.
Shooting times are between 9am and 4.30pm, 7 days a week. All visitors wishing to access the restricted sections of trail during these times must request prior authorisation by contacting the Hornsby Rifle Range on their 24 hour contact number 0417 201 606. Consult the map on Page vii of the Berowra Valley National Park Draft Plan of Management to plan alternative routes during these hours. Visit the website for further information about the Hornsby Rifle Range.
Manor Road Bushland Manor Road Bushland is a small parcel of natural bushland between Manor road and the Hornsby quarry. The blue Gum walk and the Great North walk Hornsby track head pass through the section of land where there are some wonderful tall Blue gums and Black Buts. There is also a lovely array of ferns and Turpentine trees. Region: I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.