Starting at Hornsby station, you soon head into the bush and down the steep depression era stone steps through the volcanic Old Mans Valley, to a picnic area at the end of Rosemead Rd. Here you follow the Blue Gum walk through one of Sydney’s rare Blue Gum Forest stands to then cross Berowra Creek a few times at Fishponds waterhole. After exploring the edge of the valley you will cross the Steele Military Bridge before climbing to Tunks Ridge rest area. Not far from here the walk starts to lead steeply down enjoying more sandstone caves to cross under Galston Road to find the Galston trackhead.
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 to Galston Gorge bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Hornsby to Galston Gorge 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.
Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track
Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
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
4.2km of this walk has gentle hills with occasional steps and another 2.7km is very steep. Whilst another 1.5km has short steep hills and the remaining 1.3km is flat with no steps.
Quality of track
6km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 1.8km follows a smooth and hardened path. The remaining (1.8km) follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles.
Around 6km of this walk is clearly signposted, whilst the remaining 3.5km has directional signs at most intersection.
Around 8km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 1.6km requires some bushwalking experience.
This whole walk, 10km 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 1.9km 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 Great North Walk and Manor Rd Bushtrack Track: Moderate - bushtrack,servicetrail,bushtrack
Length = 914 m
Time = 21 mins
Climb = 45 m
Descent = -42 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. 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.
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 4 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.