Starting at Thornleigh station you walk through suburban streets for a short while before diving into the bush at the southern end of Berowra Valley Regional Park. Soon after visiting the site of the historic Zig Zag railway you start wandering through the Berowra Creek valley, passing a few cascading creeks. The track undulates along the side of the valley visiting a range of environments from moist fern forest to the drier grass tree and eucalypt forests of the ridge. There is a short side trip to visit the Westleigh engravings and a chance to pop down to fishponds, before climbing up the depression era stone steps to Hornsby station.
(open in app)
Cross sectional view of the Thornleigh to Hornsby bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Thornleigh to Hornsby 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)
Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Storms may impact on navigation and safety (3/6)
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 1.3km is very steep. Whilst another 1.2km has gentle hills with occasional steps and the remaining 1.2km is flat with no steps.
Quality of track
6km of this walk follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles and another 4.2km follows a clear and well formed track or trail. The remaining (410m) follows a smooth and hardened path.
Around 8km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 2.5km is clearly signposted.
4.8km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience and another 4.4km requires some bushwalking experience. The remaining (990m) requires a leader a with moderate level of bushwalking experience.
Around 9km of this walk is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation), whilst the remaining 990m is affected by storms that may impact your navigation and safety.
Around 7km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced), whilst the remaining 3km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats).
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Thornleigh Train Station
Morgan Rd Walk: Easy - road
Length = 989 m
Time = 18 mins
Climb = 7 m
Descent = -47 m
From the western (north bound) side of Thornleigh Station, this walk follows the 'Jungo Rest Area' sign along the footpath towards the car park and The Esplanade. The walk then heads down a short distance further to turn left and cross 'The Esplanade' at the traffic lights, then continue straight along the footpath down along Eddy Rd. Following a couple of GNW arrows down Eddy Rd as it then bends left, turning into Tilock St, and shortly later this walk then turns right into Morgan St. Continuing down till just before the end of this street, this walk comes to an intersection marked with a GNW arrow and the 'Elouera Bushland Natural Park' sign (on the right).
Zig Zag Creek Bridge int. Track: Moderate - bushtrack,servicetrail
Length = 355 m
Time = 6 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -13 m
Turn right: From the end of Morgan Street, the walk follows the GNW arrow and the 'Elouera Bushland Natural Park' sign between houses no. 28 and 26. Once behind the houses at a small clearing, the track turns left and follows down the rocky side of Zig Zag Creek. Soon after passing behind the third house, the track comes to an intersection with a wide concrete trail, where a sign points back along the track to 'Sydney Cove'. Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'The Jungo' arrow downhill along the wide concrete trail for 25m to cross over the culverted creek (with a green rail on one side)[fac=8404]. The walk continues down into the valley along the concrete trail for another 110m to come to a signposted intersection marked with a 'Great North Walk' sign (on your left), just before 'Zig Zag Creek' and the long bridge.
Thornleigh zigzag railway
Alt = 120 m
The Thornleigh zigzag railway originally ran from the main rail line near Thornleigh to a historic quarry, near present day De Saxe Cl, Thornleigh. There are only minor fragments still visible today. The 'Heritage Trail' in Thornleigh has interpretive signs for the railway and the old Thornleigh Quarry. A book is available with some detail on railway and associated quarry: 'Sydney's Forgotten Quarry Railways' by John Oakes, ISBN 0 9757870 3 9
Zig Zag Creek Bridge intersection
The Jungo Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.43 km
Time = 25 mins
Climb = 16 m
Descent = -37 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk' sign along the narrower track, keeping the gully to your right. The pleasant track leads into, then through, the ferny forest with tall trees for about 700m, before crossing a side creek on a timber bridge. The track then continues in a similar manner for another 700m, coming to a large clearing and campsite, The Jungo. On the far side of this clearing is a well-signposted intersection with a 'Bellamy Street' sign pointing back through the campsite.
Alt = 98 m
The Jungo is a relatively small clearing and campsite near the junction of Berowra and ZigZag Creeks at a well signposted intersection. There is often water in the creeks (treat well before drinking) but there are no facilities. Speculation on the source of the name 'Jungo' includes the Aussie tendency to abbreviate words ('Junction' gets corrupted to 'jung-o' etc) as well as a possible derivation from one of a few similar sounding aboriginal words.
Elouera Lookout Track: Moderate - servicetrail,bushtrack
Length = 1.15 km
Time = 29 mins
Climb = 82 m
Descent = -58 m
Veer right: From the campsite, this walk follows the 'Fishponds' sign down across the concrete ford, over the usually small creek. Here, the concrete management trail leads uphill, becoming dirt as it starts to flatten out. This walk then comes to a signposted intersection of the 'Great North Walk' and the Stringybark Ridge management trail (signposted 'Cherrybrook Lakes' trail). Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk' sign down the narrower track. The track leads downhill for about 70m, getting steeper as it goes, and then crosses Berowra Creek - this creek may become impassable after rain. On the other side, the walk comes to an intersection on a small sandy beach. Here, the walk turns left, following the GNW arrows downstream for about 250m among the grass trees and crossing a flat timber bridge. The rocky track then continues for just shy of 250m and crosses a mossy gully on a large flat rock. The track then continues, staying fairly flat for another 170m before bending right and heading steeply uphill. At the top of this climb, the track soon leads to a section of fenced cliff. At the end of the fence, the walk passes through casuarina forest for a short distance before passing alongside another (longer) fenced cliff and coming to the Elouera Lookout, where there is an intersection with the 'Westleigh' track (on your right).
Alt = 116 m
This fenced lookout is on the Benowie Track close to Westleigh. There are uninterrupted views from the clifftop across the Berowra Creek valley, which is rare for the area. As well as being on the Great North Walk, this lookout can be accessed by a short walk from Elouera Rd, Westleigh. This section of fenced rock platform is about 100m long, and there is some limited shade from the casuarina near the lookout if you want to take a rest.
Int of the Great North Walk and the Quarter Sessions Road track Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 2.16 km
Time = 54 mins
Climb = 152 m
Descent = -130 m
Continue straight: From Elouera Lookout, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk' sign along the track, keeping the fence and valley to your left. At the end of the fence, the walk bends left following the rocky flat track for about 200m, where the track then becomes progressively steeper for about 250m, winding steeply down then across a flat timber bridge. From here, the track leads beside Berowra Creek for a short time before crossing another flat timber bridge. The track then passes among the pleasant grass trees for about 200m (crossing a couple of small creeks with timber plank spans) to then climb a few sets of timber steps and cross a small (often dry) creek. From here, the track gently winds up along the side of the hill for about 800m, passing through a pleasant casuarina forest then heading across a rocky creek on another small, flat, timber bridge. Just over 100m later, the track crosses a smaller (often dry) creek to then wind uphill for about 100m to a three-way intersection with the signposted 'Quarter Sessions Rd' track (on your right).
Int of GNW and the Quarter Sessions Rd track
Blackfellow Head Engravings Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - bushtrack,servicetrail,road,bushtrack
Length = 372 m
Time = 10 mins
Climb = 29 m
Descent = -26 m
Veer right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Quarter Sessions Rd' sign directly uphill along the faint track, up over the rocky outcrop, with the occasional rock step. After about 50m, this track leads to a T-intersection with a wide management trail. Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the management trail uphill. The trail soon bends right and after about 90m (ignoring side tracks), the walk heads around a locked gate. Here the walk follows the grassy (and rocky) trail between two houses to an intersection with Quarter Sessions Rd (between 394 & 396). Turn left : From the intersection, this walk follows Quarter Sessions Road uphill. The road passes over the rise and, after 130m, comes to a point where the road bends right, just beside a 'Berowra Valley Regional Park' sign (on your left). Turn left: From beside 280 Quarter Sessions Road (Westleigh), this walk heads towards the 'Berowra Valley Regional Park' sign, over the grass towards the timber platform. The walk steps onto the timber platform (with a handrail) to find a filtered valley view (to your right) and the engravings in the sandstone (to your left). (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn right to continue along this walk.)
Blackfellow Head Engravings
Alt = 149 m
On the far north west corner of Quarter Sessions Road (beside no.280), there is a lookout and some Aboriginal engravings. The signposted site has a timber platform providing some filtered views across the valley. On the left side of the platform is a sandstone block with the engraved images of two wallabies. There are reports of other engravings in the area, but like many similar sites, their exact locations are not published to protect them. Please keep off the engravings area, to reduce wear.
Int of the Great North Walk and the Quarter Sessions Road track
Int of the Great North Walk and the Blue Gum Walk (SW) Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 691 m
Time = 18 mins
Climb = 43 m
Descent = -73 m
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads north along the main rocky track, keeping the valley down to your left. The track leads along beside a rock wall (which is on your right) and through a rock outcrop, where the track soon heads quite steeply uphill along the eroded track for a short time. At the top of this steep section, the rocky track continues to meander much more gently up along the side of the hill for about 300m, then crosses a small, rocky gully, just below some houses. The track then continues gently uphill for about 100m to an intersection with the unsignposted Blackfellows Head track (on your right). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads north along the clear track, keeping the valley down to your left for about 100m, where the walk comes to a three-way intersection and 'The Jungo' sign points back along the track.
Int of the Great North Walk and the Blue Gum Walk (SW)
Fishponds Lookout Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 988 m
Time = 21 mins
Climb = 21 m
Descent = -87 m
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Fishponds' sign past the 'Berowra Valley Regional Park' sign, gently uphill along the narrow ridge. The track is mostly flat for about 200m before it starts to head fairly steeply down over some rocks and down a set of rock steps. This area comes alive with Patersonia lilies and pink wax flowers in early spring. The track then continues fairly gently down along the narrow ridge for another 200m before leading through a crack in a rock, then down a bit further to climb down through a particularly steep rocky section. Near the bottom of this descent, this walk passes a couple of arrow posts, where the track bends right to pass below a large rock overhang. Just beyond this overhang, the track bends left and leads across Waitara Creek at the interesting holes in the rock know as 'the spa'. This creek may become impassable after heavy rain, the rocks can also be slippery. Across the creek, the walk comes to a large rock platform and a Blue Gum Track post.
After stopping to enjoy cool spot, this walk continues left along the unfenced rock platform (keeping the creek down to your left). The walk soon steps off this large rock (at the far right-hand corner, through the fork in a tree). This walk heads over another rock platform, then along a notably flat section of track (now with Berowra Creek on your left), passing beside some cascades for about 100m before climbing up and over some rocks and under a sandstone overhang. The track leads around the side of the hill for about 100m, then down to cross a small creek using the small flat timber bridge. The walk then climbs up some timber steps to a fenced lookout over Fishponds, at a well-signposted intersection. A sign points back along the track to 'Thornleigh Station'.
Alt = 49 m
Fishponds Lookout is a fenced rock platform at the intersection of the Benowie walking track and the Rosemead trackhead. It is marked with a number of Great North Walk signs. This informally named lookout has good views down over Fishponds, a large waterhole on Berowra Creek. Looking north across the creek, there are views to the upper waterhole and the cliffs on the other side.
Fishponds Bridge Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 345 m
Time = 8 mins
Climb = 16 m
Descent = -14 m
Continue straight: 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. Veer right: From the cave, this walk follows the 'Galston Gorge' sign up the track and timbers steps. Soon the track turns left and follows a Great North Walk arrow up the hill, at the red and white 'Danger' sign(ignoring the other track). The track climbs up the carved steps onto the rock platform and continues up the rocky track until just after passing through a narrow gap between two rocks, where this walk comes to the un-signposted (and faint) intersection with the Pogson's Trig track (on the left). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads down along the side of the hill, whilst keeping the main valley to your right. The track leads down some rocky steps, passing just above a rock platform (a short distance down on your right, with a plaque dedicated to 'Cora'). The track then leads down along the base of a cliff, passing under a rock overhang. The track continues along the base of the cliff for another 50m then starts to wind downhill (with some handrails) to come to a rock platform beside the creek. This walk then crosses Berowra Creek on the flat timber bridge. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn 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 Blue Gum Walk and Joes Mountain Service Trail Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 297 m
Time = 7 mins
Climb = 39 m
Descent = 0 m
Turn right: From the lookout, this walk follows the 'Rosemead Rd Trackhead' sign directly away from the view over Berowra Creek. After about 70m, the track leads over a timber footbridge, then leads up the side of the valley for about 100m to climb up the steep carved rock steps (with a hand rail). Here the track leads along the top of this unfenced cliff and soon comes to a well signposted three-way intersection, where a 'Fishponds' sign points back along the track. Continue straight: From the intersection, the walk follows the 'Hornsby Station' sign up along the track a short distance to come to an intersection with a wide management trail.
Int of Blue Gum Walk and Joes Mountain Service Trail
Berowra Valley Bushland Park Track: Moderate - servicetrail,bushtrack
Length = 887 m
Time = 20 mins
Climb = 39 m
Descent = -45 m
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk follows the Great North Walk arrow south along the wide management trail, keeping the gully to your left. The walk climbs up the gentle hill for just over 300m, passing through the turpentine forest to a saddle and small clearing. Here the walk continues along the trail as it bends right (ignoring the track to the left) to leads downhill through the blue gum and bracken fern forest. The trail continues moderately steeply down until it bends left to cross Old Mans Creek at the concrete stepping stones. The trail leads left and gently up the hill, passing some houses (on your right) and soon comes to an intersection with a narrower track (on your left) after about 150m. Veer left: From the intersection, this walk follows the Great North Walk arrow along the narrower track for a short distance, to 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 Quarry Road and Great North Walk Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 544 m
Time = 14 mins
Climb = 89 m
Descent = -12 m
Veer left: From the lower side of 'Berowra Valley Bushland Park', this walk follows the 'Hornsby Station' sign across the park, then follows the GNW arrow up the stone steps, keeping the houses to your right. The walk winds steeply up the steps, leaving the view of the house and finding a welcome flat section of track midway up. The steps then lead more steeply up the side of the valley, along the sheer rock walls for about 100m, and come to an intersection with the Quarry Road management trail, where a 'Great North Walk' sign points back down the the hill. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow post up a couple of timber steps and then follows the track as it winds up over the gentle rise. Once over the rise, the track then leads down to the intersection with Quarry Rd, where a 'Great North Walk' sign points back up the track.
Int of Quarry Road and Great North Walk
Hornsby Train Station Walk: Easy - road
Length = 717 m
Time = 14 mins
Climb = 34 m
Descent = -8 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows Quarry Road gently uphill away from the face of the 'Great North Walk' sign until just past a couple of house, this walk comes to an intersection with the gated 'Old Mans Valley' management trail (on your left). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows Quarry Rd up the gentle hill for about 180m, then follows the GNW arrow left onto Dural St. The footpath leads past the unit block, then past a few shops to come to an intersection with the Pacific Hwy. Following the GNW arrow, this walk turns right across 'Dural St', passes a few more shops, then crosses 'Dural Lane' before turning left across the Pacific Hwy at the traffic lights. Here the walk continues straight across the 'Station St' pedestrian crossing, past the large 'Great North Walk' sign and across the bus lane to the western entrance of Hornsby Station.
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 6 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.