**Closed** The link track west of Somerby Falls is closed, an alternate route is been sought. This loop walk takes you through the Brisbane Waters National Park, starting from the Girrakool picnic area and exploring Piles Creek down to the Mooney Mooney Creek Junction. The walk meanders back up to the spectacular Somersby Falls, following sections of the Great North Walk.
(open in app)
Cross sectional view of the Somersby & Mooney Mooney Creek Loop bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Somersby & Mooney Mooney Creek Loop 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.
7 hrs 30 mins
Short steep hills (3/6)
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)
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
12km of this walk has gentle hills with occasional steps and another 4.7km has short steep hills. The remaining (2.8km) is flat with no steps.
Quality of track
8km of this walk follows a smooth and hardened path and another 7km follows a clear and well formed track or trail. The remaining (6km) follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles.
Around 11km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 9km is clearly signposted.
Around 15km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 5km requires some bushwalking experience.
Around 18km of this walk is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation), whilst the remaining 1.8km is affected by storms that may impact your navigation and safety.
Around 18km of this walk is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats), whilst the remaining 2km has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced).
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Girrakool picnic area is a wonderful family destination, just 5 minutes' drive from Kariong. The picnic area provides all the necessary facilities for a full day's activities, including barbecues, tables, shelters, water and toilets. National Park fees apply. The main picnic area is on the eastern side of the car park, and smaller, older picnic area is at the north-eastern corner of the car park. The southern Girrakool picnic area is located near the toilets. The picnic area is dedicated to John 'Jack' Higgs, the first superintendent of Brisbane Water National Park, and Mrs Vera Murdoch, who provided the funds. 'Girrakool' is an Aboriginal word meaning 'place of still waters'. More info
Girrakool picnic area car park
Illoura Lookout Walk: Easy - footpath
Length = 265 m
Time = 6 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -33 m
From the lower side of the car park, this walk follows the 'To The Great North Walk' sign down the path to the lower picnic area. The walk passes the toilet block (on the left) and comes to another picnic area. The path passes through this picnic area to turn right following the 'Piles Creek Loop Track' sign down the steps. The footpath then leads to an intersection with the Broula Lookout track (on the left) and a 'car park' sign pointing back up the hill. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Girrakool Loop' sign down along the stone path. The path soon heads down some steps and comes to a fenced and signposted 'Illoura Lookout'.
Int of Girrakool and Camp Kariong tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 971 m
Time = 23 mins
Climb = 44 m
Descent = -65 m
Turn left: From Illoura Lookout, the walk follows the left-hand 'Piles Creek' and GNW arrow down the wooden steps (keeping the valley to the right). The track soon passes a 'Caution Low Water Level Crossing Only' sign and crosses Piles Creek using the concrete stepping stones (the creek may be impassable after rain). The track then opens up on an unfenced rock platform, at the top of the waterfall. Veer left: From the top of Piles Creek waterfall, this walk follows the track heading south away from the waterfall (keeping the big valley to the right). The clear track winds through the thick bush crossing a few small tributaries and though four sandstone caves. The caves provide good shelter and a great spot to rest. The track then flattens out and comes to a 3-way intersection and a 'Girrakool' sign.
Int of Girrakool and Camp Kariong tracks
Int of Girrakool and Piles Ck lookout tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 139 m
Time = 4 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -18 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, the walk heads south along the wide track in the opposite direction of the 'Girrakool' sign. Soon the track heads down a short wooden staircase to the intersection at the bottom (Piles Creek Lookout visible to the right).
Int of Girrakool and Piles Ck lookout tracks
Piles Ck Lookout Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 17 m
Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -8 m
Turn right: With the stairs to the right, this walk follows the short track to the fenced lookout. There are a few steps that then lead down the the lookout platform. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn right to continue along this walk.)
Piles Creek Lookout
Alt = 46 m
Piles Creek lookout (not formally named), Brisbane Water National Park, sits high on the ridge, east of Piles Creek and north of Rat Gully. This lookout provides views over the Piles Creek valley and can be enjoyed from behind a fence. The valley is surprisingly steep at this point and the views downstream are quite extensive.
Int of Girrakool and Piles Ck lookout tracks
Monolith Cave Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 83 m
Time = 2 mins
Climb = 16 m
Descent = 0 m
Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads away from the steps and lookout to soon pass a rock wall. A short time later the track leads through the cleft in a rock to reveal a cave on the right.
Alt = 72 m
Monolith Cave is an informally named cave and interesting rock formation high on the ridge east of Piles Creek and North of Rat Gully in the Brisbane Water National Park. The cave is a fairly large sandstone overhang on the edge of the track. The cave provides shelter for walkers and is a great spot to rest and enjoy the area. This rock and the more Monolithic rock about 60m to the south are interesting to explore, and provide great views of the surrounding area. Take great care if exploring the rocks.
Rat Gully Lookout Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 221 m
Time = 7 mins
Climb = 13 m
Descent = -29 m
Continue straight: From the cave, this walk heads south following the track away from the rock to soon come to another large and interesting monolithic rock. Soon after this large rock the track starts to head down the hill to come to an old fenced lookout, looking over Rat Gully.
Rat Gully Lookout
Int of Patonga Ferry and Girrakool tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 291 m
Time = 8 mins
Climb = 14 m
Descent = -33 m
Continue straight: From the lookout, the track follows the bush track heading downhill. The track soon does a sharp left hand switch back (at the 'Girrakool' sign) and continues down to Rat Gully. The track then crosses the creek and boulder field following the cut steps (and passing the old bridge). On the other side the track heads right, under the fallen tree and then climbs up the hill. After a short meander through the bush the track drops down and crosses another gully (passing a sign pointing back to 'Girrakool') and coming to a 'Great North Walk' signpost and intersection.
Int of Patonga Ferry and Girrakool tracks
Phil Houghton Bridge Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 222 m
Time = 9 mins
Climb = 17 m
Descent = -47 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Piles Creek' sign down the track (keeping the valley to the right). The rocky track heads steeply downhill for about 170m to Piles Creek. Just past the old bridge, this walk climbs up the stairs to cross the Phil Houghton suspension footbridge, enjoying the views of the tidal Piles Creek. On the other side, this walk climbs down the stairs to an intersection beside a large clearing (and campsite, on your left).
Phil Houghton Bridge
Alt = 3 m
The Phil Houghton Bridge is a metal suspension bridge that crosses Piles Creek. It is part of the Great North Walk and replaces an older bridge, with part still visible upstream. The bridge can hold up to 8 people and feels very stable. There are great views both up and downstream half way across this bridge. There is a clearing on the northern side that people have used for camping.
Phil Houghton Bridge
Mooney Mooney Creek Trackhead Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 2.32 km
Time = 47 mins
Climb = 88 m
Descent = -68 m
Turn left: From the intersection on the northern end of the 'Phil Houghton Bridge', this walk follows the 'Mooney Creek' arrow through the large clearing and campsite, keeping Piles Creek to your left. The track leads under a large dead tree then winds past some cliffs and among large boulders for about 1km then crosses a short timber bridge with handrails. Just past this bridge, this walk heads over a short flat timber bridge, then about just shy of 150m later, heads along a section of timber boardwalk. From this tall eucalypt forest, this track contours around the side of the hill for about 500m, alongside Piles Creek, then starts to climb passing among the grass trees before heading down a handful of timber steps and coming to a three-way intersection marked with a 'Brisbane Waters National Park' sign, just before Mooney Mooney Creek. Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow post directly away from the face of the 'Brisbane Waters National Park' sign along the clear track, keeping Mooney Mooney Creek to your left. After about 100m, this walk crosses a green timber footbridge, then about 200m later comes to a small clearing and intersection just before the road bridge. Here the walk turns right, following the old management trail uphill through the tall forest for about 200m then heading around a locked gate. Just past the gate, this walk turn left and heads up the short steep bank to come to a T-intersection with the old Pacific Hwy, at a large gravel car park marked with 'Mooney Mooney Creek' Trackhead (just east of the Mooney Mooney Creek bridge).
Mooney Mooney Creek Trackhead
Int of Karool Rd and Old Pacific Highway Walk: Easy - road
Length = 321 m
Time = 7 mins
Climb = 12 m
Descent = -25 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Newcastle' sign along the narrowing gravel verge, keeping the Old Pacific Hwy just to your right. After about 200m, this walk comes to then crosses the concrete road bridge over Mooney Mooney Creek, enjoying the view of the wide creek below. Once on the other side, this walk heads past a detailed 'Risk Warning' sign suggesting you be sensible as you cross the bridge (hope it is not too late) to then come to an intersection with Karool Rd, just on the other side of the highway (on your right).
Old Pacific Highway Mooney Mooney Creek Bridge
Alt = 2 m
The Sydney-Hawkesbury stretch of the Pacific Highway was built in the 1920s, replacing a route that had existed since the 1830s. The original Peats Ferry Road was cut by a settler named George Peat, making a track to his property on the banks of the Hawkesbury River.
This road became the 'Old Pacific Highway' upon the opening of the F3, or Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, in the 1980s. This bridge is the smaller of two crossing Mooney Mooney Creek - the other, Mooney Mooney Bridge, is part of the F3 freeway and is the highest road bridge in Australia.
Int of Karool Rd and Old Pacific Highway
Int under Mooney Mooney Bridge Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - road
Length = 818 m
Time = 14 mins
Climb = 11 m
Descent = -21 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the gravel 'Karool Road' gently downhill, keeping Mooney Mooney Creek to your right. This road leads past a few homes for about 600m to then pass a notable houseboat house. About 250m past this house, this walk come to a Y-intersection, marked with a 'The Great North Walk' sign, just before the tall concrete Mooney Mooney Bridge.
Int under Mooney Mooney Bridge
Footbridge Track: Moderate - road,servicetrail,bushtrack
Length = 2.01 km
Time = 38 mins
Climb = 58 m
Descent = -54 m
Veer left: From the 'Y' intersection, this walk follows the 'The Great North Walk' sign along the upper dirt road to pass under the Mooney Mooney (F3 freeway) Bridge. Just over 250m after passing under the tall bridge, this walk leads up to a large turning area just before the locked gate, marked with a 'Brisbane Water National Park' sign. Continue straight: From the end of the dirt road (that branches of Karool Rd, just north of the Mooney Mooney Bridge), this walk heads uphill along the trail and around the locked gate next to the timber 'Brisbane Water National Park' sign. The trail leads uphill for about 200m to where the trail bends left to pass over the crest of the hill (passing a faint track on your left). Here the trail leads down the other side, still keeping Mooney Mooney Creek to your right for another 400m to come to an intersection marked with a GNW arrow post, beside a large grassy clearing and campsite (on your right). Veer right: From the intersection just above the campsite, this walk follows the GNW arrow post down along the track, keeping the clearing and campsite to the right. The track soon leads over a small flat timber bridge then over the next 60m, the track heads under the high tension power lines (past the caution sign) and then along a short section of timber boardwalk. About 20m later, this walk veers right at a Y-intersection, then continues along the mostly flat track beside Mooney Mooney Creek for about 300m, to cross a small rocky tidal creek. The track then continues through the tall forest beside Mooney Mooney Creek for about 600m, passing a couple of she-oak stands before the track then bends left and comes to an indistinct intersection beside a timber and metal footbridge.
Mooney Mooney Creek Campsite (south)
Alt = 4 m
This is clearing is beside the wide Mooney Mooney Creek and provides a large flat area to pitch a few tents. There are some high tension power lines nearby and you can hear the hum of the F3 from here, so it is not the most remote campsite. There are no facilities or water (the creek is salty). All that said it is still a pleasant spot beside the wide creek to rest for a while or for the night.
Ausburn Creek crossing Track: Moderate - servicetrail,bushtrack
Length = 1.48 km
Time = 27 mins
Climb = 34 m
Descent = -24 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk cross the timber and metal footbridge over a tidal, unnamed creek to then turn right and follow the track which soon bends left. Keeping Mooney Mooney Creek to the right, this track passes a small cliff then follows the mostly flat track through the tall forest for about 170m to come to a large clearing with tall blue gums and a metal fireplace (on your left), signposted as a 'Camping area'. Continue straight: From the campsite, this walk follows the clear track north, keeping the wide Mooney Mooney Creek to your right. The clear, wide and mostly flat track leads alongside the creek for about 1.2km to come to the southern bank of Ausburn Creek (about 130m past a rock wall, on your left), a few metres above its confluence with Mooney Mooney Creek
Mooney Mooney Creek Campsite (north)
Alt = 7 m
This signposted campsite is sits among the tall eucalypt and bracken fern forest beside the Mooney Mooney Creek. This is a very pleasant flat clearing to spend a night, there is a small metal fireplace hotplate and room for a small number of tents. There is No drinking water or other facilities at this campsite (Mooney Mooney Creek is salty at this point, treatable water may be found about 2km north).
Ausburn Creek crossing
Lower Mooney Mooney Dam Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 2.07 km
Time = 50 mins
Climb = 135 m
Descent = -98 m
Continue straight: From the south bank of Ausburn Creek, this walk crosses the narrow rock platform and creek, then follows the track fairly steeply uphill for about 200m. At the top of this climb, the track gently undulates alongside Mooney Mooney Creek for about 700m before heading down to find a large rock platform on the western bank of Mooney Mooney Creek. This large rock platform is a natural ford of the perennial Mooney Mooney Creek and is home to a scattering of small and large waterholes. Continue straight: From the bank of Mooney Mooney Creek, this walk crosses the wide rock platform and creek to find the track again on the other side. This creek may become impassable after heavy or prolonged rain. Here the walk turns left and follows the rocky track that leads gently up alongside the creek through the pleasant forest. After a little over 1km, the walk comes into view of the tailwater of the dam and then past a fenced cutting (on your right), the site of an old pump house. About 60m past this fenced area, the walk leads up along the now widening track to find the edge of the fenced lower Mooney Mooney Dam wall.
Lower Mooney Mooney Dam
Int of the dam trail and the old Somersby Falls track Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.66 km
Time = 40 mins
Climb = 143 m
Descent = -25 m
Continue straight: From the lower Mooney Mooney Dam, this walk heads uphill along the old trail, initially keeping the water on your left. The trail leads up, enjoying the occasional glimpse of water (on your left) for about 400m to pass a washed-out section of the old trail. From here, the walk continues up along the trail for about 1.3km, getting steeper as it climbs, and comes to a three-way intersection marked with a 'Mooney Creek' sign pointing back downhill.
Lower Mooney Dam
Alt = 40 m
Lower Mooney Dam is located on the Mooney Mooney Creek, about 21 km upstream from the Hawkesbury River. In March 1938 the Gosford Mayor turned the tap to add the water from this dam into the small town water supply of the time. It is a concrete arch dam, with a capacity of 1,000 megalitres, and was superseded by the more than 4 times larger 'Upper Mooney Dam' in 1982. There is a set of timber steps and a faint track that leads down to the waters edge on the uphill side of the dam wall, the dam wall is fenced and is clearly out of bounds. A sign reminds visitors that swimming is not allowed.
Int of Great North Walk and Somersby Falls track
Int of Great North Walk and Somersby Falls GNW track head Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 697 m
Time = 16 mins
Climb = 45 m
Descent = -19 m
Turn sharp right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Somersby Falls' sign up along the bush track, passing a 'private property' sign and running parallel to a barbed-wire fence, which it eventually crosses (using the stiles) to the road.
Int of Great North Walk and Somersby Falls GNW track head
Somersby Falls picnic area entrance Track: Moderate - road
Length = 1.62 km
Time = 29 mins
Climb = 26 m
Descent = -47 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the Great North Walk arrow along the road, keeping the large horse paddock to the right. The walk continues past a four-way intersection with another dirt road, and heads down and across a stream as the road bends around a corner. From here, the walk keeps following the road to the intersection with Somersby Falls Road, just outside the entrance to the Somersby Falls Picnic Area.
Somersby Falls Picnic Area
Alt = 0 m
Somersby Falls Picnic Area is located at the end of Somersby Falls Rd, inside Brisbane Water National Park. There is parking (and coach parking), gas BBQ's, picnic tables and bench seats, toilets (include wheelchair accessible) garbage bins, recycling bins, tap water (not for drinking) and information signs. This is a great and popular spot to enjoy a picnic lunch and the waterfalls. A national Park entry fee applies for cars driving in.
Somersby Falls picnic area entrance
Bottom of Bottom Falls Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - road,footpath,bushtrack,bushtrack,bushtrack
Length = 339 m
Time = 7 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -45 m
Turn right: From the entrance gate at the entrance to Somersby Falls picnic area, this walk follows the driveway past the bus parking area to the main picnic area and car park. (Alternatively, the walk can follow the Great North walk track into the picnic area, that starts a short distance to the north). Turn right: From the information board at Somersby Falls Picnic area (at the end of Somersby Road), this walk follows the 'To the Falls' sign down the stone, then timber stairs. At the bottom of the timber staircase the walk comes to an intersection with a short path leading to the 1st Fall Lookout. Veer left: From the bottom of the stairs, this walk follows the stone stairs down the hill (keeping the valley to the right). The track passes through some pleasant bush, past a metal arrow post to come to a faint 'T' intersection with a dirt track. Veer right: From the bottom of the stone steps, this walk follows the timber steps and track down the hill. The track soon leads to a 'Y' intersection with a 'Top Fall / Bottom Fall' sign. Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Bottom Falls' sign down the hill (keeping the main valley on the right). The track soon heads along a sandstone platform (passing a metal arrow) and down the stone steps to come to a timber platform. The walk follows the platform and heads down the staircases. At the bottom of the timber staircases, the walk turns sharply right to follows the stone steps down to the creek (On the way the track passes over a slippery unfenced rock ledge, care is needed). Just before the creek there is a 'No Track Beyond this point' sign. The steps then lead to the rock platform at the base of the falls. (The rock platform can be slippery and there is an unfenced cliff) (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then continue straight to continue along this walk.)
Somersby Falls (top)
Alt = 0 m
The main Somersby Fall is signposted at 'top falls' in the Brisbane Water National Park. The water cascades steeply down the jagged rock face onto a large rock platform. The unfenced rock platform at the base of the falls is interesting to explore. The water continues its flow across the rock and over another ledge to form the 'bottom falls', then down to Mooney Mooney Creek.
Somersby Falls picnic area entrance
Int of Pile Rd and Old Pacific Highway Walk: Easy - road
Length = 3.03 km
Time = 55 mins
Climb = 63 m
Descent = -75 m
Turn left: From the entrance to the picnic area, this walk heads up Somersby Falls Road to the intersection with Vittasalos Road, where it turns right and continues along Somersby Falls Road, through to the roundabout at the intersection with Pile Road. Turn right: From the roundabout, the walk heads south along Pile Road to the end, where it meets the Old Pacific Highway.
Int of Pile Rd and Old Pacific Highway
Int of Girrakool and Quarry Rds Track: Moderate - road
Length = 1.13 km
Time = 21 mins
Climb = 14 m
Descent = -41 m
Turn right: From the intersection, the walk heads south-west along the Old Pacific Highway, down the long hill to the intersection of the Old Pacific Highway and Girrakool Road. Turn left: From the intersection, the walk follows Girrakool Road down the hill for a short distance to the intersection with Quarry Rd.
Int of Girrakool and Gosford Quarries Rds
Girrakool picnic area car park Walk: Easy - road
Length = 613 m
Time = 11 mins
Climb = 8 m
Descent = -25 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads down through the Girrakool picnic area gates. The road then leads under the F3 Freeway (through a tunnel) and continues down along the road, winding past a couple of National Park buildings to come to the picnic area car park and some information signs.
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.
Brisbane Water National ParkLink to official closures and fire bans page Brisbane Waters National Park is situated south west of Gosford perched on the Hawkesbury River. The park is characterised by sandstone features, Aboriginal engravings, flowery heaths, bird life and spectacular water views. Brisbane Waters NP has many bushwalks through the are with the Great North Walk passing through the middle of the park. Region: Sydney & Surrounds Park feesCampingFacilities I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.