The Grass Tree Circuit
The Grass Tree Circuit walking track is a pleasant relatively level walk. This track meanders through rainforest and grass tree forest and is ideal for families. You'll find the beginning and end of this track in the Mill Creek picnic area.
This gradual ascent provides an insight into the hardships the convicts faced as they toiled to build the Great North Road, considered one of the most important engineering feats of the early years of the colony. View the amazing towering buttresses reaching 12 metres in height, the quarries that supplied material and Hangman's Rock. There are information signs along the walk explaining the methods used during construction. The ascent will take you around one hour with stops to read the information signs, 30 minutes without stopping. The descent takes around 20 minutes.
Directions: This walk begins 0.5 km west of the ferry stop on the northern side of the Hawkesbury River.
Finchs Line is the original ascent of the Old Great North Road which was abandoned because it was too steep. As you climb you have spectacular views over the Hawkesbury River and you can see some of the original convict built walls and culverts. The majority of this walk (5 km) is along the ridge top.
This walk can become a loop by ascending Devines Hill and descending along Finchs Line. This addition is around 2 km (including a stretch along Wisemans Ferry Road).
Old Great North Road - World Heritage walk
Old Great North Road - World Heritage walk features a historic convict-built, some in chains, road overlooking the Hawkesbury River, in Dharug National Park. Returning via Finchs Line, this moderately steep track is popular with families and history buffs with some bushwalking experience.
Starting on Devines Hill loop, you’ll pass the quarry, with historic graffiti carved in the rocks by convicts long gone. You can almost hear the sound of picks striking the blocks and the clinking of leg irons. Marvel at the craftsmanship of the beautifully preserved stonework that includes towering stone buttresses, culverts and even a curved wall.
Unpack a picnic along the way and soak up the tranquil bush setting with scenic river views. Round off your day with a night under the stars at Mill Creek campground, only a short drive away.
The 11 km walking track
The 11 km walking track also begins and ends at the Mill Creek picnic ground, but it's considerably more challenging than the short walk. This is a rugged track with steep climbs and you will ascend and descend the escarpment three times. There are beautiful lush gullies and creeks and high ridge tops.
Come well prepared, as this walk takes a minimum of 4 hours for fit people, and up to 6 hours for a walker of average speed and fitness. It is advisable to start this walk in the morning, so you have time to complete it before nightfall. Walkers are advised to carry a well-equipped daypack, maps, a compass and plenty of water.
Devines Hill loop
Fabulous views, great examples of convict-era engineering and a terrific hill to climb – the Devine Hill loop is the perfect bike ride.
Squeeze a camera into your pack for the panoramic views and spectacular sandstone walls of Devines Hill on the Old Great North Road, one of the sites within the Convict Sites of Australia World Heritage World Heritage Area.
There are interpretive panels along the way, so be sure to hop off your bike to find out more about the history of this area. On the way back down, you’ll have to walk your bike, but that’ll give you more time to enjoy the beauty of the park. It also makes a good bushwalk if you don’t want to ride.
Directions: Start from either Mill Creek camping area or Hazel Dell picnic area (both on Wisemans Ferry Road), ride along Wisemans Ferry Road (take care this road is narrow and busy) until you reach the base of Devines Hill - a few hundred metres past the ferry crossing.
At the top of Devines Hill turn right and travel along until you see Finchs Line on the right. You will need to walk your bike down the last descent to Wisemans Ferry Road.
Great North Road walk - Wisemans Ferry to Mount Manning
For the truly adventurous, it takes two to three days to comfortably walk the 43 km section of the Old Great North Road from Wisemans Ferry to Mount Manning. Along the road you'll see Clare's Bridge, one of the oldest bridges on the mainland, and Circuit Flat Bridge. There are basic camping facilities at Ten Mile Hollow and Mogo. Remember to take plenty of water because there is no permanent water supply along the road.
Cultural heritage: See Clare's Bridge, one of the oldest on mainland Australia.