Not too long ago, we featured Brisbane Water National Park in our series on National Parks near Sydney. It is such a big park, we have gone back to feature a two part series on the park including the walking trails and things to do in the park. It is 11,506 hectares and located 27 km north of Sydney. It takes about 1 ½ hours to drive to the park from Sydney’s CBD. Brisbane Water National Park is located in the Central Coast region of New South Wales. We have been featuring the national parks in the region north of Sydney in New South Wales including the Greater Blue Mountains Area National Parks as well as other national parks in the region. We featured Berowra Valley National Park, Marramarra National Park, Dharug National Park, Yengo National Park, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Nattai National Park, Gardens of Stone National Park, and Thirlmere Lakes National Park. Previously, we highlighted several other National Parks in this region including Blue Mountains National Park, Ku-ring-ga National Park, Royal National Park and Wollemi National Park. There are so many national parks in this region close to Sydney, some are part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage-listed area and some are not. Visiting a national park helps contribute to their protection and is an excellent way to be able to enjoy the Australian wilderness. Today, we are highlighting the walking trails in Brisbane Water National Park. We will be highlighting the 7 different walks within the park.
Walks of Brisbane Water National Park
Patonga to Pearl Beach Walking Track in Brisbane Water National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
One of the main highlights of Brisbane Water National Park are the various walking trails, a total of seven trails you can walk while in the park. When you are planning to venture out into a national park, remember that it is still wild lands even though it is a protected national park. Do your research about the requirements and details of the walking trail you choose. No matter the length of your walk, be sure to plan ahead, understand the fitness level requirements, use sunscreen and hats to protect your skin from the sun, have the right shoes and attire, bring plenty of drinking water, have emergency supplies with you, and make sure that someone not travelling with you knows when you are expected back. Check the weather before your trip so you know what type of conditions and temperatures you can expect. The weather in Brisbane Water National Park can be extreme and unpredictable, so be sure to come prepared for different weather scenarios. When you take all these necessary safety precautions, it ensures that you will have the most enjoyable holiday. It is also important to always remember that you are a guest in nature. Bring a bag with you to take your own rubbish away. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures. The highlights we will be covering in Brisbane Water National Park include walking tracks, cycle trails, lookouts, picnic spots, and more. In part one, we featured the walking tracks of Brisbane Water National Park. In part two, we will be highlighting the lookouts, biking trails, picnic spots, and exploring Aboriginal culture and history of the park.
The Great North Walk
Part of the iconic Great North Walk takes you through Brisbane Water National Park. The Great North Walk is 250 km long distance walk between Sydney, the Hunter Valley, and Newcastle. The entire walk is a grade 5 level of difficulty which should be reserved for advanced and experienced bushwalkers. Many hikers opt to break the walk up into several shorter walks especially since it weaves through several of the National Parks in the area. The Wondabyne to Patonga and Patonga to Pearl Beach parts of the Great North Walk are the ones located within this park. The distance for these walks is 38 km one-way and the suggested time is 1 to 3 days. Since this is an overnight walk, you should be prepared to campout in the park overnight. These are also grade 5 walks but there are easier sections of the walk that are great for inexperienced bushwalkers or families with children. Here are the sections of the Great North Walk located in the park that you can opt for:
- Patonga to Pearl Beach – 3km
- Patonga to Wondabyne – 23km
- Patonga to Mooney Mooney Creek campground (via Mt Wondabyne) – 30km
- Wondabyne to Mooney Mooney Creek campground – 12km
Patonga to Pearl Beach Walking Track
The Patonga to Pearl Beach Walking Track is a challenging walk rated a grade 5. As we mentioned above, this is a part of the Great North Walk that travels through Brisbane Water National Park. The unique thing about this walk is that the Pearl Beach section of the walk offers up panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean while the forested portion of the walk features red gums, eucalypts, and the Hawkesbury River. All of this change occurs over the 3 km one – way walk. You should allow 1 ½ to 2 hours to complete the walk. Of course, you can extend your walk by adding in a swim or some fishing time. Bird watching is popular on this walk with bush turkeys and kookaburras.
Mooney Mooney Nature Walk
The Mooney Mooney Nature Walk covers 4.2 km between Mooney and Girrakool. The walk is open all the time but the gate to the Girrakool car park at one end of the walk closes between 5pm and 9am. The walk is a grade 4 track and takes between 2 ½ and 3 ½ hours to walk. There are many different landscapes on this walk which makes it challenging. Expect to traverse over rainforest, grassy woodlands, casuarina forest with waterfalls and cave-like rocky overhangs. You will also cross over Piles Creek on the suspension bridge. All along the way there are beautiful views and plenty of bird watching.
This part of the Great North Walk is one of the longer sections of the walk in Brisbane Water National Park. It is 23 km one-way and takes 8 or 9 hours to complete. It is a grade 4 track that begins at the Wondabyne railway station and takes you through challenging portions of the grassy woodlands, rainforest, and coastal heath. You will be rewarded for your challenging walk with amazing views over Brisbane Water, Broken bay and the Hawkesbury River. You can camp overnight in the Mount Wondabyne bush campground marked by the fire circle at the base of the mountain. You can take a refreshing swim in the Kariong Brook waterfall and do some bird watching, which is great all year long here.
Piles Creek Loop
Piles Creek Loop in Brisbane Water National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
The Piles Creek Loop is a short yet challenging 4 km loop walk. It takes between 2 ½ and 3 hours to complete. The walk winds through the dry eucalypt forest, crosses Piles Creek over the suspension bridge and gives you a chance to see the majestic waterfalls.
Somersby Falls Walking Track
The Somersby Falls Walking Track takes you along the bottom of Somersby Falls. It is a short .1 km return walk that only takes 15 – 20 minutes. It is one of the easier walks in the park with a grade 3 level. The walk begins at the Somersby Falls Picnic Area. It is one of the most popular rest stops on the NSW Central Coast. Bird watching is popular here, and you might spot other local wildlife like water dragons, frogs, and goannas.
Girrakool Loop Track
Girrakool Loop Track in Brisbane Water National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
Girrakool Loop Track in Brisbane Water National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
The Girrakool Loop Track takes you through some of the most scenic spots in Brisbane Water National Park. It is a 2 km loop that is a grade 3 track. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete the loop. Some of the scenic views on this walk include waterfalls, forest panoramas, and the creek and wildflowers, which are in full colour bloom from late winter to early spring. An important part of this walk is the Aboriginal rock engraving site.
Hiring a Car in Sydney to get to Brisbane Water National Park
Brisbane Water National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Sydney Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
It’s convenient and easy to hire a car in Sydney at one of many convenient locations. If you flew into Sydney on holiday, you can hire a car right at the Sydney Airport. Other locations in Sydney where you can rent a car at a great price include Sydney east location in Alexandria, or the Sydney southwest location in Ravensby. The drive from Sydney to Brisbane Water National Park is about 1 ½ hour drive. If you want to hire your car or four wheel drive vehicle closer to Brisbane Water National Park, then choose the city of Gosford Budget location. Click through any of the links to get a quick and easy rate quote for the best car rental rates in Sydney. Be sure to let your car rental agent know your travel itinerary so that they can ensure you have the best vehicle for your trip. Many parts of this park are great for four-wheel driving, so you will likely want to hire a 4WD vehicle so that you can access all of those trails. Our helpful car rental agents can also assist you with local maps, holiday tips and pointers, and travel safety information. While in Sydney, check out these other holiday ideas from our blog: