Great North Walk: Congewai Track Head (East) to Watagan Headquarters

6 h 27 min to 7 h

17.1 km
oneway

↑ 849 m
↓ -526 m

Hard track
This full day walk starts from the Congewai valley trackhead (east) and follows the Great North Walk up into the Watagan National Park. Winding east along Georges road for the most part, this walk also passes many great lookouts and gives the option of a side trip down to the 125r lookout, which provides a great view to the south and nice spot for lunch. The walk finishes at the Watagan Headquarters campsite, which has a fire place and a picnic table. Let us begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
Show all
Congewai Valley track head. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Brown Muir Farm. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Great North Walk Path in Congewai Valley . | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Congewai Valley Trail on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track on the Great North Walk in Congewai Valley. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Georges Road trail on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Trail on Georges Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Plants On the Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Looking at Georges Road Trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Abandoned Shack. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Geroges Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hollow Tree in Near Barraba Trig. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barraba Campsite in Congewai Valley. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barraba Campsite . | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Georges Road Walking Trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barbara Lowers Private Property Gate. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Georges Road Walking Trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from Georges Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Saddle Rest area Dam. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Saddle Rest Area. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Walking Track on Georges Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from the Great North Walk Rest Area. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Great North Walk Rest Area. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Georges Road in Congewai Valley. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Georges Road Walking Trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Georges Road on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Northern view point. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Northern View Point. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Georges Road Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
The Great North Walk Campsite. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Georges Road Watasgans National Park. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Watagans National Park . | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Heatons Road Watagan National Park. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Watagan National Park Heatons Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Great North Walk sign on Barkers Road Forestry Head Quarters. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Downloads GPX PDF

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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Start (-32.9952377,151.3003893)
Mode Car (There is free parking available.)
DirectionsFrom Hunter Expressway, M15
  • Turn on to Hart Road Offramp then drive for 510 m
  • Keep left onto Hart Road Offramp and drive for another 790 m
  • Keep left onto Hart Road and drive for another 175 m
  • Turn slight left onto Sawyers Gully Road and drive for another 1.9 km
  • Continue onto Cessnock Road, B68 and drive for another 10.8 km
  • Continue onto Wollombi Road and drive for another 360 m
  • At roundabout, take exit 2 onto Wollombi Road and drive for another 6.7 km
  • Turn left onto Middle Road and drive for another 4 km
  • Turn slight left onto Congewai Road and drive for another 12.5 km
Finish (-32.9764175,151.4122318)
Mode (end) Car Shuttle   Car   (There is free parking available.)
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the Congewai Valley east trackhead, this walk follows the 'Newcastle' sign over the stile. Here the walk follows the track gently uphill through the open forest, leaving the Congewai Valley Road behind. After about 500m, this walk comes to a stile (with farmland and a fence on the left).
Continue straight: From here, this walk climbs over the fence using the stile and follows the track gently uphill, keeping the more open farmland on your left. The walk continues for about 300m to an intersection with a wide dirt trail, just before a vehicular gate, marked with a GNW arrow post.....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
Find the Great North Walk at the start.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip to Crawford Tank and Hut. To start this optional side trip turn right here. On returning from this side trip turn right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 730 m continue straight.
After another 2.9 km continue straight.
After another 175 m find the "Old Loggers Hut" (8 m on your left).
Old Loggers Hut
Old Loggers Hut

This Old Hut found beside Georges Rd, is in a state of disrepair. The corrugated iron and wooden hut has a dirt floor and a simple fire place. The hut's condition is poor and would not provide suitable shelter. Just south of the hut is a small dam. The hut was once used by loggers harvesting timber from these hills
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This Old Hut found beside Georges Rd, is in a state of disrepair. The corrugated iron and wooden hut has a dirt floor and a simple fire place. The hut's condition is poor and would not provide suitable shelter. Just south of the hut is a small dam. The hut was once used by loggers harvesting timber from these hills

After another 240 m find the "Georges Road Rest Area" (20 m on your right).
Georges Road Rest Area
Georges Road Rest Area

This campsite is located above Wallaby Gully, off Georges Road. The clearing has a scattering of trees, and has awesome views of Wallaby Gully. There is room for a few tents and small campfire.
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This campsite is located above Wallaby Gully, off Georges Road. The clearing has a scattering of trees, and has awesome views of Wallaby Gully. There is room for a few tents and small campfire.

After another 170 m veer right.
After another 105 m find the "Barraba Campsite" (80 m on your left).
Barraba Campsite
Barraba Campsite

Barraba campsite, near Georges Road on the Great North Walk, is quiet rest area where campers can stay the night and set up a campfire. The small, semi-secluded campsite is surrounded by lovely large grass trees. The campsite has a 'Walker register' book so you can note your intentions. The campsite has no facilities or water.
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Barraba campsite, near Georges Road on the Great North Walk, is quiet rest area where campers can stay the night and set up a campfire. The small, semi-secluded campsite is surrounded by lovely large grass trees. The campsite has a 'Walker register' book so you can note your intentions. The campsite has no facilities or water.

After another 70 m continue straight.
After another 10 m climb over the stile.
After another 135 m turn left.
After another 400 m continue straight.
After another 20 m veer right.
After another 1.1 km find the "Saddle Rest Area" (8 m on your right).
Saddle Rest Area
Saddle Rest Area

This rest area consists of a clearing on a saddle, with a small dam nearby. There is space for a number of tents and access to water after rain (treat before use).
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This rest area consists of a clearing on a saddle, with a small dam nearby. There is space for a number of tents and access to water after rain (treat before use).

After another 700 m climb over the stile.
Then find the "Great North Walk Rest Area" (9 m on your left).
Great North Walk Rest Area
Great North Walk Rest Area

Located on George Road, this rest area is situated by a steep, unfenced drop with spectacular views. There is space for a few tents and a small campfire, there are no facilities or water here.
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Located on George Road, this rest area is situated by a steep, unfenced drop with spectacular views. There is space for a few tents and a small campfire, there are no facilities or water here.

The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip to 125r Lookout Rest Area. To start this optional side trip continue straight here. On returning from this side trip turn right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 1.3 km turn left.
After another 1.4 km find the "Great North Walk Rest Area" (10 m on your right).
Great North Walk Rest Area
Great North Walk Rest Area

This is a small rest area on the side of Georges Road, providing room to rest up and for a small campfire. There are also some nice views through the trees but be careful as this rest area is near a steep drop.
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This is a small rest area on the side of Georges Road, providing room to rest up and for a small campfire. There are also some nice views through the trees but be careful as this rest area is near a steep drop.

After another 1.6 km find the "Narrow Place Lookout" (25 m on your right).
Narrow Place Lookout
Narrow Place Lookout

Narrow Place Lookout is perched high on an partially-fenced cliff and provides great views north over the farmland and bush towards Cessnock. The lookout is beside a dirt road and a fairly large clearing.
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Narrow Place Lookout is perched high on an partially-fenced cliff and provides great views north over the farmland and bush towards Cessnock. The lookout is beside a dirt road and a fairly large clearing.

After another 1.5 km veer right, to head along Georges Road.
After another 275 m continue straight, to head along Georges Road.
After another 240 m continue straight, to head along Georges Road.
After another 2 km continue straight, to head along Georges Road.
After another 80 m continue straight, to head along Georges Road.
After another 610 m (at the intersection of Watagan Forest Road & Georges Road) veer right, to head along Watagan Forest Road (a vehicle track).
After another 1 km (at the intersection of Watagan Forest Road & Bakers Road) continue straight, to head along Bakers Road (a vehicle track).
After another 175 m continue straight.
After another 60 m find the "Watagan Headquarters" (on your right).
Watagan Headquarters
Watagan Headquarters

Watagan Headsquarters campsite (aka Forestry HQ) is located in the Heaton State Forest, beside Bakers Rd, near Heaton Rd. This campsite has wood fired barbecues, picnic tables and a garbage bin. The large, flat, cleared area allows plenty of room to pitch a tent. In 2010, a series of vandalism attacks occurred on the water tank, so there is no longer water available.
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Watagan Headsquarters campsite (aka Forestry HQ) is located in the Heaton State Forest, beside Bakers Rd, near Heaton Rd. This campsite has wood fired barbecues, picnic tables and a garbage bin. The large, flat, cleared area allows plenty of room to pitch a tent. In 2010, a series of vandalism attacks occurred on the water tank, so there is no longer water available.

After another 40 m pass the picnic table (6 m on your right).
After another 9 m come to the end.

An optional side trip to Crawford Tank and Hut.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 170 m come to "Crawford Tank & Hut".
Crawford Tank & Hut
Crawford Tank & Hut

This clearing is home to a water tank and hut on the 'Brown Muir' farm. The water tank was installed by LPMA in 2011 for walkers undertaking the Great North Walk. This farm and property have been in the owner's family since original land grants. You are welcome to camp here and use the hut as shelter. The hut is a simple structure with an earth floor, some tables, seating and some beds, although best to sleep in your tent. There is an old pit toilet on the side of the clearing. A sign reminds visitors not to light fires, this is a fuel stove only area. Wave and say hello to the owners Jill and Martin if you see them.
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This clearing is home to a water tank and hut on the 'Brown Muir' farm. The water tank was installed by LPMA in 2011 for walkers undertaking the Great North Walk. This farm and property have been in the owner's family since original land grants. You are welcome to camp here and use the hut as shelter. The hut is a simple structure with an earth floor, some tables, seating and some beds, although best to sleep in your tent. There is an old pit toilet on the side of the clearing. A sign reminds visitors not to light fires, this is a fuel stove only area. Wave and say hello to the owners Jill and Martin if you see them.

About 10 m past the end is a toilet., not equiped with Handwashing basin.
The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 170 m to the main route.

An optional side trip to 125r Lookout Rest Area.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start heading along Lookout Trail.
After 870 m find the "125r Lookout" (10 m on your left).
125r Lookout
125r Lookout

The 125r Lookout, in the Watagan National Park, is located on a track off Georges Road. This unfenced clearing is on a cliff edge and has broad views o over the surrounding valleys. This small clearing has been used as a campsite.
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The 125r Lookout, in the Watagan National Park, is located on a track off Georges Road. This unfenced clearing is on a cliff edge and has broad views o over the surrounding valleys. This small clearing has been used as a campsite.

Continue another 20 m to find 125r Lookout at the end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 890 m to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Great North Walk: Congewai Track Head (East) to Watagan Headquarters


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 17.1 km
Time 6 h 27 min to 7 h
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
Experience Required Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Weather Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)

Some facilities on route
Campsite: There are 4 on route, on average they are 3.5 km apart with the largest gap of 12.7 km.

Toilet: There is one 740 m (plus an extra 225 m along side route) from the start.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Campsite
740 mCrawford Tank & Hut
Toilet
740 m[toilet]
Campsite
4 kmGeorges Road Rest Area
Campsite
4.3 kmBarraba Campsite
Campsite
17 kmWatagan Headquarters
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