Watagan Forestry HQ Campsite to Heaton Gap
Awabakal Country

5 h to 6 h
2 h 30 min to 4 h

12 km
oneway

↑ 567 m
↓ -881 m

Hard track
This walk starts from the Watagan Forestry HQ Campsite and follows the Great North Walk through the Watagan State Forest. The walk then heads out to Heaton lookout and down the long descent into Heaton Gap, passing several more fantastic lookouts and picnic areas on the way. The walk finishes at Heaton Gap on Freemans drive, just opposite the Watagan Forest Motel. Let us begin by acknowledging the Awabakal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 
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Forestry/Watagan Headquarters campsite. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Welcome to Watagan Headquarters Campsite. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Great North Walk sign on Barkers Road Forestry Head Quarters. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barkers Road on the Great North Walk . | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hunter Lookout and Picnic Area. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View From Hunter Lookout . | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View From Hunter Picnic area and Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
On Barkers Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Small Mossy Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from Barkers Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Great North Walk Trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
A rocky creek on the Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Looking onto Wallis Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Cave on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Scenery on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Fallen tree on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Termite Mound on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from the end of Hammonds Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track on Fosters Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from the end of Hammonds Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track On Fosters Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from of the Valley. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Walking along the base of the cliff on the Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Interesting rocks on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View From Hammons Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View From Barniers Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hollow tree on the Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Wallis Creek on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Wallis Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Trail On the Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Fallen Tree on Barniers Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barniers Road Trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Side creek flowing into Wallis Creek. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barniers Road in the Watagans . | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Hollow tree. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Heading towards Heaton Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from Heaton Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View From Heaton Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barniers road On the Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Barniers Road. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
The Great North Walk near Mt Heaton Communications tower. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Heaton Gap Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View From Heaton Gap Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Heaton Gap Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Trail on Freemans Drive trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from Great North Walk Heaton Gap Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View From Heaton Gap Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View Heaton Gap Lookout on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Track below Heaton Gap Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from stair case at Freemans Drive trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from Freemans drive trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Looking down the track near Heaton Gap Lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Flowers on The Great North Walk. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Trail near Heaton Gap. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Heaton Gap Look out. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View from above Heaton Gap. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
View of Freemans Drive trail. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2010.
Watagan Forest Motel. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
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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 (-32.9755217,151.4117966)
Mode Car (There is free parking available.)
DirectionsFrom Palmers Road Exit
  • Turn on to Palmers Road then drive for 90 m
  • Turn slight left onto Palmers Road and drive for another 3.1 km
  • At roundabout, take exit 2 onto Freemans Drive, B82 and drive for another 7.9 km
  • Turn sharp left onto Sandy Creek Road and drive for another 9.6 km
  • Turn left onto Heaton Road and drive for another 6.6 km
  • Keep left onto Bakers Road and drive for another 175 m
  • Turn left onto Bakers Road and drive for another 4 m
Finish (-32.9652719,151.4793836)
Mode (end) Car Shuttle   Bus   Car   (There is free parking available.)
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the intersection (Forestry H.Q. campsite), this walk follows Bakers Road gently downhill, while keeping the GNW arrow marker on your right and the large 'Great North Walk' sign on your left. The walk continues, undulating gently for about 900m until coming to a three-way intersection with Rocky Creek Road (on the right).....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start heading along Bakers Road.
Then come to the "Watagan Headquarters Camping Area" (35 m on your left).
This is a free campsite.
Then find the "Watagan Headquarters" (55 m on your left).
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.

Then pass the picnic table (75 m on your left).
After another 960 m (at the intersection of Bakers Road & Rockey Point Road) continue straight, to head along Bakers Road.
After another 400 m (at the intersection of Glen Road & Bakers Road) continue straight, to head along Bakers Road.
After another 180 m continue straight.
After another 50 m head through/around the gate.
After another 105 m pass the toilet (6 m on your right).
After another 40 m find the "Hunter Lookout" (10 m on your left).
Hunter Lookout
Hunter Lookout

Hunter Lookout can be found on Bakers Road, along the Great North Walk. This fenced lookout has everything you will need snack-stop, including toilets, picnic tables, chairs and wood-fired barbecues. This lookout has fantastic views over much of the Hunter region. In 2010, a series of vandalism attacks occurred on the water tank, so water is no longer available at Hunter Lookout.
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Hunter Lookout can be found on Bakers Road, along the Great North Walk. This fenced lookout has everything you will need snack-stop, including toilets, picnic tables, chairs and wood-fired barbecues. This lookout has fantastic views over much of the Hunter region. In 2010, a series of vandalism attacks occurred on the water tank, so water is no longer available at Hunter Lookout.

After another 15 m pass the picnic table (15 m on your left).
Continue straight.
After another 30 m pass the car park (30 m on your right).
After another 40 m head through/around the gate.
Continue straight, to head along Bakers Road.
After another 440 m continue straight, to head along Bakers Road.
After another 390 m to find the car park.
Then pass the picnic table (30 m on your left).
Then find the "Mcleans Lookout" (45 m on your left).
Mcleans Lookout
Mcleans Lookout

McLeans Lookout offers magnificent views of the valleys in Heaton State Forest. Located on Bakers Road, this fenced lookout also has picnic facilities including tables with seats and open grassy areas.
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McLeans Lookout offers magnificent views of the valleys in Heaton State Forest. Located on Bakers Road, this fenced lookout also has picnic facilities including tables with seats and open grassy areas.

After another 30 m continue straight.
After another 560 m (at the intersection of Watagan Track & Glen Road) continue straight, to head along Watagan Track.
After another 65 m come to the viewpoint (15 m on your left).
After another 720 m veer right.
After another 320 m veer right, to head along Great North Walk.
After another 410 m (at the intersection of Great North Walk & Hammonds Road) continue straight, to head along Great North Walk.
After another 1.4 km cross the ford.
Continue straight, to head along Great North Walk.
After another 430 m cross the ford.
Then pass the sign.
After another 760 m (at the intersection of Barniers Road & Great North Walk) continue straight, to head along Great North Walk.
After another 1.1 km (at the intersection of Heaton Road & Great North Walk) turn left, to head along Heaton Road (a vehicle track).
Then to find the car park.
After another 210 m pass the picnic table (20 m on your right).
Then find the "Heaton Lookout" (20 m on your right).
Heaton Lookout
Heaton Lookout

Heaton Lookout is one of the larger lookouts located on Heaton Road. This fenced lookout faces south-east. There are wood fired barbecues, picnic tables and a pit toilet. Heaton Lookout is a great place to stop for a snack, and the amazing view feels like a bonus. This lookout was named after Richard Heaton, a timber cutter who came to Australia as a convict. There is a water tank here, due to vandalism in the area this is not a reliable water source.
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Heaton Lookout is one of the larger lookouts located on Heaton Road. This fenced lookout faces south-east. There are wood fired barbecues, picnic tables and a pit toilet. Heaton Lookout is a great place to stop for a snack, and the amazing view feels like a bonus. This lookout was named after Richard Heaton, a timber cutter who came to Australia as a convict. There is a water tank here, due to vandalism in the area this is not a reliable water source.

After another 8 m continue straight.
After another 65 m pass the toilet (8 m on your right).
After another 245 m continue straight, to head along Heaton Loop Trail.
After another 205 m (at the intersection of Heaton Road & Heaton Loop Trail) veer right, to head along Heaton Road (a vehicle track).
After another 1.8 km (at the intersection of Taylors Road & Murrells Road) turn sharp right (a walking track).
After another 750 m find the "Heaton Gap Lookout" (15 m on your right).
Heaton Gap Lookout
Heaton Gap Lookout

Heaton Gap lookout is a fantastic spot to stop and catch your breath in Heaton State Forest. This unfenced lookout offers exhilarating views over the valleys towards Tuggerah Lake and Lake Macquarie. this unsignposted view, as with many features in the area, was named after Richard Heaton, a timber cutter who came to Australia as a convict.
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Heaton Gap lookout is a fantastic spot to stop and catch your breath in Heaton State Forest. This unfenced lookout offers exhilarating views over the valleys towards Tuggerah Lake and Lake Macquarie. this unsignposted view, as with many features in the area, was named after Richard Heaton, a timber cutter who came to Australia as a convict.

After another 970 m head down the surface|wood steps
After another 5 m come to the end.
About 15 m past the end is "Watagan Forest Motel".
Watagan Forest Motel
Watagan Forest Motel

Watagan Forest Motel is located on Branxton-Toronto Road. This retro-style motel is located right on the Great North Walk. The motel offers six rooms for around $99 per night - each with a double bed (four rooms also have twin singles), a television, bathroom with shower, air conditioning, and breakfast included. Room service is available. Adjoining the motel is a service station, which also offers dining room meals as well as a small grocery selection (bread, milk, bottled water, rice, pasta, etc), open until 8:30pm daily. A rest area is situated next to the motel, with covered picnic tables and garbage bins. For further information, phone (02)4938 0149.
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Watagan Forest Motel is located on Branxton-Toronto Road. This retro-style motel is located right on the Great North Walk. The motel offers six rooms for around $99 per night - each with a double bed (four rooms also have twin singles), a television, bathroom with shower, air conditioning, and breakfast included. Room service is available. Adjoining the motel is a service station, which also offers dining room meals as well as a small grocery selection (bread, milk, bottled water, rice, pasta, etc), open until 8:30pm daily. A rest area is situated next to the motel, with covered picnic tables and garbage bins. For further information, phone (02)4938 0149.

About 30 m past the end is a picnic table.
About 35 m past the end is a picnic table.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Watagan Forestry HQ Campsite to Heaton Gap


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 12 km
Time 5 h to 6 h
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Minimal directional signs (4/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged) (4/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Storms may impact on navigation and safety (3/6)

Some facilities on route
Campsite: There are 2 on route, on average they are 4 km apart with the largest gap of 12 km.

Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 4 km apart with the largest gap of 6.3 km.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Camp site
-16 mWatagan Headquarters Camping Area
Campsite
-16 mWatagan Headquarters
Toilet
1.7 km[toilet]
Toilet
8 km[toilet]
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