GNW 274?

Getting closer to setting of on the walk, and looking forward to it. Have in mind a long weekend in early to mid November 2012.

Seems the GNW is actually between 260km and 274km in total, after adding up all the individual sections described online.

Using the “two day section” descriptions on I make it thus:

Section:                                                         Km                           Ascent (m)           Cumulative Km

Syd to Thornleigh 33 1114 33
Thornleigh to Cowan 34 2262 67
Cowan to wondabyne 33.4 1523 100.4
Wondabyn to Somersby 26.2 1164 126.6
Somersby to Yarramalong 26.7 1201 153.3
Yarramalong to Watagn ck 33.7 1615 187
Watagan ck to Congewai valley east 17.8 720 204.8
Congewai east to Heaton gap 29.7 1702 234.5
Heaton gap to Teralba station 14.8 460 249.3
Teralba to Newcastle 25.6 487 274.9


The plan is to walk the whole Great North Walk from Sydney to Newcastle, that is heading north. This is to be a solo, unsupported walk.  It can take as long as I like, but is to be done in one continuous push without overnight camping. Rest stops and sleeping are permitted as needed, but must be kept to the minimum needed for health and safety.

Definition of unsupported:

  • No crew
  • Cannot resupply at any shop or accept material help from any other person
  • Must resupply water at open sources along the way. This can include creeks, public taps and public water tanks.
  • Can take the public ferry over Sydney Harbour and/or the Hawkesbury River. May also cross those bodies in a self-driven boat or by self-driven car. May not accept lifts in a private car or boat. Public transport or self-drive only.
  • Must carry all food, shelter, supplies for the entire walk
  • No re-supply drops of any kind
  • No first aid from anyone else

Definition of Solo:

  • No “pacers”
  • Must not walk with any other person: If I meet any other parties hiking the trail in the same direction as me, I must not walk with them for any prolonged period, only for as long as reasonable for a brief, incidental encounter. I should try to overtake them as quickly as possible or let them pass me.
  • If there are other parties at a logical resting place, such as Watagan Forest HQ, I can share the place with them but must not accept any food, water, or other supplies from them.
Of course, in an energency none of the “rules” apply anymore.

The plan is to leave the “obelisk” at the official Sydney end of the trail early on a Thursday or Friday evening taking the ferry to Woolwhich. If there is a problem with the ferry on the day, then I can get a taxi from Circular Quay to the Valencia St wharf. I will walk through the night aiming to get to Brooklyn by around 10:00 the following morning. I hope to be able to use the 11am ferry to Patonga Beach if it is running. Just in case it isn’t, or if there is a problem with the ferry or I get in too late, I will have a car parked at Brooklyn. If I can’t get the ferry I’ll drive myself to Patonga Beach. This is one of the main reasons for starting at the Sydney end of the trail: the drive will be much safer after one night of walking than after several if I was heading south. Also solves the problem of arriving at Woolwhich after ferries have stopped for the night.

From Patonga Beach I’ll just follow the GNW to Newcastle. At Newcastle I may stay a night in a hotel, or just get a train straight back to Sydney.

Why solo?

  • why not?
  • ensures walking with someone I get along with
  • easier than having to worry about, consider, or keep up with someone else

Why unsupported?

  • bushwalks usually are!
  • may relax the “rule” about buying food at shops along the way. There are shops on the trail at Hunters Hill, Thornleigh, Brooklyn, Patonga Beach, Somersby, Yarramalong, Heaton Gap, Teralba, and Charlestown.














5 Responses to “GNW 274?”

  1. Anne | October 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    You are tough on yourself.

  2. Anne | October 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Kosciusko 2,228m ASL, Everest 8,848m ASL, GNW ascent (as in your table) is 12,248m.

    • Saul | November 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      yes, if Wildwalks figures are correct then it involves more climbing than an ascent of Everest.

      • Anne | November 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

        Makes Bogong to Hotham 64km, total ascent 2,614m, look like a picnic (though at high altitude).

  3. Joe | June 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Hi, I am attempting a solo run on the GNW250 in July and was just wondering how you went with this ?? … any tips or pointers would be great. I am running from Newcastle to Sydney and going for around 60 to 70 hours. I have run the GNW 100 mile race in just under 30 hours.