Today I began the first day of a four day hike along the northern reaches of the Great North Walk, NSW, Australia (It’s also my eighth section of the trail to date ). My plan for the next few days is:
Day 1: Yarramalong to Basin campsite.
Day 2: Basin to Flat Rock.
Day 3: Flat Rock to Watagan Forest HQ.
Day 4: HQ to Teralba.
This then leaves one final leg to take me to Newcastle later in the year. This walk also ticks off the multiday walk in my 12 hike challenge for this year.
I made a YouTube video this time! Hope you like. GNW Yarramalong to Basin Campsite
After dropping the kids off at school my wife drove me 45 minutes up the coast to Yarramalong store & cafe. It was raining so we had a coffee and a bite to eat while we waited for it to ease. This would be the only rain of the walk so I wasn’t bothered. Oh, the staff at the cafe are lovely so I recommend popping in.
Soon enough I said my goodbyes and headed off on what was an 11km roadwalk alongside farmland to reach the first trailhead. One of my rules for this walk was to have a continuous line of footsteps from Sydney to Newcastle so I couldn’t skip this bit. As it was, the farms were quite pretty and I even saw a wombat wombling around!
I made great time but was tiring a little so as soon as I entered the bush track I sat in a lush little nook in the rocks behind the last farm and ate.
The terrain became tougher and was slowing me down. I started to rush as I was worried about reaching the campsite before nightfall. The turn off for the Basin Campsite appeared after a big descent. I could see wollombi brook through the trees but didn’t have a great view. I hadn’t expected this little 2.5km link trail, called the Lyrebird trail, to be difficult but it was extremely narrow in places with a sizeable cliff next to it. So I slowed down trying to be careful. There were a lot of small ups and downs which don’t really show up on a topographic map but started exhausting me. At one point a tree blocked my path as it had grown across the trail. I decided to go under it and lost my footing. I hung onto that tree for dear life as I swung myself under it, acutely aware of the drop off next to me. In reality I wasn’t in any danger as I would have just flopped onto the trail if I had let go, but it was a worrying moment and made it clear to me how tired I was and how much I was rushing.
Unfortunately the light was now fading fast so I had no choice but to scoot along at a faster pace as this terrain was no place to rely solely on a headlamp. I purposely slowed at the narrow bits though and anywhere else that looked tricky. I still slipped half a dozen times and each time my hiking poles kept me upright.
I barely noticed the forest at that point as I was on a mission. I finally spied a clearing in the distance and knew it was the campsite. It still took a winding five or ten minutes to get there, which of course felt like an hour.
The campsite was empty. I dropped my pack on a bench and made use of the surprisingly nature-free toilets whilst I still had light. I then found a nice flat spot for the tent and set up. I had a small disaster here as I broke a tent pole! Strangely enough I just took it in my stride and set about fixing it, rather than getting all frustrated. I think that since I had the means to fix it using a metal sleeve that was supplied with the tent, it just wasn’t an issue. In hindsight I’m really pleased with how I handled it.
I made a cup of hot chocolate and started to relax a little. The light vanished as I finished a meal so I retreated to my tent and fell asleep at the earliest hour I have done in a long time!
An hour later I was woken by a loud vehicle that was turning around at the entrance to the site. It’s high beams struck the tent a few times. I turned my tent light on as I was a little worried it would drive over me! They were soon gone. I tried to write the blog but was too tired. I don’t know how folks blog live from a trail but I couldn’t do it. Maybe next time with shorter days?
I had a very lovely sleep.
Next up: Basin Campsite to Flat Rock
Links: 1: Sydney to Thornleigh, 2: Thornleigh to Berowra Heights, 3: Berowra Heights to Cowan, 4: Cowan to Brooklyn, 5: Patonga to Wondabyne, 6: Wondabyne to Somersby Overnight , 7: Somersby to Yarramalong , 8: Yarramalong to Basin Campsite , 9: Basin Campsite to Flat Rock , 10: Flat Rock to Watagan Forest HQ ,11: Watagan Forest HQ to Teralba