SCENIC DRIVES AND 4WD TRACKS
This trail follows the corridor of the first fully constructed road from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, through scenery that is much as it was in the 19th century. The Great North Road was built with convict labour between 1826 and 1836 and substantial sections of it still survive. It is included in a suite of convict sites throughout Australia being investigated for World Heritage nomination.
Medium (4WD recommended). The Watagan ranges has a range of well-maintained roads, as well as more difficult tracks for serious 4WD-driving. As well as plentiful wild-life, there are many walking tracks, look-outs and camping sites that make the area ideal for short and longer trips. It is possible to traverse tthe Watagans from Cooranbong (via Martinsville), emerging at Laguna in the Wollombi Valley. This route takes in Boarding House Dam, where a short forest walk is well worth the effort.
Easy to Hard. Yengo National Park is a wild area of steep gorges and rocky ridges. It forms part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area, and well as its natural beauty the Old Great North Road (or Convict Trail) follows the south-east boundary of the park. A number of routes provides access to the Yengo National Park:
- Finchley Trig offers 360-degree views over the park, with a viewing platform and interpretation board, and a well-peserved aborginal engarving site nearby. In dry conditions Finchley Trig is accessible by 2WD from Laguna, via Yango Creek Road and then Upper Yango Creek road (approx 10km dirt road)
- Mogo Creek Road provides a scenic drive from St Albans to Bucketty, passing through picturesque St Albans countryside with extensive wetlands, and the historic Deans Quarry and Mogo Creek picnic area (mostly unsealed; suitable for 2WD)
- Devils Rock (or Burragurra) is an aboriginal site located on a rocky plateau also provides excellent views in all directions, including Mt Wareng to the north and Mt Yengo to the north-west. It is accessed by Yango Creek Road, then the Boree Track (17km dirt road – can be rough and 4Wd recommended)
- Crossing Yengo National Park is possible via two routes, one from either Wisemans Ferry or Laguna (Boree Track and Yengo Track) and the other from Paynes Crossing, just north of Wollombi (Old Settlers Road). Both routes take you to Howes Valley on The Putty Road, and 4WD is essential. A short detour to the former Big Yengo Station, at the base of Mt Yengo, is a recommended detour.
This is the last remaining section of the Great North Road that is public road without a bitumen surface. This section is surrounded by bushland that is part of National Park and a water catchment area. When driving on this isolated section of gravel road it is possible to imagine what it was like when the road was built in the 1830s.
This self drive brochure outlines what can be seen when taking Tourist Route 33 to the Hunter vineyards. This route leaves the expressway at Calga and travels via Peats Ridge, Mangrove Mountain and Bucketty to the Wollombi Valley onto Wollombi where wine tourists make a choice to travel to Pokolbin via Cessnock or Broke either way passing some boutique vineyards with cellar doors.