The Nitty Gritty

Location: Wisemans Ferry
Distance: 10.2 km
Trail style: Ciruit
Grade: Easy

Highlights of this trail

  • Bonus mini ferry ride!
  • Home of historical convict sites
  • Walk across oldest bridge on mainland Australia.

While not part of the Great North Walk, the Old Great North Road had intended on taking cars from Sydney to Newcastle and vice versa before being abandoned (this is signposted on the trail). Just one of the many historical notes you’ll read on this fascinating journey back in time.

Getting there

Drive up River Road, Wisemans Ferry and park in the car park area near the Convict Road Kiosk. It’s better to park on this side and get on the ferry as a walking passenger (no cost) because there is limited parking once you cross the river.The ferry crossing at Wisemans Ferry

The trail

The trail begins with a short but gorgeous ferry ride over the Hawkesbury River:

Crossing the river

Once off the ferry, take a left and follow the sign for Devines Hill:

Sign on Settlers Point Rd

Walk west up Settlers Road until you reach the entry gates of the Old great North Road:

Entry gates to the trail

Yes, unbelievably, this would have been the motorway of yesteryear. Built by convicts, the “road”/trail is marked with lots of historical information about the construction of the road, and the convicts that built it. This trail is wide and well signposted along the way:

This trail is wide and well signposted along the way

A sculpture paying tribute to the Aboriginal custodians of the area. It reads, “Warami, wellamabami. It is good to see you, wherever you have come from.”

"Warami, wellamabami. It is good to see you, wherever you have come from."

The large rock cutting:

The aptly named, "The Large Rock Cutting"

Sculpture portraying convicts building the road:

Sculpture portraying convicts building the road:

Hangmans Rock:

Hangmans Rock

A rock engraving possibly made by a convict of a guard:


The road then reaches a fork in the road – take the Finchs Line route:


The trail gets narrower and can get a little overgrown. If too overgrown, it helps to have a map and compass with you:


Some more rock engravings made by convicts:

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View from Finchs Hill Lookout:

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Watching the sun pass the moon!:


View from Finchs Line Viewpoint:


En route to the end point is this spectacular view of swamplands and Dharug National Park:


The signpost at the end of the walk:


Return via the road back to the ferry crossing (approximately 1 km):


Learn more about this trail:

Disclaimer: Be smart and prepare for the conditions of the day. This site accepts no responsibility for any misfortunes. 

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