Explore a real historic gem…drive the Great North Road.
Explore a real historic gem by roaming the Great North Road. Around 700 convicts built this road metre by painstaking metre in a mere decade from 1826, some parts so steep that it’s unthinkable how they managed it without modern machines.
Built to connect Sydney and the Hunter Valley, the Great North Road is one of only a few worldwide that maintain some original features, including stone retaining walls, culverts and the oldest bridge on mainland Australia.
As you walk, cycle or drive on parts of the 264km route, imagine hundreds of convicts building it manually in tremendous heat, often in leg irons, through wild and hilly terrain. Use it as a scenic and slow-paced alternative route between Sydney and the Hunter. Pause at walls, wharves, culverts and buttresses more than 170 years old.
Some remains are found in Sydney’s Epping and Gladesville, at Wisemans Ferry or Wollombi, Bucketty or Broke or in the National Parks of Dharug and Yengo.
“THE ONLY DOWNSIDE TO THIS DRIVE IS THAT THE LOCAL PUBS ARE SO GOOD. I PITY THE DESIGNATED DRIVER.” – Catriona Rowntree
WHERE // From Sydney to Newcastle and the Upper Hunter. Call (02) 9489 3603 for more info on the Convict Trail Project, which was established to preserve and restore the road as a museum.
DID YOU KNOW? // Before the Great North Road was built there were no maps of the country. Explorers searched for routes on which it would be possible to build a road and, if successful, were rewarded with land grants.