With much cooler weather forecast after a week of sweltering heat, I arranged the usual car shuffle with Allan Savins, meeting him at the finishing point in Yarramalong before heading up Bumble Hill Road and along Cherry Lane to where I left off last time.
From the corner of the farm, the Great North Walk heads north along Cherry Lane…
…over hill and dale…
..and over more hill and dale…
…until finally reaching Greta Road where it heads east.
A few hundred metres on where high tension power lines cross, it leaves the road at what used to be a stile over a fence except the fence has now gone.
Heading north under the wires, the track crosses a couple of gullies before joining the electricity service road.
After the last stanchion where the wires disappear over the edge of a cliff, the GNW branches off to the right, almost immediately changing from a rocky eroded track to a pleasant leaf-litter covered walk through dense forest, with sections of board walk over the numerous small watercourses.
Following the contour, the track snakes its way along the edge of the valley through patches of subtropical rainforest.
On the right, shear cliffs drop down from Greta Road high above, with water still flowing from some of the ferny overhangs in spite of the recent hot and dry weather.
Around the spur the forest becomes drier, with an impressive cave eaten into the side of a huge boulder perched uneasily on the slope.
Soon the track joins a wider path, a part of the original road built in the mid 1800s when bullocks hauled timber drays from the cedar forests north of Yarramalong across the ridge to Mangrove Creeek where it was loaded onto barges for transport to Sydney.
Along one section where it crosses a steep gully, the track is built up on a stone foundation, possibly part of the original convict construction.
As the track descended, a power line clearing provided a tantalising glimpse of farmland at the bottom of the valley.
With the sound of traffic on the modern-day Bumble Hill Road growing louder, the track soon came alongside, descending the rest of the way between the guard rail and the neighbouring fence.
A few hundred metres on, the track ended on the edge of Yarramalong township with the rest of the walk along the grassy verge.
Just around the bend, the day’s two-hour journey ended where Bumble Hill Road joins Yarramalong Road at the GNW’s Yarramalong Trackhead.
Just to the right of the sign is the Yarramalong roadhouse where I enjoyed a welcome cup of coffee to finish off the walk.
With 115km remaining to Newcastle I’m technically about 10km past half way, but Yarramalong is the notional midpoint of the walk, being the last township before Teralba on the final sprint into Newcastle. It’s here that I’ll leave the GNW for a few months, resuming in mid to late autumn when the weather has cooled down enough for the rugged trek through the Watagan Mountains.
My thanks again to roadie Allan for making these last few legs possible.
Coming up next: Yarramalong to Cedar Brush Creek.