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Somersby to Staples Lookout: Hike Great North Walk

Discover history and mystery along one of the most beautiful hikes of the Australian Great North Walk
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 17.5 miles
Duration: Multiple days

Overview:  SOMERSBY TO STAPLES LOOKOUT: 28.2 km (moderate to hard)

South from the Somersby Store passing the spur to Somersby Falls (about 3 km)... more »

Tips:  Watch out for arrow signs on rock (under your feet) on the second half of the hike- they are easy to miss. This is especially... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Somersby Store

Great place to stock up on drinks and snacks. Toilet facilities here include the famous "Eco Loo". Take care around traffic here as roads are busy.

2. Quarries and Sand Depots

Both Wondabyne and Piles Creek have given their names to types of Australian sandstone: the Piles Creek range of Australian sandstone features stone density from 2.3 to 2.4 tonnes per cubic metre.

3. Spur to Somersby Falls

There is a Great North Walk signpost at the junction. If you take this spur it is a tough (but short - 3 km) track up to Somersby Falls. The path runs along a drainage line so it is always slippery and can be very muddy after /during rain.

4. Rocks on Trail

The spur up to Somersby Falls is difficult going as it runs along a periodic creek. After rain it can be muddy and slippery underfoot. Take care.

5. Somersby Falls

Somersby Falls: these impressive waterfalls are a short (but tough) 3 km diversion off the Great North Walk proper takes you to this area. Observation platforms provide excellent views of the 8 metre falls and the rainforest. After a steep track with many steps, the Falls Walking Track descends to Floods Creek past two stages of waterfalls and... More

6. Trail

This part of the Great North Walk crosses and re-crosses a number of creek beds. Take care where you place feet and after periods of heavy rain wear waterproof boats and gaiters. Underfoot can be very slippy around here. There are a large variety of trees and shrubs and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of the tiny wrens that... More

7. GNW Signs and Campsites

There are a couple of small campsites along this part of the Great North Walk trail. They offer little except a cleared space for tents and nearby running river water (ensure this is properly treated before drinking!). These mean hardly back-packers can choose to camp and others have many great places for picnics along the route.

8. Houseboat on Mooney Mooney Creek

This looks like a great place to live and enjoy life. As you enjoy the Great North Walk hike be sure to follow the safe walking code:
➢ Let someone know where you're going and approximately when you expect to be back;
➢ Make sure you have an up-to-date map;
➢ Check the weather forecast, likely fire danger and, where necessary, tides and river... More

9. Mooney Mooney Freeway Bridge

Mooney Mooney Creek Bridge: carries the F3 Freeway that now runs between Sydney to Newcastle. The Great North Walk trail actually takes you so you can stand beneath the towering arches of this impressive construction. The bridge, nearly half a kilometre long and standing 76 m above your head and the adjacent the river is the highest road bridge in... More

10. Old Mooney Mooney Bridge

Just a few hundred metres south of the massive F3 Mooney Mooney Bridge along the Great North Walk is the ‘Old’ Mooney Mooney Bridge, built in 1930, which was the only conduit for vehicles crossing Mooney Mooney Creek on the Pacific Highway before the Freeway opened.

11. Aboriginal Rock Engraving

Australia’s Walkabout Park: (33° 25′ 33″S 151° 13′ 7″E) is renowned for a giant engraving depicting a large, speared emu. There is also a cave with paintings: red-ochre stencilled hands and other sites with more engravings including a wallaby and a crescent. The 2006 site includes two small emus, both similar to but one hundred times... More

12. Phil Houghton Bridge

The Phil Houghton Bridge on Piles Creek. Constructed about 10 years after the Great North Walk opened, its dedication recognizes the significant contributions of Mr Houghton to the overall project through an heroic act. During the bridge building, a flash flood on Piles Creek swept a co-worker, Stan Rees, off the bank and Phil rescued him

13. Girrakool Rock Engravings

Girrakool rock site: this is a very easy site to access but a little disappointing because the engravings are rather worn and weathered and difficult to see or interpret. Leave the F3 Freeway at the Woy Woy and Gosford exit and turn into Wisemans Ferry Road, then left onto the Old Pacific Highway going south. Take the first left into Girrakool... More

14. Scopas Peak

Scopas Peak: a small sandstone ridge offers a view of the surrounding sandstone country. Be sure to look out for (& follow) the double-headed arrows painted on the flat sandstone terrain. Near a sign to Girrakool is a notice forbidding entry up an access trail to a rifle range. The old Great North Walk trail used to pass through this now... More

15. Rifle Range

The old track of the Great North Walk went through what is now a rifle range. DO NOT VENTURE INTO THIS AREA. The track around is signed but it is easy to become a bit disoriented. Take care not to end up on the GNW trail to Wondabyne Station -- unless that is your plan - you MUST take a train from Wondabyne.

16. Staples Lookout

Commemorating a civic dignitary, Charles Staples, this lookout offers a great view. A businessman with experience in real estate and newspapers, Staples entered civic life in 1920, following his election to the Erina Shire Council. Within two years, he was arguing vehemently that Woy Woy should be a separate Local Government Area. When this... More