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Congewai, Paxton & Millfield on Great North Walk

Investigate the northerly tip of the GNW which runs up from Congewai Valley Trackhead through Paxton to Millfield
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 6.4 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview:  CONGEWAI ROAD TO MILLFIELD: 10.3 km (easy)
Starting at the Great North Walk Congewai Valley Trackhead on Congewai Road walk north... more »

Tips:  Readily accessible by car. Ellalong Lagoon is the place for birds of every sort. Pop into Paxton for lunch and Millfield for history

... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Congewai Trackhead

The ascent (not on this walk but on official trail-- see other Great North Walk Guides on EveryTrail) from here is steep - be sure to follow the many warning signs which direct you strictly along the Great North Walk trail and keep you away from protected property.

2. View of Flat Rock

This view is of the climb the Great North Walk takes up to Flat Rock Lookout and then southwards towards Sydney.

3. Horses and Stud Farms

If you catch the eye of a couple of horses in the field, they will trot over enthusiastically to see if you have any goodies for them

4. Road to Paxton

This are seems very peaceful nowadays but its history is around the earliest and deepest coal mines in Australia and the pioneer prisoners who were forced to build roads such as the Great North Road and railways to shift the coal reserves to the coast for export. The Bellbird Colliery disaster is one of the most infamous. This occurred on a... More

5. Big Weeds

The sisal you will see alongside the road arrived around the same time as the coal mines — but from the Philippines not old south Wales. Those great big flower stalks — yellow flowers in an upside-down umbrella shape. They are weeds in NSW but in its native Mexico it’s very valuable, providing fibre for sisal rope, and, in Brazil and the... More

6. Ellalong Swamp and the Bunyip

Building the road from Ellalong to Congewai caused an earth bank that acted as a dam here. It is claimed that the great flood of 1857 caused the lagoon to become deeper, more extensive and more permanent. The Ellalong Lagoon (or swamp) is linked to stories of the bunyip too although around here most people either blame the Australian Brown... More

7. Ellalong Lagoon

An Ellalong Lagoon Conservation Area is 530 hectares protecting a significant area of endangered Hunter Lowland Redgum Forest This is important because of all the insects and the rare birds — over 170 species. This lagoon hosts four endangered ecological communities, 17 threatened animal species, including a community of two rare frogs: the green... More

8. Paxton Hotel

The Paxton Hotel is a landmark in the town, dating back as it does to the 1920s. It was a Ralph ’Beau’ Osbourne Thompson who applied to transfer the licence of the Family Hotel at Wollombi to here in July 1923. He built new premises on the corner of Millfield and Hall Streets right in Paxton even before his application was approved. A year later... More

9. Local Place Names

You may hear a bit about local place names. Names in the Pokolbin and Cessnock area make a confused story. In 1884–5, the area north of present-day Cessnock, at what is now called Nulkaba, supported a village called 'The Village of Pokolbin'. However, a decade later, that village was renamed Cessnock. The name didn’t stick, though, and was... More

10. Millfield

The signposts of Millfield proudly declare it to be the town of mills and bridges. Edward Davis, known at that time as the ‘Jewboy bushranger’, was a Paxton resident but he was in these parts in the late 1830s and early ’40s. His gang held up the Rising Sun Inn in Millfield in 1840. Two ex-convicts Patrick and Eupheme Dowlan first received title... More