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Watagan Rd to Flat Rock Lookout on the Great North Walk

Along the crest of the Watagans overlooking the Hunter Valley, moving into the Congewai catchment & up to Flat Rock
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 17.6 miles
Duration: Multiple days

Overview:  This is a weekend (or 2-day) walk for most people - described in two parts here. Overnight why not watch a hike movie http://vimeo.com... more »

Tips:  There is abundant wildlife on this hike. Birds and marsupials will be seen especially if you are quiet. There are also snakes (be... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Echidna

You may be lucky enough to glimpse one or more echidna. This one shambled up a bank of dead leaves to snuffle around, no doubt looking for good grubs to eat. These creatures are shy and if you move in too close for a picture they may simply squeeze under a fallen log displaying the very significant quills of its back and tail and looking for all ... More

2. Hunter Viewpoint

An early goal of the first British pioneers was to establish a road from the new settlement of Sydney into the Hawkesbury Valley, which had already become Sydney’s grocery basket, and from there on north into the Hunter Valley. A great side-trip from your walking weekend around here is to visit the Great North Road (not to be confused with the... More

3. Grass Trees

Everyone admires the Australian 'grass trees' — Xanthorrhoea — that grow along the path. These impressive plants can live 900 years; have flower spikes that can grow at a rate of 7 cm per day. They were used as food by Aboriginal people and later used by European settlers for explosives, glue, medicine and perfume.

4. Gully Trees

These deep, steep, mossy gullies are the big attraction of the Watagans along with the forested hills and excellent lookouts. The vegetation is interesting because it’s so diverse. The Watagans are an important habitat for over 150 native animal species such as wallabies, gliders, brush and ring-tailed possums, assorted amphibians and reptiles,... More

5. Hunter Valley Views

As you hike in the Watagans you will notice a great variety of trees: turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), white mahogany (Eucalyptus acmenoides), blackbutt (E. pilularis), blue-leaved stringybark (E. agglomerata) and a rainbow of gum trees: mountain blue gum (E. deanei), Sydney blue gum (E. saligna) and good old grey gum (E. propinqua).

6. Monitor Lizard

These beautiful lizards can give you quite a shock if you come upon them when they are sunning themselves on a rock or tree-trunk. They are not dangerous at all - in fact these big friendly skinks are so very slow moving they are easy to observe and also easy to catch. Some folks make them into pets. As their main form of defence is bluff you may... More

7. Great North Walk Stile

A few modern stiles help you over local farm fences in this part of the Congewai Valley. Keep a careful eye out for Great North Walk trail signs and avoid trampling fields thoughtlessly.

8. GNW Signpost on Congewai Road

Take care on this section of the Great North Walk as it runs along Congewai Road. Large signposts clearly mark the access on and off this road with a 4km section of easy walking which is family-friendly on this road.

9. Parrots: Lorikeets and Black Cockatoos

You may meet a number of lovely parrots. the noisiest are the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and the Rainbow Lorikeets. the rarest around here are perhaps the Glossy Black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) also know as Casuarina Cockatoo, Leach’s Black Cockatoo, Leach’s Red-tailed Cockatoo & Latham’s Cockatoo. The Black Cockatoo is listed as a ... More

10. Congewai Valley

The Congewai Valley was virtually all owned by the Crawford brothers, Thomas and Robert, in the early 1820s. Thomas had 6000 plus another 2000 acres while Robert held another 3000 acres so that their land formed a continuous strip (3,235 + 1,215 hectares) that straddled this valley and included the lagoon, called Ellalong (said to mean a 'swampy... More

11. Wallabies

You may see one or more wallabies around here. Wallabies and kangaroos are 'macropods’ or 'great-footed animals'. Kangaroos are the largest members of this group.

12. Flat Rock Lookout

Flat Rock Lookout, a large slab of rock perched over the Congewai Valley below, with views of the lower Hunter Valley towards the Myall Range. This is not currently marked as a lookout, so make sure you don't walk too far (there is a small "Walkers Rest" area just before you reach the lookout)